What Do You Believe?
Whom Do You Trust?
Does Common Sense Fit Your Beliefs?
A friend told me some time ago that he was a bit worried about his prospective son-in-law in part because he claimed to be an atheist.
The friend didn't seem to have much else of equal concern, but the young man being an atheist worried him quite so.
My response was to say, "Well then, he believes something. What do you believe?"
My friend could not say.
In manner of a brief survey, would you consider responding to the following queries.
• Whom do you believe?
• Whom do you trust?
• What kind of people, ideas, world holds your attention and allegiance?
Share your beliefs and thoughts, aspirations and imaginings, if you like.
I wonder if your answers will be anything like my own.
I give you a hint about mine by quoting a letter written in 1877 by Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, who would eventually become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on three occasions. Salisbury wrote, "If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require to have their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense."
Robert Cecil, aka Lord Salisbury, and I will be happy to peruse anything you send. Your response may help in some of present studies.
Send comments to theportableschool at gmail dot com.
New Reponses - April 2014
Char in Montana responded -
What do I believe?
I have found this to be a daunting question because as I have gotten older I have become less certain of what I believe.
In my earlier years, raised as I was in Catholicism, I was quite sure of the answers to many of my questions. Not everything fit 100% but all that I believed was rooted in a certainty of the Trinity and God's love and concern for me. I never could accept the concept of hell and damnation for all eternity for if someone resisted God's love forever, then God must not be a very effective lover--and I believed God was just that.
Around my 50th birthday, everything in my life seemed to fall apart including my faith and I came to a place where I was not sure what or if i believed in anything especially God. I moved into agnosticism and felt very comfortable being there as I pursued answers to the many questions that had arisen for me.
As the years have progressed and I have sought answers in many places and from many sources, I think I have come to believe that there is no certainty nor are there definite answers to the many questions--and perhaps that is the way it was meant to be.
Additionally, I believe that the universe was called into being and exists because of a benign energy which emanates from a Creator or Divinity or God.
I believe that this energy is benign and so therefore is the universe both benign but fierce as well.
Lyn in California said -
I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe that God created the universe and everything in it, and that there is only one God. God is a God of love, but also a God of justice who cannot tolerate sin. For that reason He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to earth to be born as a baby, and grow up in a human family, going through the things we humans go through so that He could fully know and experience what we go through, yet He lived this life without sin, and was therefore able to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
When He died on the cross it was not because men overpowered Him and killed Him, but because He willingly gave Himself to die for our sins. He could have called for angels to come to his rescue, or even just saved Himself from that death, but He had come to give Himself as a sacrifice for us so that we would be saved from eternal death - a death that is not just a cessation of life, but that will be an eternal suffering. God loved us so much that He chose to do this for us.
But it didn’t end there. Our salvation could not be complete without what happened three days later when Jesus was resurrected from the dead. He spent time with His disciples and many other followers during the next 40 days, before returning to His Father in Heaven to remain until He comes back for those of us who have accepted His free gift of salvation. That salvation is open to all people everywhere, but we must accept it to have it. Salvation cannot be earned. He gives it freely to all who ask, believing. He asks only for true repentance of our sins, trusting in Him to guide us in
the right path. He helps us to live the life He calls us to live, forgives us when we confess sins that we commit after putting our trust in Him (none of us are perfect, nor will we be until we leave this life), and promises to take us to live with Him at the end of this life here. This is eternal life, and we will then live with Him forever. For those who refuse this free gift of salvation, the fate is eternal death - suffering - at the end of this life.
I put my full trust in God. I have experienced Him in my life in many ways. God is truth. God is love. God is reality. I believe the Bible is God’s word to us. It is the only book I read over and over, and it never gets old. Through reading His word I hear Him speak to me - I see how He wants me to live, and can read about how He worked in the lives of so many in Scripture. By the way, Scripture is full of the good, the bad, and the ugly of people. He doesn’t gloss over man’s shortcomings, but He does show us how He works with the sinner (we are all sinners), and how He uses anyone who turns their life over to God. Anyone can come to God through Jesus at any time, and repent, and receive God’s forgiveness.
Perhaps this is longer than you wanted, but I felt I needed to really share a bit more in depth tor eally get across what it is I believe, and who I trust. And common sense definitely fits my beliefs.
Responses - March 2014
Peace in New York wrote -
The energy of creation created me and flows through me as me. I am a manifestation or appearance of the Infinite Intelligence that some call God. Silence is the access point of Infinite Intelligence. The mind is an instrument for the shaping of matter. When Mind is functioning from a conscious connection from this center in Infinite Intelligence there is sanity. A mind operating without conscious connection to this center is dysfunctional mind.
Dorothy in Kansas shared -
What I BELIEVE: Reid and I studied "The Course in Miracles" for many years. It was a bit hard to understand. I had been searching spiritually every since I was young. Then “The Disappearance of the Universe” came out and it made the first book very clear. The "Course in Miracles" was written by a psychiatrist in New York. She heard the voice of Jesus, and took it all down in shorthand. Then the man she worked with came over and as she read it to him he typed it out. That took 7 years. Gary Renard who is the author of " The Disappearance" otherwise known as "DU" .This book teaches us how to forgive. We need to let go of our belief in this universe and go home to God who is perfect LOVE. The bible has so much love and hate mixed up making God very hateful at times. I believe Gary Renard's books that are conversations by two beings that are enlightened, explain more clearly what Jesus was trying to teach people 2000 years ago. Jesus said God is love and you can't have love and hate.
Gary's book explains how the universe was created and why. We live in a dream world .
Duane in the Big Sky said -
I believe in a power greater than myself, and I prefer to call that power God.
