THE BASIS OF BELIEF — Faith vs Evidence

What is the basis of your beliefs?  We all have them.  Whether we are true believers in a particular religion or devout skeptics, there is some metaphysical underlying principle we all adhere to.  We may not necessarily be aware of what that basis is.

We may be followers of the four "R's" I wrote about in my book.  The first is Reception–what we receive from from our upbringing, family, our heritage, tradition.  The second is Reason— what our logical minds bring to the table of our experience.  The third is Revelation–those special moments of clarity which are few and far between.  Many of us may never even have this experience.  And fourth is Resonance –I use that term term as a summation of the others–what "feels" right and true to us.

The four "R's" can be summarized as the struggle between faith and evidence.  We ultimately do rest our beliefs on some degree of faith, even the most ardent skeptics often rely on the truth's of science for the basis of their beliefs.  But even when evidence and reason are addressed we need to be cognizant of the truth that the search for ultimate truth may lead us down false alleyways and mazes.

We need to be flexible and resilient enough to continuously question where what we believe and alter our beliefs accordingly.

The famous Buddhist Kalama Sutra embodies this approach.  In my book I referred to it as the Metaphysician's Motto.  In this translation it appears.

Do not believe what you have heard.

Do not believe in tradition because it is handed down many generations. 

 Do not believe in anything that has been spoken of many times. 

 Do not believe because the written statements come from some old sage. 

 Do not believe in conjecture. 

Do not believe in the authority of teachers or elders. 

But after careful observation and analysis, when it agrees with reason and it will benefit one and all, than accept it and live by it.

Key to this perspective is the last line.  It is practical and wise–all metpahysical beliefs should provide relief from suffering to all beings–not just a member of a tribe, religion, country.  This would immediately cause the rejection of any fundamentalist, racist, genocidal belief which causes any harm to any living being.  

The Nazis were atheists yet their belief system led them to destroy human life.  Jihadists are religious, yet their belief system leads them to do the same in the name of another plane of existence.  The source of the belief becomes irrelevant.  The ends do not justify the means.

Look for the evidnece for your beliefs but understand that the philosophy you embrace must lead to peace and serenity for all beings–in the world we inhabit, in the present moment.

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