I Believe in Good

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I believe in good. I grew up in a good Christian home…as perhaps the majority of American families have, at least the ones that I was around. If I’ve been taught something over and over again by my parents it would be to question everything. Question even things you know to be true. Questioning opens the doors for your beliefs to become stronger.  Questions lead to good.

I am not Christian. I feel learning your beliefs should be somewhat like science: keep looking, keep testing. To me practicing Christianity has always felt like playing house, a part in a play. It only feels real for a while.

About a year ago I finally stepped back and thought…Why do I believe God exists? Have I ever experienced God? I haven’t. Though I can hear my father’s responses rolling around in my head…”God is in the way your paint brush hits the canvas, he’s that feeling you get when you create the perfect outfit, he’s the intense wave of inspiration you feel after being on Pinterest for an hour, he’s more here than we are, that’s the problem…” Yes Daddy. I hear you. But who’s to say that’s not something else?

I’m not an atheist though because as best I can tell atheists believe only in things that they can prove, verify with sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. I have to admit I’ve experienced moments where I feel something intangible, something ineffable but who’s to say it was god? I’m not ready to name it.  It could very well be some other higher up being or maybe it’s just my soul singing.

Believing in God for me is like believing in Santa Claus; it’s true right up till the moment you realize it’s not…nice in theory but at the end of the day it’s merely a tradition to get us through the day, something to get excited about. It’s a holiday from reality. Maybe one day I will decide I do believe. But, until I experience a feeling of knowing I don’t believe.

I don’t want to lose myself to something that is not true and doesn’t allow me to be me. Christianity has turned into an enterprise just like most things in our world. It stamps out people that all look the same inside and out. One thing I will never compromise on and will always protect is my originality, my me-ness, what I mean as good. In my way of thinking, being good is being real, being me.

The world is growing boring with everyone wanting to be the same. The more people who resist this trend and choose to be different, to be themselves, who choose the good, the better and stronger our world will become.

For that reason I believe in good.

paris

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8 thoughts on “I Believe in Good

  1. dr. eak says:

    Paris, I believe in you. In your writing, in your sense of self, in your art, in your expression. Hard to say if it’s good or not if there is no gauge outside ourselves to determine, but I’m glad you are asking questions and writing. 🙂

  2. Hmmm…beautifully said. Thank you for the words of encouragement! Always appreciated:)

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is by far one of the most well-written and persuasive arguments I’ve ever heard against the belief in God. And I have to admit, for a long time, I shared the exact same mentality: Why do I believe in a god I can’t see? Why does everyone around me always talk about how great God is and yet they are unable to quantitatively prove he’s done anything in their lives? The answer is hard to accept. Often shrugged off as illogical, self-defeating, and even outright stupid. Faith.
    Most everyone, Christians not excepted, cringe at the mention of the word. How is mankind supposed to understand a God beyond their perception on faith alone? What most of us can’t accept is that we’re not meant to, nor can we ever, fathom the existence of God. A God who, as we’re told, existed before our concept of time began and will still exist when it ends. All that leaves us with is faith. It is in our very nature to only accept what we can see, hear, smell, or touch. However, it only takes a couple of seconds of though to realize that mankind has made certain exceptions. Faith may not be as far-fetched as society tries to make it appear.
    In science, the majority of the world has given credence to the theory of evolution despite scientists’ inability to find even one of the supposed “missing links.” We have accepted it one faith; faith that life originated without God. Likewise, theories such as intelligent design have been discredited and and mocked by pop culture even though there’s no definitive evidence against its validity. We’ve taken this in faith as well; faith that there isn’t a Creator, otherwise theories such as this would be above reproach. Today’s society has perpetuated a atmosphere of hypocrisy in which faith concerning religious affiliation is infeasible and should be persecuted. Meanwhile, faith in aspects not related to religion is welcomed and praised.
    Christianity in modern America has become a travesty. People believe, or at least claim to believe, in God only because everyone the around them claims the same. Thankfully, the bandwagon has finished its run; pop culture Christianity is dying out. And it’s to the benefit of everyone. Individuals are starting to engage their brains, question their beliefs. I wholeheartedly agree that beliefs are only strengthened through questioning. The problem is that people only question until they find what seems to be evidence to the contrary. They don’t want to be disappointed so they simply avoid the subject, adopt some moderate viewpoint to placate others, and move on with life.
    Believing in good is a noble gesture. But what exactly is good? Without the instruction of a religious doctrine, where do people form precepts of good and bad? They can’t. What’s good to them may be completely different from what someone else believes is good. In a culture with no moral or ethical reference, almost every individual will concern him/herself with whats best for them. Society won’t have any modicum of commonality. Thus, society is dissolved, leaving only a collective of individuals that are only interested in what’s best for them. The only possible outcome is chaos and lawlessness.
    Faith is really the only logical option. Yes, it will divide us and cause conflict. Just as with questioning though, from these divisions and conflict that our faith should become stronger. One of the most fascinating points from the blog was, “But who’s to say it’s not something else?” to which I can only respond: who’s to say it’s not God?

