Sometimes I have a hard time differentiating what I believe and what I think. This is probably just a matter of semantics. One thing I have learned is that almost nobody gives much of a damn what I think. Why should they, especially with my track-record? Occasionally someone does concern themself with what I believe. I’ll try and clear that up, should you be curious.
Today, first and foremost, I believe that psychoactive chemicals are bad for me. I believe they always will be, and probably always were. I believe that if I ingest any such chemicals, there’s no real telling what will happen, other than I’ll ingest more chemicals until I wreck a car, get my ass whipped, or go to jail. Passing out and overdosing are also possibilities. I also tend to believe that the only protection I have from my addiction comes from a Higher Power. It’s not an original idea but one expressed in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. It has proven true in my life.
Second, I believe that I tend to live in a state of low physical energy and negative emotional energy. This affects all aspects of my life, including my substance abuse. Like my substance abuse, it doesn’t seem to be something I can control through an exercise of my will. I believe I’m largely at the mercy of my brain’s chemistry. I believe we all are. The neurons, neurotransmitters, and electrical goings on make up our mind, both conscious and unconscious. While I tend to think there’s a certain amount of freewill, I believe that who and what we are is largely beyond our control. We are what our brains allow us to be.
I was brought up in a hellfire and brimstone Southern Baptist Church. My indoctrination into that belief system will be with me always to one degree or another. I was taught that there’s a heaven and hell, a God the Father and a devil, and that the only way to avoid one and get to the other is to believe in God’s only begotten son, Jesus, and to trust in him to save me from my sins. I think that the vast majority of that is patently absurd, distasteful, harmful to me emotionally, ignorant, etc. Nevertheless, I’ll always be somewhat susceptible to that message. I think the quickest way to get someone to question their fundamentalist beliefs, if they have any sense at all, is to encourage them to read the Bible. (I’m not certain that freeing someone from their fundamentalist shackles is actually doing them a favor.) How they, the fundamentalist, got to where they are today based on the Bible is unfathomable. I think a quick reading of the four gospels, just the words in red, will confirm to anyone concerned that the evangelicals have veered way off course. Still, when the chips are down, a part of me will always believe their version of Christianity. (I also believe that that belief system serves a practical purpose. Were it not for the Baptist churches and others of that ilk, we’d have to build a lot more prisons to house the rudderless simpletons loosed on the populace.)
I tend to believe in the Big Bang and evolution. There’s no reason I can think of that precludes God from having used physics and biology to accomplish his works. That said, my lack of scientific training means that I actually believe these things, inasmuch as I’m probably largely incapable of grasping much of the minutia of science and math. It’s a brain thing, or lack of brains thing if you will. To me, on an intellectual level, our descending from apes or primitive proto-humans is no more far fetched than the virgin birth, the great flood, or my favorite, the imminent rapture of the faithful. (As far as I know, the term rapture doesn’t doesn’t appear in any sacred text. How the bible-thumpers latched onto that notion is beyond me.) I tend to believe I’m somewhat intellectual. Evidence indicates, and therefore I think, I’m actually an ignoramus.
I want to believe in some benevolent Higher Power. I believe there’s some evidence of it. I like believing I’ll see my friends and family in the next life. When I’m depressed, though, it’s very hard to believe in God. In these times I tend to think that if there is a god, that he hates me, and not necessarily for anything I’ve done, but that I’ve been predestined to be a loser, perhaps as an example for the good people to point at and say “there’s how not to do it”.