Grace from Brazil wrote -
Belief is about what it is integrated. (an egregore) I have incorporated the believe that this is eternal life. Part of it. Past and future we don't really need to know. because we construct what will be through our options of believes. Past is reference. That is our responsability for what we believe we can change things for good or for worse.
My belief is the sum of all my experiences, those who already brought me from past lives, those experiencies I've got from reading, seeking connections with thoughts of other people dead or alive who left a legacy of wisdom and those experiences coming from relationships with relatives and friends.
Whom do you believe?
Despite copying from the mother in the womb when we are forming ourselves....we walk alone, we came alone and we go alone. We live all experiences alone and we are our own reference.
I believe nobody...not even myself...I might be wrong.
Whom do you trust?
I trust a Higher Force. The one I am connected forever.
What kind of people, ideas, world holds your attention and allegiance?
All kind of people interest me, not to follow though. To inspire me, to amaze me, to question my inner beliefs. Some of them scares me because they pass by life believing that what they do don't affect others. It is my interest to see how people react by fear and guilt. To see how they are manipulated by whatever puts them at easy - religion, causes, politics, power, sex and rock and roll!
Montana Jim sent this -
I have had a problem with being defined by what I don't believe in but when you don't believe what most others do believe it becomes a little bit confining, I guess. This is where I say that I believe in materialism, science, seeing is believing, touching, feeling, smelling, hearing. I believe in a huge universe, I believe that life exists elsewhere in this universe, I believe there are most likely other universes, don't ask me what they are because I don't know, I believe in evolution of species, I believe in physics. I don't believe in certain philosophies that say we cannot really know anything or trust our own senses. And of course I don't believe in the 'spiritual' realm or that the universe possesses some sort of consciousness. I would change my mind on that if I had some evidence. But if I heard the universe talking in my head to me I might think I was going crazy, how would I know? It's a small nutshell but there you have it-- what I believe. Don't get me started on money or work or capitalism or politics. Or history. There is a lot out there, I have opinions, beliefs, but a lot of them are most likely wrong! I believe.
Robbie in Colorado replied
I believe that life is ongoing, no beginning, no end. I have worn an Egyptian Ankh since the 60s because it is the symbol for life. I do not believe in death. People are so surprised when they cross over to realize that only the human form died, but not the ongoing soul. There is a wonderful book out by Anita Morjani Dying to be Me, that tells about her death via cancer and her time on the other side. She returned to her body so she could tell the world what it like: connected, one with all there is.
George in Texas quipped
They, who put their trust in fate, become its slave.
They, who would master fate, put trust in themselves.
Kathrine in New York said
I believe in possibilities, which in my mind makes me an agnostic, a sincere agnostic. I believe wholeheartedly that almost all of it is possible, and that No One can know for sure about any of it.
God, a higher power, Buddha, reincarnation, ghosts, psychics, karma, maybe none of it...maybe all of it. Who knows for sure.
It is unknowable, unless one has passed on, maybe then we know, but even then, maybe not.
"Strong agnosticism (also called "hard", "closed", "strict", or "permanent agnosticism") The view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities, and the nature of ultimate reality is unknowable by reason of our natural inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience. A strong agnostic would say, "I cannot know whether a deity exists or not, and neither can you" Wikipedia on Agnosticism
I don't believe in the 72 virgins, that makes no sense to me. It seems abusive to the 72.
Nicolas in Scotland airmailed -
Don’t know if to answer this one seriously or with some humour. Two different outcomes to the same issue!
I believe the Universe to be a kind place and evolving to be kinder, (regardless of some appearances at times), because behind the Universe are the energies of love and light, a manifestation of what God is.
God’s plan does not fail, and it evolves, regardless if we “see” it or not. We need to be aligned to flow with these energies and in the direction of the Plan, (God’s loving will), as we are away from this, we are lost and confused. This is our chore on this planet, what we came to learn, share and help with.
Therefore, compassion and empathy are key elements that we discover and live as we evolve and become aware of awake. We all need compassion, love and light.
Any thing and almost any thing at times can hold my attention and help me learn and “see”. At other times, I can do with almost nothing and be on my own. Feed up with everything and everyone! Is this a poor manifestation of the ebb and flow of the Universe? I don’t know, but if it is, it is at its crappiest level, hehehe.
As I grow older (maybe wiser), I admire and it is kindness, compassion, and the grit or resilience of so many that prow through life with little, including little complain and moaning, while I can be cranky for minutes things.
Joy, appreciation, gratefulness, .... those are the things that turn me on! that I want more of, the things I trust and the people that show these qualities are the ones I trust and want to be with.
Dane in Delaware
I wouldn't really call myself an atheist, but I'm not far from one. I don't know that it's essential for an atheist to believe in anything, is it? I would say that state is really a non-belief -- more a rejection of others' belief systems ... kind of a "tried it, didn't work for me" on all counts. For me, I won't commit (if you will) to atheism because I'm always wondering and searching and pondering ... so it's more of an ongoing thing, vs. having arrived at the end of the search and fully rejected everything.
So what do I believe? Not sure. In some of my more troubled days, I saw a counselor for awhile who said some things that sort of "rang true" with me. One was that you can't choose to believe something ... e.g. you can't choose to believe in a god any more than you can choose to like strawberries, or whatever. You can choose to act, you can choose to participate, you can choose to wonder and search and ponder ... but a belief comes from within for reasons I don't understand. I like strawberries ... but I don't choose to, nor do I understand why that is. I'm a very pragmatic person ... evidence and experience carry great weight with me. So if there are positives there in my experience ("hey, this strawberry is delicious"), chances are good I'll repeat the experience. That has never happened for me in the "search for God" realm ... so I stick with strawberries :-)