By | July 20, 2010

Why are you affiliated with the religion that you elected to follow?

Why are you associated with the political party/ideology you believe in?

How do you choose to participate in your community and why do you choose to do so?

Those questions and many more have been in my thoughts recently.  Recognizing that as children our thoughts and beliefs are shaped in a manner that is rarely checked or controlled by the child (primarily as we don’t know how choice works at that age), it’s incumbent on individuals maturing in this world to assess their beliefs.

Belief systems aren’t all they are portrayed or revered to be – a passionate professor may influence someone to parrot a line they don’t understand or particularly fathom for their entire life.  An adult who had strong religious influence in their lives as a child may never realize or find their relationship with their God (in a personal relationship).  Faith, patriotism, political convictions and other touchstones are factors in the human condition that require the individual to research, digest and firmly understand the elements of the philosophy(ies) involved.  This, sadly, happens with astonishing regularity for a sparse group of humanity.

Much like the Matrix, there are those who for whatever reason are ready to wake up and stare into their belief systems and boldly question what they believe.  Whether through song, sales pitch or shock, a person is thrust onto a journey of analyzing what they believe.  This group is small in humanity for a number of ‘reasons’ (which are ultimately environmental or excuses) – someone scratching out an existence and worried about food will not delve deeply into philosophical questions and assess their beliefs.  An immature dilettante  cannot fathom their beliefs requiring questioning – because they are above the fray their beliefs could not possibly be ill conceived.   A stereotypical consumer of mass culture (reality TV, wrestling, soap operas) is unaware the beliefs they profess are something they choose to believe.

So what?  There are instances of ignorance and fact blind zealots throughout history.  But in the awakening of knowledge that came with the Internet and the mass consumption of data, there are fewer and fewer reasons why a person can reasonably remain asleep to challenging their positions, conclusions and reasons for faith in a thing/thought/theology.

Through several posts I’ll explore my process of digging, searching and seeking through my thoughts and feelings and share what I have found and explored.   In the relative present, I’ve relabeled (where we felt the need to label I dunno) my tags in the web taxonomy sense exactly because I chose to boldly question and discover for myself.

This is not a trivial topic – there are so many reasons why one feels compelled to continue believing what they have always settled upon or choose not to decide at all.  For some there is drama associated with seeking out your corner of the political universe they want so desperately to avoid. For others, they deeply fear touching their religion and theology maxims in order to question and confirm their faith.  These are topics left to those who are ready to have the discussion.  I would like however to encourage those who are marginally ready to begin seeking to start their journey and read, discuss, debate and relate to others who think differently than you.  You will be surprised, maybe shocked by what you find.  The last thoughts are from other travelers:

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Tolstoy

“The things that unite us are far greater than the things that divide us” – Unknown

One Reply to “What you think you believe…”

  1. Jane Rogers

    I agree. I have spent my adult life attending the Baptist church because that is what my parents did. Recently we began attending a non denominational church (mostly Presbyterian back ground) and realized that I was never really a “Baptist” but a Christian and that I didn’t really enjoy the narrow minded ideas in the Baptist church. That took 60 years. Keep thinking.

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