Belief by Disbelief

Don’t deceive yourself and others by developing personal beliefs rooted in your disbelief in something else.

Todd Beal

Residing within each one of us is the intrinsic need to believe in something that is larger than we are; it gives us purpose and a sense of belonging with other like-minded individuals. Without belief we become disillusioned and lose hope. We wander aimlessly through life without direction, without goals, and with no fire in our belly; it robs us of the passion we need to engage life.

Ironically, you and I may each believe in completely opposite ideals, and yet passionately proclaim those ideals as truth, defending them at all cost. We shape our whole lives around these opposing beliefs: we find direction and develop goals; we seek out like minded individuals to share camaraderie and gather new information; we organize with our comrades into larger and larger groups, and draw up manifestos and articles of conduct. But there is something missing from this scenario: you and I together proclaim a contradiction because your beliefs and mine oppose each other, and if one of us is right then the other believes something that is untrue. For the sake of argument, let’s say that you are right and I am wrong, but strangely, my beliefs are based on my disbelief in your ideals. What does this mean? It means that even if your ideals were wrong, if they were to ever go away, I would no longer have anything to believe in because my belief is my disbelief in your ideals. My whole system of belief depends entirely upon the nonexistence of what you believe. Whether you are right or wrong, the ideals in which I believe are based entirely upon something I believe does not exist. They are based upon nothing – I believe in something that is not real. Your ideals, on the other hand, are true and don’t need my belief or disbelief to exist. They are rooted in truth which can never go away because it existed before it created us.

Whatever we do in this life, we must base it upon something that is real, something that never goes away, something that is true and lasting, eternal, and in which no contradiction exists or can. Nothing other than Truth deserves our trust.

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About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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6 Responses to Belief by Disbelief

  1. A great truth and very well-put.

    Just this past Sunday, a young man returned to our congregation from a full-time mission in Stockholm, Sweden. He began his address with the words, “I don’t believe in God.” After a stunned silence, he went on to explain that this was the most frequent response he got when introducing himself as an emissary of Jesus Christ. “I believe in myself” was the second most frequently-heard response.

    Atheism has become the state religion in much of Northern Europe. Still, this young missionary did see some miracles and conversions, mainly among people who suffered or who had been humbled in some way. The State can feed you, clothe you, provide you with health care, but it can’t protect you from all evil and illness. When people find themselves at the end of their rope, they almost always reach for the hand of God, even if they’ve convinced themselves they don’t believe. As you say, there is something in our nature that wants to believe. It takes hard work to “kick against the pricks” and divest ourselves of our innate sense of the divine. I guess that’s why some atheists are so vocal and active in their opposition to religion — they battled to “free” themselves from truth, and will be continually irritated as long as one other person still believes in God. It becomes their religion, and if they were ever completely successful in eradicating belief in the divine, whatever “society” remained would soon collapse. As you make clear in your thought, the absence of beliefs to fight against would render their existence meaningless. A belief solely in “myself” eliminates the need for morality, ethics, law, or any concern for other human beings. All communist/atheist utopia experiments have failed and will fail. The only hope I see is in a Christian/Zion/Family-based society where self is put aside and people put the welfare of others continually ahead of their own on a voluntary basis.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Once again, “right on the head”. Your comment is the practical explanation of how this concept manifests within reality. And of course, the construction of belief by anti-belief is prevalent in all forms of human thought, not just religion. To one degree or another, the contrarian nature exists within each one of us. It is easier to attack some other theory, ideal, or belief, than to find our own through truth.

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  2. That’s a great point. It’s obvious in the psychological realm that we battle even ourselves. My mom would always respond to our childish negativity with “whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you’re right.” I learned most clearly from the works of James Allen that my inner reality manifests itself in my outer circumstances. I still catch myself from time to time muttering “I can’t do this” when I am trying to do something difficult. Why would I utter such a self-fulfilling prophecy? Does pessimism really protect me from disappointment, or even soften the blow when things don’t turn out the way I want? All I succeed at with such thoughts is to condition myself to receive the opposite of what I want. Much has been made of the “Law of Attraction”, and I take popular self-improvement with a grain of salt, especially when it’s stripped of God and prayer. I haven’t made the effort to understand quantum physics, but as one who has experimented with both habitual negativity and habitual positivity, my gut tells me that a sunny outlook will always serve me best. Still I fall into negativity all the time.

