Trust30 prompts: One Strong Belief by Buster Benson

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

I don’t know another agnostic as committed to their beliefs – or lack thereof, if you prefer – as me. Admittedly, I haven’t looked amazingly hard, and I may be doing a dis-service to some dear friends here simply because we’ve never had the conversation where I could find this out, but that’s how it seems to me.

Of course, as an agnostic, I feel that I must scrutinise that belief sceptically. Most of my lived experience of it is internal, because when I have tried to explain my agnosticism to people, it’s been very difficult. The necessity of explaining my assumptions and establishing a vocabulary that will allow accurate communication is usually too time-consuming for people to accept. They tend to get hung up on specific instances, such as the fact that I don’t actually believe that the sun will rise tomorrow morning (this is because, a) ‘rise’ is a visual illusion; and b) it might not happen, however overwhelming the likelihood of it). (I also think that atheists are insufficiently rigourous in their “science” – absence of proof is not a sufficient evidence for disproof.)

So I haven’t done much until fairly recently to support that belief. This is changing, as I slowly work out my actual positions on things, and talk about them here on this blog (in the Militant Agnostic section). Other than that, I’m probably largely indistinguishable from atheists – I tend to support the same political causes they do, such as the current Victorian state political issues regarding compulsory religious education in state-run private schools.

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