When I posted 10 Things I learned from my 4-Year-Old, it started a flame war in the comments section and I believe it is an opportunity to write about beliefs.
It may surprise some of you that dogmatic religious beliefs aren’t for me and my son is free to believe anything he wishes.
- I was raised a Seventh Day Adventist and I once believed the things they taught (they told me my dog wouldn’t go to heaven because it didn’t have a soul and eating bacon could land me in hell)
- Then I believed I was an atheist
- Then I believed I was an agnostic
- Then I believed in New Age teachings
- Then I looked at Lutheranism
None of these belief systems – as a whole – work for me.
I intended the post to inspire people to think and ask more questions and many readers were inspired. However, some commenters flamed me as an ignorant brainwasher of children, and I empathize with them, because I used to be a lot like them. In the past I believed anyone that believed in God was a weak-minded ignorant fool and I usually told them so.
I used to hold this belief – I believe I must be right. Combined with atheism, this was the most destructive belief I have ever held. It led me to listen only to people that agreed with me. It led me to repeat mistakes without learning from them. It led me into an us vs. them mentality. It led me to insult and impugn people who didn’t agree with me. For me, atheism and a need to be right led to a grander myopia than my Adventist beliefs. The moment I shed those beliefs my life permanently changed and I gained incredible personal power. I saw a new reality full of new ideas and new possibilities.
So now I have decided that I don’t need to be an Adventist, an Atheist, an Agnostic, a New Ager, or a Lutheran, but I can learn things from them all. I have decided that I am not a belief system, but an independent being free to choose the beliefs that work best for me. I can read the Bhagavad Gita and discuss it with Hindus, I can read blogs written by Buddhists, I can discuss the teachings of Christ with a Christian, and I can discuss the war in Iraq with a Muslim. For me, beliefs are powerful tools I can use to achieve results, so why limit myself to just one set. If I were to accept one rigid set of beliefs and never change them, I believe I would be trapped believing the same old things and expecting different results. Insanity!
I’m getting great results with my current beliefs, but I have a big goal – I want to help as many people as possible realize their dreams. I believe achieving this goal will require learning and applying powerful new beliefs that I haven’t yet discovered.
I do believe in God and that belief seems to work very well for me right now. Maybe it doesn’t work for you, and that’s okay with me. But if you are open to the possibility of anything, I believe you will learn far more than if your mind is closed to certain possibilities.
I tried to persuade my son to believe that our cat (Maui) was okay and happy in heaven, so he would think about Maui’s death in the most positive possible way. But of course, the truth is, I don’t know what happened to the life-force that allowed Maui to meow, hunt, run, and purr for the last 18 years. I’m guessing his life-force just changed form, like liquid water turns to vapor.
My point is – My 4-year-old taught me not to accept overly simple answers to big complex questions. I will keep asking big questions so maybe someday I can learn the truth.
For more information on changing your beliefs see Steve Pavlina’s blog. It describes it far better than I can. See these podcasts specifically.
The True Nature of Reality
P.S. Don’t bother putting insults and flames in the comments. I’ll delete them. If you want to have a meaningful discussion, disagree without denigrating.