Every year, around this time, I’m always amazed by the number of people I meet who are coughing and sneezing and hacking away. I say to them, "You didn’t get a flu shot–you can get one in the drug store for around $20 now," and they reply something like, "There are dangerous nanotubes inside vaccines," or "Flu shots GIVE you the flu." When I ask them where they heard that, they always reply, "I read it on the internet." And they believed it implicitly.

There used to be a song that said, "How do I know? The Bible tells me so!" That seems to have been replaced by "How do I know? The internet tells me so."

They didn’t ask their doctor–a professional who would KNOW–they believed some unknown rant on a site they happened to come across on their computer (or was sent to them by another True Believer).

I’ve never been a fan of belief–of any kind. I don’t think it’s a virtue. When we lived in Texas, folks would sometimes soldier up to me–CERTAIN that they’d found a heretic–and ask me if I believed in the Bible. I eventually found a reply that worked. I would say, "I’m a Christian, but I’m not interested in "belief."

The very concept of nonbelief puzzled them so much that they would shrug their shoulders and go away.

Belief seems to cause all the trouble in the world, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think it’s a good thing when it comes to religion, because it leads directly to the concept of "my religion is good and yours is bad," which leads to religious wars of the type that are going on between Sunnis and Shias in the Middle East right now–and these people are supposedly part of the same religion!

Belief cancels out contemplation and questioning, and to me, these are basic parts of walking the spiritual path. ANYONE can believe–it’s easy (too easy)–the HARD part is to keep one’s mind open and observe and try to figure out the right way to live. And to have the courage to change the way you think and live if you decide you’ve been doing it the right way.

True believers rarely change their minds, which accounts for the prejudice against blacks and gays, for instance, which still exists in pockets of the US today. In an election year, candidates and voters use euphemisms to excuse these nasty beliefs, but they cling to them nonetheless. If they didn’t believe in "belief," maybe they would think things through a little more clearly.

If preachers exhort you to believe, it’s because they want to keep you in their grip. They want to control you, and belief is one of the things that does this best. We live in a big, international world now, a place where there’s no longer any room for people who push their beliefs into our faces–whether they’re about race, chemtrails or religion. When we leave our old beliefs behind, we usually find something better–ideas that are less militant, less strident, more accepting of others.

Changing your mind is NOT a bad thing. Imagine if millions of Germans in the 1930s had changed their minds about Hitler–millions of Jews wouldn’t have died. Change equals growth, and growth is essential to the REAL spiritual journey.

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  1. You don’t get a cold or the
    You don’t get a cold or the flu if your immune system is up to par. Vitamin D is very helpful with this. I prefer that method to shots, which do have potential side-effects. To each her own, but I would never have a flu shot.

  2. Anne, this diary entry
    Anne, this diary entry immediately reminded me of the song “Faithless” by the band Rush. The lyrics are by Neil Peart.

    “I don’t have faith in faith
    I don’t believe in belief
    You can call me faithless
    I still cling to hope
    And I believe in love
    And that’s faith enough for me”

  3. Excellent entry Anne – I
    Excellent entry Anne – I totally agree with you !

  4. Excellent entry Anne – I
    Excellent entry Anne – I totally agree with you !

  5. It would seem many must
    It would seem many must believe because it takes some of the responsibility out of life, responsibility to question things.
    I feel the only real thing we have in this life is the ability to decide what the whole experience means, for each of us individually. Why would anyone want to give that away?
    For me, personally, I’m OK with not having all the aswers. Part of what makes life great is the mystery.

  6. I’ve always felt “judged” and
    I’ve always felt “judged” and “pigeon toed” into a corner in order to label me because I don’t accept everything out of blind faith. My parents are “born-again” Christians and after yet another religious conversation that wasn’t going much of anywhere my mother triumphantly pointed her finger to me and announced I was “New Age”. I could see the smugness seeping from her face, and I felt such sadness for her. All I was looking for was some spiritually uplifting conversation between a mother and daughter while all along she was looking for a way to prove to herself that I was headed to Hell with the rest of the heretics. It makes my heart cry inward what “religion” and “belief” has done to us as spiritual beings. She’s imprisoned, and can’t see it.

  7. I agree with much of what you
    I agree with much of what you say. It does seem to me though, that some folks seem to need their “thinking boxes”, lists of rules, and little litmus tests, for now. Perhaps one day they’ll grow past that. One thing we all need to get past is the need to impose our ideas on others (in intrusive ways, or by force of any kind: this does not mean being unwiilling to share or discuss in reasonable ways). There is where a lot of death (if not literally then “living death”) is being produced in the world…be it through religious, political, or perhaps even “scientific” ideology. It can manifest through war, mob activity, individual murders, or simply enforced ignorance that cheapens lives and robs them of joy in a million overt and insidious ways. It’s good to have a mind with room to maneuver and breathe. Even if one doesn’t choose that for himself, it behooves him at least to allow others to do so unmolested.

  8. “Belief Impedes Release”

    “Belief Impedes Release”

    BTW, Dreamland V was outta sight!

  9. As an infection control nurse
    As an infection control nurse I am all too familiar with people’s pre-conceived notions regarding the flu shot, and other aspects of medicine for that matter. Sometimes a person will tell me that they don’t want to receive a flu vaccine because they believe that it causes the flu. I can present them with the current literature, which clearly contradicts this; but 9 times out of 10 they refuse to consider this information. It is wonderful to have your own beliefs and not be swayed by the masses; however, it can be dangerous if you refuse to even consider other possibilities.

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