    God often asks us to keep laws that don’t seem to make sense in the physical world. Take the Law of Tithing, which can be paraphrased as “give up ten percent of your earnings and you will be prospered.” The math doesn’t add up, says the world. Yet it has worked exactly as promised in my life — once I started offering a full tithe, not only the financial but EVERY aspect of my life turned around from where it was, as the windows of heaven truly opened for me. At this point I could be down to my last dime and I’d tithe it before buying a piece of bread. That’s no longer a lesson I need to be taught, but it took faith to learn it.

    Sorry Todd– you really get me thinking, and sometimes I’m not even sure if I’m still on the same topic! ;}

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    • Todd Beal says:

      | I learned most clearly from the works of James Allen that my inner reality manifests itself in my outer circumstances. |

      Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Your statement here revisits the essence of a previous Truth Behind Reality post, Be Authentic. No façade can stand the test of time; life eventually reveals what we truly are.

      | I still catch myself from time to time muttering “I can’t do this” when I am trying to do something difficult. |

      One of my father’s favorite sayings is “When there’s a will, there’s a way.” The human will is a powerful tool. If I will myself to fail, I will fail. If I will myself to succeed, I may not succeed in the way I naturally envision success, but nonetheless I will succeed. Your statement here is the real-world example of what the Truth Behind Reality post A Man’s Power of Will lays out conceptually. This article focuses on men because they naturally identify with willpower, but it easily applies to all people (men and women).

      | as one who has experimented with both habitual negativity and habitual positivity, my gut tells me that a sunny outlook will always serve me best. |

      Pessimism does open our mind, but only to defeatist and destructive thoughts. The pessimist says, “Eliminating all this negative will leave only positive in its place”; not true, eliminating negative cannot bring positive. Optimism opens our mind, but only to positive and uplifting thoughts. The optimist says, “By implementing this great ideal, this grand fix, negative will disappear, leaving only positive in the place of negative”; not true, implementing increasingly more positive cannot eliminate negative. On the other hand, the realism-based mindset, as powered by truth, gives the ability to shoot for the ideal yet plan for reality. Like you, I also tend to naturally swing between pessimism and optimism (more so, optimism). However, I find that excessively immersing myself into either one removes my focus from reality.

      Pessimism, the avoidance of optimism, doesn’t work because it addresses only the negative. The pessimistic mindset exists for one purpose, to find flaws whether they exist or not, while ignoring the positive. This is avoidance of reality. Full-blown optimism, the avoidance of pessimism, blinds me to anything that could rob me of my optimism. This also does not work because it addresses only the positive.  By default, this mindset invites disaster by willfully ignoring anything perceived as negative. When threatening situations do come, I must increase my optimism once again just to avoid addressing the negative. This too is avoidance of reality.

      Either mindset serves to oppose the other and consequently falls quite shy of addressing truth.  Put simply, both mindsets are biased in their attempt to navigate reality, thus establishing a narrow-minded worldview.  Neither pessimism nor optimism alone can ever directly match reality much less positively change it.

      If instead I open myself to what truly is the case (positive and negative, regardless of the situation), I will see not just the negative for what it is but the positive also, thus allowing me to understand what would change reality for the better. After several years of working on this concept, it finally hit home in 2009. I am an idealist at heart – naturally seeing what would make the world a better place – but it was only after realizing that I cannot change the negative without first openly addressing it (this is not to say, wallowing in it), that I realized ideals alone cannot change anything (as neither can pessimism). To change anything for the better we must honestly address both the negative and positive, then construct and implement a workable plan for improvement, taking all factors into account (positive and negative) with truth as our guide every step of the way.

      | Take the Law of Tithing, which can be paraphrased as “give up ten percent of your earnings and you will be prospered.” The math doesn’t add up, says the world. Yet it has worked exactly as promised in my life — once I started offering a full tithe, not only the financial but EVERY aspect of my life turned around from where it was, as the windows of heaven truly opened for me. |

      I currently wrestle with this issue. Truth also tells me what your personal testimony says, but my humanness continually pulls me in the opposite direction. I despise this contradiction within me. I need to deprive it of a home and kick it out on the street to where it belongs. Thanks for sharing your success in obeying this command.

      Thank you very much for this comment, Michael. It contains a whole lot of substance.

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  3. The idea that we need god to believe in something bigger than ourselves is ridiculous. ………….It is one of the big things that always gets me with religion the arrogance in thinking that something or someone greater than oneself HAS to be a God…There are plenty of people who are just all-round better than me – that doesnt make them gods……..Posted by …Bruce Gorton …

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