Sometimes when we call upon ourselves for real truth of character, ask ourselves those gritty questions about our true feelings, our brains cannot help but tell us a lie. Society, I believe, forces us into thinking that our independent thoughts are our own, when in all actuality, this could ne’er be further from the truth. We see this phenomenal oneness of thought, this collective idea of morality, shared within social groups all over the world. I am a female college student at a liberal arts college, and therefore, I want a real job, not to be a housewife, I am open and accepting of the viewpoints of others, I am forgiving, I am a lover of wit and intelligence and I am “spiritual” but accepting of others religious beliefs though I do not share them. This is a lie, a picture of what I see and choose to value, taken from my environment. It is a stunning thing then when you realize that this is not really the person you really are. I recently discovered that I believe in God.
I was not brought to love God, nor did I “see the light” through some world-changing event, I simply realized that, like it or not, it is something that my resting brain truly and irrevocably believes. When I am not telling people that I believe in energy shared between beings, that I believe if there is a heaven, you get there by having faith in your chosen religion and causing no harm to others and that the Bible is a beautiful historical recollection and no more, I believe that there is a God. When I die, I will go to heaven, and continue on in a different realm. I wonder if this honest belief, that I do NOT wish to have, is the absolute trueness that is faith in God, or is it false, because I don’t know the Bible by heart, nor do I ascribe any of its teachings to my daily life aside from a generic morality deemed acceptable in the society to which I am bound.
When I say that it is a true belief that I do not agree with, I do not mean that it is simply a bad thought. When I walk over a bridge I want to stay in the middle not because I am afraid I will fall in, but that I will for some mysterious reason, decide to jump. I have to put my keys in my pockets not to keep them from falling by accident, but to keep myself from throwing them. I do not consider myself suicidal to have these feelings, nor do I claim them as “true beliefs” for it is ridiculous to say that jumping off a bridge is how I really want to behave.
My feelings about God are thus: He is there, He is forgiving, He is a man with a white beard living in the clouds and there is a heaven where we all go after we are dead. My subconscious does not acknowledge the existence of a hell either. I am a college student however, and with an international business emphasis and close to no experience with religion, it sounds stupid, foolish and impossible that God is up there. Nevertheless, I cannot control what my bizarre brain truly thinks, and I am left to exist as a believer in a childish storybook version of a divine entity lording over us all. There is a silver lining to this realization however.
This has helped me to understand the opinions of others who I previously thought stupid or judgmental. Sometimes, you cannot help what you believe. Maybe you believe that all homosexuals should not be alive and that they all have AIDS and are bad people. Maybe you believe that one race is superior to another, one social class is not as deserving as another, or that women should be subservient to men.
I have had a man tell me that though he has many gay male friends, and that though he would never harm them, he really believes that they should not exist on this planet, before actually tearing up that he had such a belief. In the same vein, I have a female friend who does not believe you are a woman anymore if you have your uterus removed, though when it happened to her aunt she was inconsolably upset and wished she didn’t believe it. Or another acquaintance, who said they did not believe in evolution, though they agreed that they couldn’t argue with the evidence.
I couldn’t help thinking then, how amazingly lucky I am, and how great my childhood must have been that I do not have any of those beliefs at my core. It is such a happy thought that the only belief I have come across thus far that I go against my character to shun, is the belief in God and heaven. Somewhere during my formative years I accepted without a second thought that these things were real, on my own, as I was not raised to believe in a God by my parents or teachers, possibly because of a random, thoughtless statement made by an acquaintance which I just so happened to latch onto.
It also made me realize that when I hear someone say something horrible, or something wonderful that I simply don’t agree with, that it is not the end of the world, it does not mean that said person is better or worse than me, and it does not make that person good or bad.
I am forced to conclude then that people don’t necessarily want to believe their most dire convictions, they simply have them. Even, as in my case, if they do not want to hold such beliefs, sometimes it is not a choice, and simply a factor of their development. We cannot then judge our fellow-man by his beliefs, for one always has the choice to fight or unite with their thoughts, thus we must cast out content of character for a more acceptable idiom. Our actions speak louder than our words.