Wednesday, November 10, 2010

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Beliefs can make you cynical and bitter. Beliefs can make you think that life is totally meaningless. Beliefs can make you think that you are a complete idiot and that life is not worth living.

However, beliefs can also make you happy. And beliefs can make your life worth living even under terrible circumstances.

It was a common belief in Germany in the nineteen thirties and the beginning of the nineteen forties that the German people was a superior race and that their destiny was to subjugate other inferior “races”. Those beliefs made the Germans feel self confident and strong. Those beliefs gave them a meaning to life.

People in England had similar beliefs in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They were deeply convinced that they were superior to Africans, Asians and Native Americans. Most people in Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Holland were also filled with such ideas. Slave trading and stealing other peoples land was not a crime to them.

They were also, somehow, able to reconcile their beliefs of superiority with their Christian faith. The various Christian churches saw no problem with this. The slave trade and the stealing of other peoples land and possessions were completely in consistency with The Bible according to the theological authorities.

It can be enormously liberating to realize that a belief is just a belief, a crazy idea, an illusion. It can be like waking up from a nightmare realizing that it was only a weird dream.