Let’s talk about beliefs… and whatever the opposite of believing is… because believing… or not believing in things… seems to be central to the core of what makes us human.
This is not a post about religion… except that it sort of is, because religions seem to expect us to believe certain things, while simultaneously exhorting us not to believe in other things, and I find it all just a bit confusing.
Many people who believe in the bible also believe that the earth is only about six thousand years old. It doesn’t say that in the bible. This came about because in the 14th or 15th century, some monk looked at the bible, found a part where there was an historical event that could be accurately set to a real date… I believe it was the death of Nebuchadnezzar in ancient Babylon… and then, he went through the genealogy section of the bible and added up all the begating… (that is ‘making babies’, if you do not speak bible)… and the lifespans of all the begaters… and came up with 6,000 years. (Fortunately, a lot of those early bible baby makers lived for like 600 or more years. If not, our planet would only be about 500 years old, and that would be really hard to explain.
I am not making fun of your beliefs. I am just saying that the facts do not seem to support your conclusion. Do not blame me, blame those annoying facts… like the fact that we can see starlight that is millions of years old… or the fact that the fossil record seems to be just a tad longer than 6,000 years.
The bible also conflicts with the ‘theory’ of evolution. It says we were made… from mud… or something like that… there are actually two conflicting stories about that in the bible, so I guess you get to pick which one makes more sense. And believe me, I can understand that the idea of being descended from apes is a lot less appealing than the idea of descending from mud.
Then there is the issue of global climate change. Many people do not believe that this can possibly be happening. I can also understand that viewpoint. Who wants to believe that human beings are no smarter than rats living in a cage and drowning themselves in their own waste products. That makes us sound stupid. Like we are really living in a closed ecosystem with a finite amount of oxygen and space, and then proceeding to fill that space with toxic chemicals while at the same time killing all the trees that renew our oxygen supply so we can build more houses to fill with even more people who chop down even more trees while putting even more pollution into the limited atmosphere… that is just crazy talk… what, are we descended from stupid monkeys, or what??? There is no way that filling the skies above us with stuff that isn’t supposed to be there could possibly change the balance of nature.
Believing is stuff… or not believing in stuff… is part of what makes us human. We teach our kids to believe in Santa Clause and the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. But we also trust that our kids are smart enough that when they get older, the reevaluate these beliefs and give up the really silly ones.
I do apologize. I never meant this to turn into a rant. It all started with a news story I have been following about a rancher who lives in the middle of the United States. For years, he had been letting his cows graze on government land, but he has been refusing to pay the grazing rights. This is just a fee that the government charges for the rights to let your cows eat on land that belongs to all the people of this nation.
Well this rancher, it turns out, does not believe in the federal government of this country. Which is strange, because he rides around on his horse carrying an American flag. And you can bet that he believes in the postal service when he wants to mail a letter.
But this guy, and some other gun nuts, actually pointed the guns they love so much, at federal agents of the bureau of land management when they came to collect the bill that the rancher owed. Fortunately, this did not end in bloodshed. But it could have. And all because this guy chooses not to believe in the country he lives in.
And why does he have the freedom to not believe in it?
Because the country he doesn’t believe in is a free country, where people are free to believe… or not believe… in whatever they want… or don’t want… to believe in.
Okay, now my brain hurts… I hope we can have a meaningful discussion about beliefs… but I am not sure if I believe that is possible.