I believe in “This I Believe”. That is to say, I believe it is necessary for each person to voice their own creed, and I recognize the significance of a forum set aside for precisely that purpose.
I see a disturbing trend in modern society, one that has indeed been present since the very roots of the human race. Given an organized group, established to the purpose of and embodying a rough approximation of our system of beliefs, we will gladly make whatever changes are needed for us to “fit in”. Now, this is all well and good in some cases; it is perfectly understandable to realign ourselves to a different belief if we realize that it better suits us than our current one. However, it is every bit as justifiable to express a feeling of wariness and unease when the usual American is expected to be either coldly conservative or vehemently liberal.
I feel this way because I believe very firmly that no two people believe exactly the same thing about everything. Therefore, while there’s nothing wrong with people setting aside trivial differences for the sake of what they have in common, it is a sad mistake for a group to demand that its members embody, in every last aspect, the doctrine of the many over the ideas of the one. So much is lost when a human is content to shuffle under the banner of another person’s ideals, ignoring their own opinions.
Do not mistake me; I don’t want to glorify the individual, and I don’t believe that there is any more or less than one absolute truth. However, how can we ever hope to find that truth if we are unwilling to examine all possibilities? Neither do I seek to tear down the idea of group belief; I simply find it ridiculous that two Christians, two atheists, or two Muslims should condemn each other over petty matters of relatively insignificant doctrine.
It is for these reasons that I support self-examination and contemplation. After all, the only way there ever was to find truth is to look for it.