W.C. Fields is purported to have said "Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer." I have heard many permutations of this, including "A man has to believe in something, and I believe I'll go fishing." and "Everyone's got to believe in something, and I believe I'll take a nap." Those sayings are clever and fun, but do you ever stop to think about what you believe and why you believe it?
To the best of my recollection, the sun has come up every single day of my life. That makes me believe that it will come up tomorrow. Whenever I walk unprotected in the rain, I get wet. I believe that will continue to happen. If I touch a hot woodstove, I will get burned. I believe that with all my scars. However, some things I believe are not so strongly reinforced by evidence that I can detect with only five senses. I just believe them. Sometimes I wonder why. Maybe experience is what makes me believe the way I do. Maybe it's logic.
I believe that it is wrong to hurt other people, through words, actions, or any other means. That doesn't mean I haven't done it (and probably still do) but I still don't think it's right. Why? Because it feels wrong to me. If I wouldn't want someone to do something to me, I certainly have no business doing it to them.
I believe that if someone is going to espouse a religious viewpoint or claim to be an adherent of a religion...any religion...they should know what that religion is and what it stands for. I do not believe that a message of peace and love is something that should be (or even can be) used as a weapon against other people. If you cherry-pick words and phrases from sacred texts in order to make a religion fit your mold, you probably have no business claiming that religion as your own...much less trying to force other people to adhere to it. I also believe that people are happier when they find a religion that fits them than they are if they expend their precious energies trying to shoehorn themselves into someone else's interpretation.
Along those lines...I know that being gay is not a religion, but I believe that people who are gay and admit it to themselves and others are much happier and more well-adjusted than people who deny who they are and, as often is the case, carry out attacks on others for being gay. The fact that these attacks are often cloaked as coming from theologies whose main message is peace and love makes it even worse. I believe that because I have observed it. My friends (and relatives) who are gay and have come out about it are in a way better place than those in the closet.
Other things that I believe...
I believe that the United States government (or any state or local government in the United States) doesn't have any business making laws that favor one religious point of view over another, or one that furthers any religious agenda.
I believe that having more money than somebody else doesn't make you a better person than them. How you let money affect you says more about "class" than how much money you have.
I believe that corporations are not people. Corporations are formed to offer the people who form them legal protections, and therefore should not be afforded the same rights and privileges as human beings. I believe that corporations should pay taxes. I also believe that churches should pay taxes. I believe that neither of those two entities have any business writing the laws of our country.
I believe that the earth is ours to protect and not to exploit. You can't eat, drink, or breathe money when the food, water, and air are gone.
I believe that two adult people who love each other should be allowed to marry, be they from different backgrounds, different races, different religions, or the same sex. Most arguments against that proposal are "religious" in nature, and therefore not grounds for legal opposition. The argument that marriage is about procreation is also worthless, since many people who are unable to have children are allowed to get married...people who get married later in life, or a couple where one or both of the people are infertile...as are people who chose not to have children.
I believe that if you hate in the name of religion, then you're doing it wrong.
I believe that your right to swing your fist ends just short of my nose.
I believe in Americans' rights to own guns...but I also believe that if you have to wave your gun in other people's faces to feel secure, then you are really insecure...and probably dangerously so.
I believe that alcohol and nicotine are drugs. As such, they shouldn't be any more legal than any other drug.
I believe that marijuana should be legal to grow and consume responsibly.
Until logic or experience convince me otherwise, I will continue to believe these things.
I believe you have the right to disagree with me, but I'll probably believe you're wrong if you do.
I believe that's enough for now. Have a good day.
"Two things that can be hard to find are courage and peace of mind
Well they ain't in a bottle and they ain't in the barrel of a gun..."