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Saturday, 2 February 2019

On Belief

Everyone believes in something. Be it a higher being, a superstition, a political party or yourself. We all have faith in something that keeps us going each day. If we didn't wouldn't we just kill ourselves? The reason I get out of bed every morning is because I believe in the people I love, and believe in realizing my full potential.

I believed in a personified God until I was about fifteen, and then had a 'falling out' with my God when I found myself tumbling into a spiral of depression and angst. Since then I've identified as an agnostic atheist. There's a lot of stigma against atheists; we get called intolerant or arrogant or narrow-minded which is pretty sad since I think it's more narrow-minded to believe that a genie in the sky cares so deeply for you and looks out for your every need.
I always imagined 'God' as a black man when I was a kid.
If there is a God then I don't think it interferes directly with what we do, nor do I think it looks out for us on an individual level. Humans can be incredibly self-absorbed; this 'God's chosen people' mentality has driven Palestinians out of their homes and caused suicide bombers to blow up buildings in the name of their prophet.

But I do believe in a greater energy, or a greater unifying force. I don't see it as a 'God' in the conventional sense, but I don't think that science and materialism can answer everything. Humans are incredibly limited and there is so much we don't know about the world around us. I believe that everything is connected, and that life is a circle and what goes around comes around. I believe that we're all linked to one another as everything is energy and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. I believe that what goes around comes around and you reap what you sew. What you put out you attract.

Obviously there are many things out of our control, which is why I think its dangerous to ascribe too much power to free will. A five-year-old kid who gets cancer hasn't 'attracted' it, but that illness is part of their story and the story of humanity's mortality. People born into severe poverty don't 'attract' it anymore than people born into wealth do. Some things are out of our control and some things aren't and I think it's naive to say that 'all of our thoughts generate everything' (yes, I'm looking at you, The Secret).
And work for it? You can't just lay on your back and expect the
world to drop a hat, mate.
I think one of the most dangerous forces in our universe is extremism (or fanaticism/absolutism). Being completely and utterly certain to the point where any other point of view becomes denied and rendered obsolete. As someone who has an addictive personality and who tends to get very fixed ideas about things (something I've been working on changing), I've seen myself as an example of how fixed ideas generate chaos and hinder progress.

The fact is none of us know the facts. None of us are right or wrong about everything or even anything, as all truth is relative to consensual belief. Money is just paper and metal, but we ascribe value to it so it means something to us, and a large number of people believe in it. (There's strength in numbers). None of us can say for sure whether there is or isn't a God; I think both sides are as bad as one another. Those that insist their God must be real and those that insist there's no God or higher being are both closed off to other interpretations.

One can have their opinions, and one can gather strong cases for their opinions. But once we let what we think become the driving force for all we do without allowing for the possibility of external ideas, that's when things get dangerous.

So what are your beliefs? I believe open-mindedness and reason are two of our most valuable assets as a species, and absolutist dogma in whatever shape or form may end up being humanity's downfall.

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
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