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B as in Belief


It is difficult for me to believe in anything because I am not certain whether I know anything. What do we really know other than what we need to know in order to survive? An engineer knows the properties of materials, a physician knows human biology, and a lawyer knows the law. Their knowledge is very practical, and they use it to make a living. However, they cannot answer with certainty (indisputably) questions about why there is such a thing as life or what is beyond the universe or what exactly consciousness is.

Naturally, a priest or a pastor or a guru will claim to know the answers to such questions. However, they continually and vigorously dispute each other's claims (i.e., beliefs). They even make a living of it.

It seems to me that priests, pastors, etc. have had ample time to contemplate the answers. Philosophers too have spent millennia trying to figure out the reason life exists, the extent of life, and the dimension of the human interior. Additionally, scientists have been hard at work trying to figure out all these mysteries.

If they have not come to a rock-solid conclusion, then what would make me believe that a lowly working-class woman of average intelligence (that would be me of course) could claim that there is life after life? How does anyone know? All I know is that I do not know.

Possibly, however, perhaps someone does know the secrets behind our metaphysical mysteries. Perhaps quite a few people know with certitude, and I—among many—just do not know. The Jews could be right, or perhaps the Muslims are right, or the Sikhs or the Hindus, etc.

What I find unusual about myself is that I am not willing to believe what others believe, which does not mean I am not interested in the information that they present. I experience great pleasure in reading philosophy and learning about religions. However, once I arrive at the part in which I am supposed to invoke the ability to believe, I lose interest. Sometimes I feel as if I have an inability to believe.

Perhaps, I cannot believe in anything because I fear the act of believing will terminate the pleasure of thinking, as it seems once you have figured out something, there is no longer the need to consider it again. More convincingly, I feel silly within myself, phony as if I were acting a temporary part, when I try to believe in supernatural things, whether it be a god or a goddess or a ghost or a ghoul.

Beyond non-belief in that which is supernatural, believing does not come easily in everyday life either. Someone can make a claim by telling me that all people who look away when asked a question are liars, and I will not readily believe it. I want evidence for every claim, and even then I have to doubt the outcome because I am not fully knowledgeable in the science of deciphering evidence.

Naturally, a penchant to doubt everything makes everyday life unbearably difficult; thus, some faith is necessary. I have faith, for instance, every time I drive down a two-lane highway. I believe most cars going in the opposite direction will not veer into my lane. I know the sun will rise tomorrow. I doubt not that I will have to get up Monday morning to go to work.

Fundamentally, I am not gullible. I am healthily skeptical, yet I feel as if I am as open as the sky when it comes to thinking. Naturally, thinking and believing are two different things. I am a thinker, not a believer.

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