Essays, Poetry, Observations, Etc.

Philosophy, faith, and truth… from a certain point of view

In life, memories, philosophy, reflections on February 22, 2013 at 12:08 am

One day, when I was a lad in junior high, my father took me along on a run to the post office.

Shortly after we set out, he glanced back at me in the rear view mirror as I sat in the back seat staring out the window at the pretty co-eds jogging around the university.  (The latter has nothing to do with the story, but admiring the lovely “older” college women was a major preoccupation at that age! lol)

So, my father asked, rather matter of factly, what was the population of the world. I paused, and replied, “around 3 1/2 billion.”  I asked why he’d asked, if only because he would have known the answer himself.

We came up to a stop light and he turned and told me something that I have remembered to this day and incorporated into my world view, lo these many decades..

“There are 3 1/2 billion people in world and there are probably 3 1/2 billion religions in the world,” he said.

I looked at him, puzzled, but even then with a glimmer of understanding.

He told me that everyone, each individual, has their own view and/or understanding of what they believe to be true.  Even people two people that appear to believe exactly the same thing will have some minor, or even major, point of disagreement about the faith or philosophy they hew to.

I nodded, wondering where he was going with this.

He pulled into a parking space in front of the P.O., shut the car off and, looking me square in the eye, told me this: Everybody has the right to what they believe.to be The Truth. .  Listen, be polite, and accept what they say as true… for them.  Discuss and argue when the time and emotions are right. Never tell a person they are wrongheaded or an idiot. Just respect that they have a different viewpoint and move on.  And the most important thing I want you to remember is this,  always stay true to what you believe. Be true to yourself.  Hold fast to your beliefs.  Learn from the world around, adapt what you believe as needs must, and trust yourself.  You’ll live a happier and maybe longer life because of it.

His council I took.  And my own council I keep.  And I am happier for it.

To this day I am fascinated by other’s beliefs.  I have read many and disparate books of faith and philosophy.  From each I have learned something… and yet I have remained happy with my own belief structure, tweaking it as I age and learn.

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