Sunday, August 14, 2011

Changing Beliefs

Time for me to fly it seems.

I have discovered I have a heroic attitude inside of me that gets activated when I think someone's beliefs I care about is being corrupted by an attitude resembling a villain or victim. Initially when my hero attitude gets activated it comes out the gate with passion. My passion is fueled by doing what I think and believe is the right thing to do, why doesn’t matter. Fortunately I am surrounded by wonderful friends, family, co-workers, and mentors and it seems my heroic side only gets activated around them… so no one seems to get hurt.

The other day I was looking at some Facebook feeds and a former mentor “Gor-EL” posted something to the effect that he only says he believes in God to hedge his bets. He classifies himself as a Neo-Skeptic. This seemed odd to me, since when I was his pupil he seemed like a true believer. He would use metaphors to describe Microsoft’s business practices to the Catholic church. Come to find out later he was raised Catholic.

Super Todd gets activated and I proudly proclaimed to my former mentor through email I have three beliefs, that is all.

  • I believe I exist - I have a past and a future, but the most important time is now.
  • I believe in God, both secular, and non-secular. Non-Secular teaches us the scientific method, the secular one teaches ethics.
  • I believe we can live forever if we practice forgiveness and embrace the path of character.

I do this because this quote from the movie Dogma caused me to actually define what I believe in when I felt I was turning away from God when I went through my divorce.

"I think it's better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can't generate. Life becomes stagnant." – Rufus

Gor-EL wrote back wondering what the hell just hit him through email, and offered some compassionate wisdom.

“I have observed that the concept of God adds great stability to the lives of honest believers. More specifically, it makes it easier for them to face tragedies that might otherwise overwhelm them. So I don't challenge their belief. It helps them deal with adversity and keeps their achievements in perspective.”

“As for your individual beliefs, I'm glad that you have discovered a spiritual framework that adds meaning to your life. But I would have been equally glad if your framework did not have God at its center. I would applaud whatever works for you.”

“There is an old straw man that scientists cannot believe in God. This is a straw man that only appeals to folk who have little knowledge of science or its history. However it also seems to appeal to some scientists who may not be as aware as they should be that this "battle" has been raging for centuries. Their personal struggle is just a tiny dot on a very long curve.”

“Finally, I would challenge the notion that beliefs are less important than ideas. Beliefs are the stable cluster of notions we hold true that allow us to function from day to day. Beliefs provide the frameworks within which we can sift our ideas. That's why one has to be very careful about changing one's beliefs. Christians "believe" in eternal life and in Jesus Christ as the savior who will enable them to gain passage to a happy life after their bodies die. This is not something that should be up for grabs every morning. And if comes up too frequently, it becomes Doubt -- a very disturbing mental state that undermines the doubters capacity to function. Of course, when belief is considered in the context of God, it's called "Faith" ... a cluster of notions about the Divinity.”

A friend of mine this week posted on Facebook, “A heroes greatest power and strength is compassion” Gor-EL was compassionate with me and didn’t criticize me or judge me for my passion. I hate fighting and arguing with people. I have a verbal judo trick called “Understood”. In chess it is called a stalemate. In business it is called “It is what it is” From this point forth, I will only fight with compassion with my opponents and allies. Compassion to me is “You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need” My goal is equitability or Win Win results.

Complexity is my weakness that is why I limit my beliefs, so I don’t activate my super ego and keep him turned on… one time in my life my super ego got activated and I couldn’t turn it off without a lot of help. It cost me a number of friends, and eventually a very special women divorced me because she was scared.

Allowing your super ego out is a good thing, just in moderation. Activating compassion is my way of deactivating my super ego.

To that regard I have for the first time in a long while changed my beliefs.

  • I believe in the power of love
  • I believe in free will
  • I believe I exist

“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in Evil, but REJOICES with the TRUTH. It always protects, always trusts, always HOPES, always perseveres. LOVE never fails, and now these three remain FAITH, HOPE, and love, but the greatest of these is LOVE” – 1st Corinthians


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