    If I come across as offensive and intolerant, that isn’t my intention and I apologize. I merely wish to provide some perspective. However you choose to take this, NEVER stop asking questions.

    “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

  4. Reblogged this on Big Blue Dot Y'all and commented:
    I love this. Being good is real. Thanks for this.

  5. Ryan Garner says:

    Perhaps it is the “in” part that is the most troubling. Unfortunately, our entire view of belief is bound to a subject/object distinction that the West is founded on and is corroded by. This is Nietzsche’s most startling realization. To believe “in” seems to position us as some sort of Archimedean observer calculating the merits of objects and their verifiability. To do so, we suspect that we can enter into those things, unchanged ourselves and sanitarily unaffecting them, and see their essential properties whence we can ascribe assent. Hence, our greatest certainties in the West rest within our greatest violence through this type of objective dissection.

    Ironically, the “me” that is sought after is subject to this same investigative disassembly. The self is a fabrication of this way of thinking about belief and knowledge. Namely, once the subject and object are seen as alien to one another, then subject becomes understood as an object to itself and is now subject-ed to a kind of epistemological suicide. In short, “me” is made too and my interest in finding its unique properties make me vulnerable to a self-imposed misanthropy. Kierkegaard recognized this and found that the road to rediscovery and the horizon of personal unity is found in the “thrown” belonging to another, to love, to the Divine. I become an “I” when I encounter “you” so to speak (c.f. Buber, Levinas, etc.). This is not what it means to be “me”, or an individuated, but a person. I am a being-in-communion. Or rather, I am becoming-in-communion.

    I say this NOT to contend with your reflections. They are profound and compelling. I do so because I fear that a greater enterprise lurks behind this dichotomy of a subject-believing-in-an-object: misanthropy. A world that seeks to solidify its belief IN things is the one which tireless seeks the origins of the self so that it can believe IN it. What once was a person, mystically unified, astonishingly unique, is now scoured and investigated (consider the obsession with the dead on the CSI tables of our tv shows or the probing insights into humanity that reality shows pretend to offer). What is left, death and its justifying center: knowledge.

    ***N.B. This shan’t denounce science. As you note, questioning is supreme. It is merely to say that even the scientific and the technological developments of our time must imbued with belonging in each question that is asked. Thus to ask is already to be answerable to those being asked. To read a possibility is already to write on that reading. Knowing thus is a kind of sexual encounter. ***

    Thus perhaps a mode to circumvent this static belief IN something we must take the long detour of believing someone precisely by the habitual belonging to them. This is no simple “relationship with God” triviality. It is the recognition that all observation and reaction with the real is one of affection before reflection.

  6. Greg Joens says:

    Paris, I found your note by typing in “I believe in Good” in a Google search…. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I am a Christian, but I often have problems with the hypocrisy that seems to prevail in almost all organized religion… and the cruel dogma that plagues it making it more hateful than loving.

    To me, God is the light from which all things were created. In goodness there is no darkness at all. Good is my God. Justice, Mercy, Love, Kindness, Humble, Defender of the poor and the underdog. All that I aspire to and those things beyond human ability.

  7. Jason says:

    If I am to believe in anything, it is in people’s capacity to do not only good things, but great things, with or without an underlying religious intent. Religion isn’t Truth for everyone (say 70% of the population of Japan for example) and a person’s Truth should be something that is evolving and complex much like they are because people are just that, complex and evolving.
    You are a tremendously thoughtful young person Paris and I commend you on your efforts to find your own sense of Truth and your ability to reflect and critically review your own perspective and world view. This ability will serve you well throughout your life. You will not be lead, you will learn.

    “The Force is strong with this one.” – Star Wars

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