To Believe or Not to Believe
By Rahasya Poe
We’ve all heard it: “Well, you gotta believe in something.” But do we have to believe in something, as if anything will do? When I read the quote by Voltaire, “If they can make you believe in absurdities, they can make you commit atrocities,” I set out to see why this appears to be true. It’s been three years now and I think you will be surprised at what I have found out.
I think most of us can agree on the fact that evolution does exist, even though the theory is missing a “link,” so to speak. That being the case, it means that we are evolving on all levels of our being. So doesn’t it stand to reason that we may be reaching a level of awareness where we no longer need to “pretend we know things that are, for the most part, unknowable,” which is what we traditionally call our beliefs? In other words, life is a mystery and while we are on this journey of discovery we may need to get comfortable with saying, “I don’t know.”
Then I hear it said that “believing doesn’t hurt anyone,” as if there are no consequences in maintaining some of our beliefs, some of which date back to the Iron Age. But there are consequences, both social and even neurological. The social consequences are obvious to most of us. We are holding onto ancient beliefs as we enter into a technically advanced civilization. We need to keep in mind that the destruction that traditionally was caused by millions of people can now be initiated by one person with a suitcase bomb. This isn’t meant to scare you but it’s important to keep in mind that, without the aid of technology, humans have killed more than 160 million other humans in warfare based on religious beliefs, ideologies, and nationalism. As we speak, there are just under 20 religious conflicts going on, according to Amnesty International.
But let’s look at some hard evidence in regard to the neurological consequences of maintaining beliefs that lack evidence and in most cases, common sense. When I spoke to Dr. Bruce Lipton on this subject he brought up the saying in biology, “If they [neurons] fire together, they wire together.” By definition, he said, this also means if they don’t fire together they don’t wire together, which is what happens once a belief is accepted as an unquestionable truth. This causes the brain to actually shrink in size and to atrophy. Dr Andrew Newberg went on to tell me that the anger and rage caused by religious belief systems cause “damage to the brain.”
In the past few months neuroscientists using fMRI technology have found that whenever you have a belief that your brain cannot fit into any logical framework, it places it in a part of your brain that deals with emotions. This becomes dangerous and can be evidenced daily as our world religions and nationalistic beliefs are played out on the world stage with enough emotional zeal to cause people to freely take innocent lives. This is why when believers are asked, “What makes you think your belief is true?” they will say, “I just feel it.” Of course they do-it’s embedded into the emotional area of their brain, but feeling it emotionally doesn’t make it so.
Keep in mind that I am not even touching on the idea of whether or not a belief is true or false. What I am referring to here is the divisive nature of beliefs and their effect on our world, our culture, and our actual neurophysiology. Because they are not born of reason or logic they are closed to discussion and the opportunity to test their validity.
Maybe it’s simply time to take the next evolutionary step in spiritual consciousness and come to grips with the fact that we are just ankle deep as we enter the ocean of life with all its vast mysteries.
For more on this subject look for my book coming out later this year, called To Believe or Not to Believe: The Social and Neurological Consequences of Belief Systems. www.RahasyaPoe.com
“A fascinating and challenging book that encourages us to dare to doubt, because it is the questioning that makes us conscious. Understanding how our beliefs shape and limit our experience of life is absolutely essential right now, because we need to change the way we think if we are to solve the myriad personal and social problems we face today. This perceptive book points the way forward.”
Timothy Freke, author of The Laughing Jesus, Lucid Living, and How Long Is Now?