Skeptics walk a rough road in this world. If you are one, you know what I’m referring to, and if you are a ready believer in much of what you see and hear around you, then you simply can’t understand the skeptic’s perspective.
To a skeptic, the fact that you, a believer, are so willing to “believe” everything you encounter, is an anathema to the skeptic’s view of life.
So which am I, skeptic or believer?
Not sure but I think I’m a bit of both because I can see genuine value in skepticism and yet I know that being distrustful of everything or forcing everyone to prove as verifiable truth what they are vehemently claiming to be such, is ludicrous in itself.
Take the concept of GOD for example. Prove to me GOD exists or prove to me S/He doesn’t. Prove to me GOD is even a She or a He, or both/neither.
There is evidence that something far greater than ourselves does exist—this I do believe—I am actually very spiritual and feel directly connected into that indescribable SOMETHING; and yet the likelihood that this SOMETHING is anthropomorphically or even anatomically similar to people in general is a bit of a stretch to me. So I have problems believing much of organized religion’s verbatim descriptions of a chief deity with human characteristics or failings. That’s just a bridge too far.
However I am more likely to believe that people, historically ancient and even present day people, try to relate to the great mysteries of their lives in ways that make those mysteries more palatable or bite-sized for human comprehension because it is a natural way to better psychologically deal with emotional and physical hardships in general—a way to maintain a sense of hope for something better in the future if the present situation is pretty awful to endure.
I think that many people are natural “believers” because during the course of our lives we sometimes tell ourselves what we most want to hear just to make it through a painful situation. Sometimes we even believe what we most want to believe because not doing so is tightrope walking across the Grand Canyon of infinity without a safety net; …and who, other than a Wallenda, wants to do that?
So I do recognize that the older the civilization, the more ingrained the belief, especially if people feel that believing such has helped them to survive to their present state of being. I can easily understand that aspect of religious teaching acceptance by many.
Perhaps the church’s authority in people’s lives during their early childhood development in the last century instilled that sense of bowing to the head of a religious organization who told you how you could and could not live your lives.
But a few decades ago as horrifying as public exposure became of the wide-spread Catholic Priesthood child sex-abuse crimes, it did do one important thing: It shook a lot of natural believers away from giving people of authority total control over their lives, and also helped them to more skeptically view ANY high-ranking official of ANY organization, religious or secular, as all too humanly fractured to be the perfect vessel for any higher spiritual function.
Then again, you don’t need to be affiliated with religions to be a “believer” in something or someone, especially a someone who tells you exactly what you want to hear about the subject or about yourself, as it relates to the subject—like a politician.
I think political skepticism is very healthy and truly necessary in today’s world. Perhaps it always was necessary, but we just weren’t as aware of such widespread lying and intentional deception in earlier times because we were more naturally trusting of authority figures.
So there is value in skepticism—in not blindly trusting what we are being shown or told.
Skepticism helps us view our lives with more objectivity so we can see more than what we want to see, and to hear something closer to the truth than what we would actually prefer to hear.
A skeptic’s view of life may not be the fantasy that we want to believe in, but it helps to keep things more REAL—and that is the world in which we actually have to live.