Category Archives: Belief Systems

Belief Systems revisited

Belief Systems revisited

About three years ago I submitted a post on this topic. My belief system programming was produced and directed by my mom, a devoted Roman Catholic. As I understand it her mom, a Southern Bell, was a convert at some point in her life. Mom insured that I attended mass every week and was enrolled in a catholic school for my first ten years in Dayton, OH, Newburg, NY, Colorado Springs, and Ottawa Canada. I attended catechism class for each of those ten years and was taught that the Catholic Church was the one true church and the only path to a wonderful afterlife. The Pope was our leader and infallible when it came to matters of faith. Protestants (the protestors) were misguided and should be encouraged to return to one true faith. I was so well programmed that I continued to attend mass through my last two years of high school and four years at university. I even required my first wife to attend catholic lessons prior to our marriage in the church.

While I did question certain puzzling aspects of church history and rules that seemed not to be part of scripture I was told that “Faith” alone would overcome any doubts. It was only later that I understood that “Faith”, especially fervent faith, can overcome evidence and facts. Why are there so many different belief systems with all of them populated by devotees that are positive that their path to the afterlife is either the only one or if not, by far the best? Is it possible for all of them to be valid?

In an effort to ferret out the truth, I began my research. I attended several other church services, and read the Book of Mormon and the Koran. I read about the inquisition and the dalliances (and atrocities) of several popes in history. I learned of the Council of Nicene and the process that Emperor Constantine directed to determine what books make into the Scriptures we have today. I wondered how they could know for sure that these represented the “Word” of the creator.

I wondered why an all-powerful God would need to create humans to worship him/her. Did God have sex or need it? If there were entities on other worlds do we share the same God? Is the God of our Galaxy the same as the one in other Galaxies? Is the God of our Universe the same as the God of other Universes? Is it possible that the gods of the Romans, Greeks, Norse, Mayans, etc., etc., were not myths (they were real to them)? Is it possible that we do not know the truth?

One of the basic tenants on which our country was founded on freedom of religion (you are entitled to your beliefs). Bout half of the founding fathers were Deists. I am convinced that their intent was that the USA was to be a secular refuge, open to all beliefs (even non-beliefs). That is my position on the topic.

As for my belief, I do my best to resist believing. I prefer experience and evidence-based facts (as best we are to ascertain). I have no idea what happens when we die, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that something does exist after death (or near death). I am excited to find out when my time comes.

The Founding Fathers and their Beliefs

The Founding Fathers and their Beliefs

The list of the “Founding” Fathers of our country varies depending on the researcher. For my purposes, I used a composite of several lists and limited it to the top 10 most recognized by the researchers. I was surprised to learn that about half did not consider themselves to be Christians. Check out the following:

  • George Washington.  Anglican
  • Alexander Hamilton.  Deist
  • Benjamin Franklin.   Deist
  • John Adams.  Unitarian
  • Samuel Adams.  Puritan
  • Thomas Jefferson.  Deist
  • James Madison.   Baptized Anglican, but tended toward Deist over time
  • John Jay. Episcopalian
  • Thomas Paine, Deist
  • John Hancock Congregationalist

Belief Systems Revisited

Belief Systems Revisited

Belief systems tend to have a significant impact on our lives. It has always been interesting to me that where you are born will be a primary determinant of what you believe. For example: If you were born in India there is an 85% chance that you would be raised in the Hindu Faith.

Three belief systems amount to over half of the world’s population. The followers of Jesus (including Roman Catholics) comprise 2.4 billion, followers of Mohamed 1.9 billion, and followers of Vishnu (the supreme Hindu god of thousands) 1.2 billion. 5.5 billion of 7.9 billion people subscribe to one of these three beliefs.

Studies indicate that when facts and beliefs are at odds then beliefs tend to rule the day.

Historical beliefs have been traditionally viewed as myths. Early Egyptian, Roman, Greek, and Norse beliefs in multiple gods are generally viewed as misguided by current standards. And yet, to the people of those times, they were just as real as the primary belief systems of today. In one sense all of these systems are correct even though they are quite different since all that is required is a personal commitment to a dogma. However, from an objective observer who has no prior conditioning, it becomes quite confusing. Which belief system should I adopt? Which one is more accurate in absolute terms?

Perhaps the system that has endured for the longest is the best to adopt. In that case, Hinduism is, by far, the best option. Perhaps the system that has the most devotees is a better option. Christianity seems like a good option. However, the most recent may have improved on some of the older systems. Islam might be the best choice.

A remaining option would be to remain with 1.2 billion others that do not subscribe to any organized belief system.