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Dept. of Answering Posts

This I Believe

When I asked for some questions to answer, 
[personal profile] kerravonsen  asked me to talk about my world view. I immediately thought about a letter I wrote my mother more than 20 years ago, after she worried that our differing beliefs might prevent the two of us meeting in heaven. So I dug up my copy of that letter. With some considerable editing and additions, it forms the core of what I present here. 

It's long and it's opinionated, which is unsurprising. It's also under a cut; you don't need to read it, and you certainly don't have to agree with what you do read. Still, it does give you a bit of an idea of what makes me tick. 

A final thought before my verbosity gets even more verbose; in my increasingly long life, I have had the honor of making friends who don't believe the same things I do. I am glad they are willing to be my friends. Thank you all. 

Let’s start with some basics.

I believe in physics, in gravity, in electromagnetic fields, in the unbelievable cold and darkness between stars and the grandeur and heat of suns so far away that the starlight I see in the sky was born centuries before it reached this earth.

I believe that angels don’t intervene in the affairs of men. I believe that ghosts may indeed stay here, poor lost things, but that they are not my business. I believe that aliens have not yet come to this planet.

I believe in courage, even if I have precious little of it.

I believe in questions, even if I am afraid of the answers.

I used to say that people who preach about gods, devils, diets or medicine, predestination or politics ought to be horsewhipped. Since that also applies to me, I’ve softened my stance somewhat. Now my rule of thumb is “Are they mendacious or deluded, and does it matter if the damage is real?”

And yes, I believe in vaccinations.

I believe in unions, that the union makes us strong. I believe in freedom, and justice. I believe it’s hard to figure out what those things are, but that’s one of the jobs the universe expects us to undertake.

I don’t believe in Brexit. I don’t believe in making America great again.

I believe in global warming. I believe humans have damn near killed the Earth; I believe my grandchildren will not have a world in which to live if we don’t do something — right now — to stop our governments, our corporations and ourselves from what we’re doing now. I don’t believe we stand much chance of succeeding.

I believe no child should ever work in a factory, or sell her body to feed her family. I believe women when they say they’ve been assaulted, raped, coerced, threatened, or gaslit. I believe men, too, when they say they’ve been similarly attacked. I believe no man should be so afraid of women, or himself, that he must kill to maintain his manhood.

I believe saying slavery was in the past, or the Holocaust was in the past, or racism was in the past, or the Crusades were in the past, or sexism was in the past isn’t paying attention. I don’t believe in white saviors.

I believe that I need to check my privilege. I believe I fail, regularly, to do that, and I believe I can’t give up trying. I believe those of us in the privileged world all need to do that. I believe the biggest snowflakes in our world are people frightened of losing the power they thought should be theirs by right. Put simply, anyone who was born on third base and thinks they’ve made a home run is a dangerously, arrogantly oblivious idiot.

I believe in intersectionalism. I believe in political correctness. I believe in the difference between gender and sexuality; I believe there are more than two genders. I believe you use the pronouns the person asks you to, and if you don’t, you’re rude and wrong.

I believe Jews and Muslims must share Jerusalem. I believe Shia and Sunnis must live together or die. I believe Baptists and Catholics need to stop fighting over whether Martin Luther was right or wrong. He was an asshole; let’s leave it at that. So were a truckload of popes.

I believe fundamentalism ignores fundamentals like love, compassion, logic, and common sense.

I don’t believe God tells people what to eat or wear, or what not to eat or wear. I believe people who say God does are mistaken. I think people who say God sets out rules for modesty, or cuisine, or what days to worship in what ways, or what people to bless when they love each other, or which people to stone, are mistaken.

In fact, overall, I believe God makes few laws. Do not kill. Do not hate. Do not hurt. Do not lie. Beyond that, I believe in no laws that people say God has told them.

I believe in laughter. I believe in rock and roll. I believe in fandom. I believe in Doctor Who. I believe in living, and I believe it is necessary to die, even though I am afraid of doing so.

I believe in this universe. I believe in love. I believe in love so huge that it created the universe, love that exists and will exist beyond the heat death of the universe, and then will recreate the universe. I believe in love so tiny that it will refrain from nagging, will pick up the clothes from the floor and bite its tongue.

I choose to believe what I am will continue after my body rots. I choose to make that leap of faith. It comforts me, and may be true.

Because of that, I believe my grandmother and mother wait somewhere for me. When I’m gone from this earth, I believe I will wait for those I love to come along. To them I say, whither thou goest I will go, even if it be through a different door.
This entry was originally posted at https://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/727064.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here, but prefer to read over on DW. You can comment there using open ID if you don't have a DW account.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
a_phoenixdragon
Mar. 21st, 2019 04:29 am (UTC)
Thank you...omg, thank you!! I want this post framed and on my wall, where I can see it always.

You are a beautiful soul. If there is indeed a place for souls to meet those they love (in this life and in others), I know there is no possible way for you to be barred from that meeting. You are too beautiful, wise and filled with love.

I am blessed to have found you on this path.

I am also out of adequate words.

*hugs you tight*
kaffyr
Mar. 21st, 2019 04:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your praise, which makes me smile even as I realize that my chief claim to fame is a facility with words. I wish that I could fulfill the promises and requirements of what I believe more than I do. That's my daily challenge.

One thing I'm blessed with is a circle of friends and acquaintances who, I think, bring out the best in me, and challenge me to be better. You are one of them, my dear.
a_phoenixdragon
Mar. 22nd, 2019 03:55 am (UTC)
I think that is the challenge we all love through daily. Being a better person can be SUPER hard work sometimes, but it always is worth it, even if it is just for the sake of kindness and understanding for the other creatures around you, if for nothing else.

Ahhh, now I am blushing - but I am with you on this. Those we love see us a certain way and one should always hold themselves to those high ideals, if we can. I must say the feeling is entirely mutual, my dear lady.

*HUGS*
kaffyr
Mar. 22nd, 2019 03:31 pm (UTC)
Those we love see us a certain way and one should always hold themselves to those high ideals

Mission accepted!
flowsoffire
Mar. 21st, 2019 04:50 am (UTC)
This is all so beautiful and vibrantly expressed, and rings so true to me, too <3
kaffyr
Mar. 21st, 2019 04:09 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it speaks to you; communication is one of the gifts and challenges that the universe provides us, and I am grateful if I managed to use it well in this case.
eaweek
Mar. 22nd, 2019 07:17 pm (UTC)
I love this SO MUCH! Thanks for cheering me up on a horribly dreary Friday in March. Especially this:

I believe the biggest snowflakes in our world are people frightened of losing the power they thought should be theirs by right.

Yup!

I believe pretty much the same things you believe... only you expressed them in a far more succinct and eloquent way than I ever could.
kaffyr
Mar. 24th, 2019 09:18 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked this, that it resonated with you, and that it cheered you up some. (As someone who's trying to recover from a godawful stomach bug right now, cheering up seems very important.)

Edited at 2019-03-24 09:19 pm (UTC)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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