This was a writing prompt . . .
What I Believe.
That’s a bit broad. Are we talking religion? General life principles? Hmm.
Let’s start with the fact that I don’t believe life on this planet is some kind of cosmic accident in which the right forms of matter combined to create, well, everything.
There’s a great old story about Maimonides having a debate with another scholar or a student regarding evolution. Maimonides says that there must be a G-d; the other person disagrees. Then the scholar excuses himself for a moment (presumably to relieve himself, or maybe because he wants to go speak to someone across the way), and when he comes back, Maimonides shows him a beautiful poem written on a piece of paper. “Where did this come from?” the scholar asks, and Maimonides tells him, “I spilled some ink and this poem appeared.” When the scholar scoffs and says that’s impossible, Maimonides tells him, “And yet you expect me to believe the same of all life on Earth!”
So yes, I believe there is a G-d or Creator of some kind. And I’ve seen evidence in my life that He (or She, but let’s face it, most people go with the male pronoun as a default) takes an interest in things. I’ve seen angels and I’ve seen spirits, and I’ve probably taken these things for granted most of my life. I gave up trying to convince people of any of it a long time ago, though I get irritated when I feel like I’m being humored.
I have Catholic and [non-denominational] Christian roots and I’m married to a Jew, so if we’re talking religion, I take a wide view. I refuse to pin myself down to any one thing here because I feel like faith is something that one renews daily, something one works and reworks. The day you believe you have all the answers is the day you stop growing and learning.
I believe that history and science should inform religion and not the other way around. I believe these things can all co-exist in harmony so long as everyone remains open-minded. Once the blinders go on, everyone loses.
I believe meditation is a wonderful way to center oneself. I define “meditation” as anything that works for you: prayer, yoga, reciting a poem or the rosary. I believe thinking for oneself is a form of self-empowerment, and that one should never be made to feel like they have to apologize for that.
I believe in the powers of kindness and music, among other things. I believe in being open to new experiences, and that to say “never” is to tell a lie, except when saying you never know.
I believe “love” is a generic term, a placeholder, and the sloppy man’s catch-all, fit only for rhymes and song lyrics. Don’t tell me you “love” me; tell me how you feel.
And I believe in being prudent but also living for today and now because no one is guaranteed a tomorrow.