This I believe:
I believe in people
People are amazing. They are good and loving and heroic and imperfect and willing to reach out and help someone because that is what we do. The world may be horrific at times, and people are imperfect always, but I have never met someone without value and a deep longing for something great, and a willingness to help those the love.
I believe in fun
Life is sort of incredible, isn't it? Sure I'm a privileged American who can set off on adventures at the drop of a hat, but I think life should be profoundly enjoyable. The fact that so many people don't understand that is a tragedy, the fact that so many people don't have the opportunity to enjoy life is an outrage. I think my blog has shown my thoughts on a happy life quite clearly, so I'll leave it at that.
I believe in hope
I'm not really sure what to say about this, only that I think hope is our last, best defense against a horrible life. It is the "anchor of our souls". But it's also the sail: it allows us to keep moving towards something great and hold on when life is something awful. Things will be wonderful, I really believe they will.
I believe in Truth
Even after all my questions, all my doubts, all the ways you can rationalize it and explain it, I believe that there is Truth, with a capital T. And I think that this truth is attainable to us as humans. The pursuit of truth is the purpose of the majority of what I do in my life.
I believe in God
I really, truly do. There aren't a lot of things in life I can say from personal experience, but I can say from personal experience that there is more to life than what we see: That God exists. You may chalk it up to coincidence, fallacy, or psychology, but I have felt the love of God in my life. I have received answers to my questions, I have been protected from danger, in more ways than can fit succinctly in this post. I believe in Jesus Christ, not just as a man but as a Savior and a source of peace. I have felt great comfort in times of great trials, and great peace after the burden of regret and guilt. God is more than a fable or a tradition, He lives, in that he feels and cares and acts and loves each of us. I believe that because I've felt it and seen it in my life, and it's one of the last things I can fall back on, when everything else fails.
I believe in revelation
I think everyone can know for themselves. Not just what is true but also what they should do in life, the answers to their questions and direction in their decisions. I think religion is a profoundly personal endeavor for Truth, and I believe that there is one source of Truth, and that if anyone really searches they will end up at the same place, even if the path is a bit different for each person. I do believe in my church, and I believe it's True. By this I don't believe it's perfect in every way, and I don't think it's the only place to come close to God, or be good, or find purpose. I believe it's the best place to find those things, and that it's God's. It may seem deeply conceited to say that there is one church that is comparatively more true, and that I'm a member of it, and it may sound insane to believe that God can talk to us, but that's what all my experiences have led me to believe. You're welcome to discover that for yourself, I'll talk to you about it, and I spent two years learning not to try to convince people of it. All this to say, I think we can find answers from God if we look. If I didn't, I doubt I'd be in any church.
I believe in science.
I really, truly do. I think that science is the very best way to understand how the world works. I don't think the truths of science and religion are of different value, only of different method. I believe in evolution and plate tectonics and fossils and dinosaurs, and that's never been a big conflict for me. I believe God created the earth, and if you want to know how, science is the place to look. A god who gave us such a magnificent ability for reason and deduction would expect us to use that, not to ignore it. I think really understanding the world brings us closer to understanding God, and those who reject science based on perceived conflicts do Him and themselves a disservice
"every one who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. The pursuit of science leads therefore to a religious feeling of a special kind, which differs essentially from the religiosity of more naive people."
It bothers me when people quote famous people to lend ethos to statements with which said persons would disagree, so it's worth noting that Einstein was not a huge fan of organized religion, and I think it would be disingenuous to posthumously quote him as one. Although I imagine Einstein would disagree with my belief in a personal and active God, he describes quite nicely my feeling in regards to the connection between science and religion.
While on the subject of Einstein, turns out he also said this:
"If one purges the Judaism of the Prophets and Christianity as Jesus Christ taught it of all subsequent additions, especially those of the priests, one is left with a teaching which is capable of curing all the social ills of humanity."
That's the fundamental idea behind the LDS church. By Einstein. And that's pretty cool, but again, as much as I love him, I doubt Einstein would be Mormon if he were around. I couldn't find any reliable quotes by Einstein on the LDS church, so I'm not sure how he felt. Anyway I digress.
I believe that there are answers to every question
There is no place for deliberate ignorance in religion or science. There are things we do not yet know, and coming to terms with that is necessary to function in either. There might be things that we won't know in our lives, but given enough time and determination I think every question can be answered, in one way or another. I think the pursuit of these answers is one of the most worthy endeavors in life. I don't think it's the most worth endeavor.
I believe in Love (♪ doo do do do doooo ♫ )
More than truth, I think people are the most important thing in life. I have known wonderful people who have wholesome lives without caring about God. I have never know a wonderful or wholesome person who didn't care about people, and while the former may be sad, the latter is dangerous and depressing. I believe that everyone if they really want can find Love in this life, and I think that's the best pursuit there is. Love, like higher truth, can be explained as chemical and psychological and socially constructed, but I don't think that makes it any less real or worthwhile. Both English and Portuguese lack the proper descriptive ability to express all the different ideas in love, which I suppose is ok because it's led to some of the richest literature tradition around (why write a poem about romantic love if there's a word that describes is as separate for what one feels for a puppy?) This is not the place to talk all about love, but I believe that Love is the source and object of all true religious belief.
So that's what I believe. I've never been the most outspoken when it comes to my beliefs, probably from some combination of humility, fear, and not wanting to offend or impose, but if you came all this way, and you're still curious, ask me about it, this isn't really an exhaustive list anyway. It's been a long time since I've gone around knocking on doors trying to find people willing to listen to me about my beliefs, but I do still like talking about them.
My blog has really taken a turn for the reflective and profound. Maybe I can step back a bit and talk about all the super fun things that are going on. Maybe I can do that another day.