Integrative Activism

is the business crafted to “Save the World”


Don’t Believe

April 18, 2024

Don’t believe anything. I know it may seem like an audacious injunction and it may offend a lot of people, but I’ve come to understand the profoundly pervasive and pernicious effects of belief in our cultures so I feel compelled to share these insights. 

Lots of people think that beliefs are sacred. How many times have you heard someone say that they respect other people’s beliefs? Perhaps you’ve said that yourself. You might want to think about that more thoroughly. Do you really respect the beliefs of the suicide-bombers (murderers) or other mass murderers or serial child molesters (rapists) or other psychopaths? I don’t think so, not if you are reasonable and honest. Look, we can have thoughts and beliefs about sacred stuff, but beliefs alone are not sacred.

Belief is the enchantment that renders the believer immune to reason and closed to factual evidence especially when tied to a sense of identity. It’s the magical thinking that makes demagogues appealing to authoritarians and the it is the delusional force infecting the religious right to mistake blasphemers, heretics and hypocrites for saviors.

Look at it this way; it’s not necessary to believe in numbers to count or utilize math, we just need to understand what numbers represent and how math functions. We don’t need to believe in alphabets or grammar to utilize language, we just need to understand. 

There are plenty of other words we can substitute for belief; certainty, confidence, conviction, opinion, judgment, sentiment, viewpoint…

I did claim belief to be pervasive. That’s because religious leaders have been indoctrinating people to believe doctrines for thousands of years and in modern times we have no shortage of magical thinking marketing such as the power of positive thinking. We have so much fun fooling our children into believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. 

Recently I received a delivery from Home Depot. Printed boldly and biggly on the box was their new advertising campaign, “BELIEVE What You Get”. Wtf?, I thought. I’m telling you, it’s ridiculous and pernicious. Hell, defenders of Trump, his Big Lie and the attempted insurrection tried for months to make a legal defense by insisting that Trump and his misguided minions really believed the election was stolen. Thank God (oops) the courts didn’t buy that!

Enough of this nonsense!

I don’t think anyone is immune to falling into belief traps. I’m a staunch apistevist and yet I still notice myself making affirmations quite frequently. “May it be so” is my favorite. I know I’m being stupidstitious which I caution against because being superstitious can bring bad luck. To be honest, I even pray even though I don’t really believe in God or gods. It’s been said that there are no atheists in foxholes. I understand that because I’m getting old and I haven’t led a very wholesome lifestyle for about all of my adult life. I even have a stent that saved me from a widow-maker heart attack. 

Maybe magical thinking and wishful thinking are subtly different than belief, but I’ll leave that for another time.

Back 20 or 30 years ago there was a lot of new-age attention given to synchronicity. These days the social scientists refer to this phenomena as frequency bias. Ya know, you suddenly become aware of something that you hadn’t noticed before and then you perceive it repeatedly in a short amount of time. 

I’m hoping that you dear reader will experience synchronicity or frequency bias regarding belief after reading this and become more aware of how often so many people use belief as an excuse for all kind of absurd things. 

Lastly, I’d like to make a point about belief regarding religion and spirituality because I’m one of those spiritual but not religious people and I strongly suspect that humanity and the biosphere would greatly benefit if we could all become more spiritual and less religious. Spirituality doesn’t require beliefs like religions do. Spirituality doesn’t rely on doctrine like religion does. I’ll write more in depth about that later though. 

Believe it if you want to…better yet, try to understand…anything and everything…