Am I a believer? Probably, I think we all are a bit but what we believe in differs wildly. A few years back I was at a children’s carol concert when a guest preacher told a joke that pretty much let the Father Christmas identity out of the bag. Little children looked confused, older children looked on in amazement and parents were livid. My main annoyance was who was this man to say that his belief system was any more valid than my sons’?
There seem to be those that believe and won’t listen to alternatives as they “know” that they are right. Then there are those that believe that their belief system is no such thing but a rigorously proven scientific system and won’t listen to alternatives and in fact will dismiss out of hand beliefs that just seem too hard to swallow. Then there are the “sit on the fence types” that seem to believe nothing and know nothing preferring not to make their mind up. I probably belong to the sceptics and fence sitters more than the believers. But until last week I was quite happy knowing that the fastest thing in the universe was light because Einstein had proved it. Now it looks like that might be under question and I love it. I love it when rock solid absolutes are shaken. Of course at these moments scientists quite happily declare that nothing is certain and in fact true scientists regularly say the world is less known than we think, but those that believe in science find that their belief system can also be shaken. It seems that scientists are only right until they are proved wrong, alternative thinkers are considered wrong until scientists can prove them right.
Now, if we are going to put gravity and feng shui in a boxing ring I know which one I am going to back and not just because gravity has its feet on the ground and feng shui doesn’t like the alignment of the corner it’s sitting in. I’m backing gravity because there has been a whole heap of proven research into it for centuries and my front door faces south and is painted red and I still haven’t made a fortune.
It’s easy to mock alternative ways at looking at the world but often we rush to advance our knowledge and leave perfectly good discoveries behind. The best way to get rid of ulcerating sores? Bind them up with maggots. Totally mediaeval but it works, however, by the same token those in the know back then thought that bleeding was also a great cure for all ills.
So what don’t I believe in? Well Feng shui for a start and being able to talk to the dead. I don’t believe that aliens built the pyramids, I don’t disbelieve in aliens, they just don’t strike me as the jobbing mason sort. I don’t believe in astrology and I don’t believe in fortune telling. I don’t believe in fairies but sea monsters are fair game. I think people are just bags of water, chemicals and electrical impulses so I’ll remain open minded on dowsing, acupuncture, homeopathy and chakras.
I do believe that there are more thing in heaven and hell than are dreamt of in our philosophy so I’m going to remain open minded and just because I believe doesn’t mean I’m right and just because someone can’t prove a thing doesn’t mean that they are wrong. And as for Father Christmas – well of course he’s real.