Contradictory Beliefs

Much has been made (often by atheists) about the necessarily contradictory beliefs that theists must hold. It may be that the “iron of Calvinism” Catholicism is wrapped ’round my bones, but I still manage to hold intensely contradictory beliefs. I am absolutely an atheist, but it comforts me to believe in the Divine, and so I do. I know I’m wrong, but I believe I’m right. I don’t know if that’s helpful at all, but I ran across this quote recently and I can pretty much get behind every statement in it.

I can believe that things are true and I can believe things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen—I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women. I believe that the future sucks and I believe that future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone’s ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind’s destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it’s aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there’s a cat in a box somewhere who’s alive and dead at the same time (although if they don’t ever open the box to feed it it’ll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn’t even know that I’m alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of casual chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn’t done it properly. I believe that anyone claims to know what’s going on will lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, a baby’s right to live, that while all human life is sacred there’s nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.

– Samantha Black Crow in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods
helpfully transcribed by FantasyMaps.com
linked to by the Wild Hunt

What are your contradictory beliefs?

One Comment

  1. I put money in a 401k, yet think it highly unlikely that civilization will be stable enough for me to withdraw it in 30+ years. I think exposure in Roman times was moral, and most abortions in America immoral, except when I believe the opposite. I give a sermon against technology, then go and put it on my webpage. I don’t believe in God, yet happily sing Amazing Grace and El Shaddai. I believe men and women are equal, and women and children should be the first off of sinking ships. I say too much and too little. I say things online I wouldn’t say to the person next to me on the bus. I’ve been wrong too many times to count, but d___it, I’m right this time.

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