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On… Belief (Doctrine)

October 25, 2012

Oh no, not another boring ‘On…’ post. Bring on the penguins and wallpaper screenshots before I claw my eyes out!

…is what my imagination says you’re thinking, gentle reader. But you’re not like that, right? Right? The next post will be about wallpapers and Rainmeter, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Anyway, today’s post is on belief and doctrine. Be warned though, this may get motivational. Euurgh.

Let’s get started, shall we?

What is belief? Google, as always, answers:

  1. An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
  2. Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction.

And what is doctrine? Once more with feeling:

  1. A belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or other group.
  2. A stated principle of government policy, mainly in foreign or military affairs: “the Monroe Doctrine“. [A.N. hoo boy, I see the genesis of an epic GooglWiki-hopping saga…]

It seems to push an interesting chicken-and-egg question. Does belief lead to doctrine? Or does doctrine push forth belief? Both are true, and like the chicken and egg, pretty delic-NO; pretty much travel backwards until you spot dinosaurs.

A little hesitant to bring religion into this but hey, what the hell, this is what I wrote in Evernote and in it goes, edited for capital letters but not for (eheh) legibility.

Entrusting your life to scraps and shards –
Look at that kerfuffle with the wife of Jesus. A fragment of cloth where he refers to a wife. How do people react?
Puhlease – it’s just a piece of old ink. Why do we place such import on other people’s words?
DO JUSTICE TO YOUR EXISTENCE. Yes, you owe it to yourself, and to your God, as it may be, to truly believe what you believe. Question everything and decide, by yourself,what you want to believe in. You have reason; use it. The truth is not the truth because it says so in a book. The truth is the truth because it is nothing else. You have looked deep and thought hard, and there can be nothing else.

Motivational. Euurgh.

But really. Take evolution, for instance. The Book says nonono, the Earth was made 9,000 years ago in 7 days. Or 7,500 years ago. Or 6,000. Your mileage may vary. So dinosaur bones were put there as traps to sift out the future citizens of hell and the future citizens of heaven? Yeah. Sure. Okay.

I saw a T-Rex skeleton a couple of years ago. Sue, current address the Field Museum of Chicago. It was awesome, and she has a Wiki page. And when I was much, much younger, I saw the skull of Black Beauty.

Sue is more than 65 million years old.

If I’m going to hell for believing that carbon dating isn’t bullshit, well okay, that’s just one more reason to throw into the laundry list. (Side note: I really am headed for hell, actually. More than half of all monotheists globally would agree for a variety of reasons. Don’t pray for me. You won’t outnumber 2 billion people. Thank you for the kind thoughts nonetheless.)

In any case, back to topic: belief.

Questioning, in general, is rather frowned upon in a multitude of places and in a multitude of eras. Socrates and Galileo are easy examples. In recent times, look up Chinese dissidents. “Asking questions is all well and good, we love curiosity and critical thinking,” says *authority*. Until somebody goes, “Wait. Why do we have to listen to you anyway? Why am I following your self-serving laws? Why am I paying taxes that pay your wages to hear you spout more bullshit than a gargantuan bovine creature?” Into the clapper, mate, into the clapper. That’s dirty slander, it is.

Still, the human mind takes shortcuts. There’s just so much out there and sometimes there’s stuff that has to be taken on trust. Trust your parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, Big Bird and the Cookie Monster. “A is followed by B, then C. Trust me.” That’s all well and good, but at the same time… Think on prejudice and discrimination. Without going into details (because it would be loooong and booooring), prejudice and discrimination is as much a mental shortcut as ROYGBIV but far more harmful. I could write another “On…” post but this topic risks being especially motivational. Euurgh.

Maybe the next time I think “I’m not gonna give way to that Smart forTwo because it’s just such a stupid car”, I should revise my mental litany to, “I’m not gonna give way to that Smart forTwo because I’m a lazy asshole who refuses to put thought into the rationale behind a probably-quite-decent-person deciding to own a Smart forTwo.” (It was on sale!)

But no. I’ve thought about it deep and hard. A Smart forTwo really is a rather stupid sort of car.

P.S. Relevant poetry time: http://allpoetry.com/poem/8502319-In_Broken_Images-by-Robert_Graves

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