There are a few things I want to say about beliefs that many don’t seem to get.

1.  They are not provable.

Why we continuously debate so called universal truths I don’t understand.  When it comes to beliefs, especially religious ones, we are all flying in the dark.  I don’t care what your point is–there is no proving it.  (here’s why).  Arguing to broaden each other’s outlook is helpful.  It makes us smarter.  However arguing beliefs with the intent of being right can never work.  What ever is on the other side cannot be known for sure until we get there…no matter how certain we feel about it.

2.  They do not exist to be justifiable or make sense.

On the other hand, your beliefs don’t have to be provable!  That’s not what they’re here for.  Beliefs exist to help us navigate and make sense of what we perceive (the world).  Let’s think back to The Matrix for a second.  Who cares that the material world might not exist the way we perceive it to?    We still have to function within it, so our common beliefs about it are indeed useful.  The same is true for religion.  If your belief in [xyz] helps you make sense of a few things, then it’s done its job.  If the most compelling arguments against your beloved religion still don’t sway your faith, that’s fine!  Beliefs truly don’t have to make sense to be of use.

3.  They are personal.

Here is the area that people most often violate when it comes to each other.  Another person’s beliefs are absolutely none of your business.  I cringe when I see people cornered and berated by overly invasive “missionaries” (for any faith.)  When I said I thought debate was healthy and eye opening, I meant mutually agreed upon debate.  If you have any emotional intelligence whatsoever it is obvious when a person is uncomfortable with your conversation.  If you find yourself the aggressor in a situation like that, take a moment to remember point #1 and walk away.

4.  You do not get to choose them.

I expect some disagreement on this point, but I’m going to throw it out there anyway.  I’ve thought a lot about this, and I truly believe (ha) that our beliefs are unaffected by logic…for better and for worse.

Christianity, for example, is somewhat strict.  Jesus is the path to Heaven, and “not Jesus” is the path to Hell…to put it very simply.  It would seem to be in all of our best interests to believe in Jesus as the savior then, even if we can’t be sure until we die.  It is the safest bet to give the benefit of the doubt (if you have one) and just believe.  Here’s the thing though.  You can’t, if you don’t.  You can want to believe with all your being.  You can think it’s a great idea to believe.  You can pretend to believe, but that doesn’t make it real for you.

This is not to say that your beliefs are not changeable.  If you have always thought the world ended at a certain point and then saw with your own eyes that it didn’t, you might change your beliefs on the spot.  But that’s something that genuinely happens inside.  It can’t be forced, and it doesn’t have to be.

I personally believe that God doesn’t care if you are aware of “Him” or not.  He’s too perfect to be hung up on that kind of thing.  But that’s me, and I’m not available for cornering at this time. 🙂