On Belief

So, I have sort of addressed this topic before, but there is enough of a variance that I am comfortable making this post. Especially since this is not directly dealing with religion and faith; at least not in the popular opinion of what these concepts are and mean.

After conversing with a few friends, I realized something: I have particular beliefs about the supernatural. Bear with me for a moment. I basically question every form of organized religion, spirituality, and thought. Seriously. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Wicca, Buddhism, and practically every other form of a faith with history seems questionable to me. As in, I will do research and question the validity, function, and purpose of said dogma. If someone tries to sell me on sage or the “Secret” or some other new age bullshit, I will laugh and possibly turn violent.

However, for all my skepticism, if an old Hispanic woman were to go up to me and tell me que alguien me puso el ojo, I would follow her to her curanderia so she could ward off any evil she saw. No joke. I may have actually done that before. Okay, I have done that before. Repeatedly. Same thing for Indigenous/Native people. I don’t know if my own background/ethnicity influences that decision, but I genuinely believe that certain myths, stories, and practices/rituals of these people have actual power behind them.

The rational, scientific, inquisitive part of my brain knows that there really should not be any difference between the practices of Native/Indigenous people and modern new age beliefs (other than age, culture, and history). So why does one make me believe and the other scoff at perceived absurdity?

I have no answer to this. I am legitimately asking the Internet void what you all think. Are there any particular things you adhere to or believe in? Any you find odd, silly, or just a variant of superstition? If so, why do you think that might be?

5 thoughts on “On Belief

  1. I’m kind of the same but opposite. I love to explore new age philosophy but when it comes to superstition, I’m all: “I reject your reality and replace it with my own.” You know, except for when I don’t.

  2. Appeal to ancient. Basically, these things seem more real and appealing because they’re ancient.

    Old cultures and traditions are now viewed as exotic and possessing hidden wisdom that we lost because of the White Man. You’re also exposed to a lot less criticism of these beliefs. New Age and major religions are everywhere, so it’s easy to find counterarguements. Native American beliefs are less common, so criticism of it will also be less common.

  3. I’m glad you finally dropped the comment button to the bottom of your posts.

    Pure rationality is the snake that devours itself. Rational inquiry can answer a whole lot of questions, but it certainly can’t reach an answer to the question: “why should we be rational?” Irrational beliefs aren’t some evil opposite of rational beliefs, they are simply different. I’ve preferred to think of irrational beliefs as the stuff we fill in the gaps that rationality/consciousness leaves us wanting. In many cases, the gaps are bigger than the other substance.

    I think there’s merit to Brain in the Jar’s pointing out that the more ancient a belief is the more exotic it is. Studies have found that deep prayer has a calming, stress reducing effect on people. That’s the sort of pure-rational, White Man invasion of the sacred I can’t stand. Both parts of the brain can and do coexist. Let them.

    • Yeah, there does seem to be a prescribed divide between the supernatural/spiritual and rational. Both seem necessary to have a full understanding.

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