Tag: Belief

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Welcome to Tales of the Poet

Welcome to Tales of the Poet

Some of us were destined to be sages. We can discuss possibilities and plausibilities until the end of time. The rest of us will find it easiest to just try the shoe on so we can see if it fits.

Tales of the Poet


Hi, this is Matt from 2018! In school, I was told that writing should follow a specific structure. Introduction: Tell them what you are going to say, Body: tell them what you are saying, Conclusion: repeat your main points. I don’t always follow that template around here, but I probably should have at the beginning. It seems like my writing never really got past the introduction part. I guess I was just stalling until I knew what I really wanted to say. I’m glad that you’re here. I can’t promise that there is much wisdom in these legacy posts (but then again, who’s saying there’s any in my later content?). I put this here as a reminder to myself of where I started from. Feel free to keep reading, just know that I don’t (as of now) plan on finishing these series.

I have always loved music. I am also learning to love knowledge and wisdom. But something funny is happening as my love of knowledge grows. As I read the thoughts and expressions of great minds, I am coming to realize that I need the expressions of simple folk if I want any balance in life. There are rogue philosophers all over the place – arrogant men who fight heavy battles for truth like knights trying to rescuing a damsel from distress. I almost became one of those men when I started this journey. But something funny happened. Every time I learned a great truth and began to feel superior, I would read an old book or hear a familiar song and realize that I only had learned to articulate what I already knew.

This is why the Tales of the Poet excites me. I’m not just here to present large, unwieldy arguments. Sure, I am writing Tales of the Sage for balance. But it’s just that. Balance. Many of us will benefit more from looking closely at what we believe than we will by setting out to find absolute truth. Some of us were destined to be sages. We can discuss possibilities and plausibilities until the end of time. The rest of us will find it easiest to just try the shoe on so we can see if it fits.

They key to an open mind

Again, I’m not claiming to be a relativist. Two opposing truth claims cannot both be true. Either one is true and one is false or both are false. There is no middle ground. But it shouldn’t stop us from using relativism as a tool in order to find what we are looking for. If the shoe fits, it may very well be because it was designed to fit. If it wasn’t, then we will have to ask the question: is there a benefit to living as if this were true? This is the way our culture thinks already. I’m just writing it down. Once we find that relativism itself no longer fits, we will leave it behind as well.

All of this to say, I want to have an open mind. If I believe the truth, and the truth I believe is leading me into the best and most satisfying life that I could possibly live, then what do I need to be afraid of? I know that you may not be able to approach these different belief systems with complete objectivity. But remember – these are beliefs, not people. Christians led the crusades. The Nazis tried murdered everyone who wasn’t a part of their evolutionary superior race. Muslim extremists committed terrible acts of terror against the West. Corrupting your beliefs and being corrupted by them are two very different things. If you link the belief system to the people who believe it, you will never be able to become objective. We can factor believers back in once we understand the belief itself.

Jump right in!

I still need to get the blog formatting linked in to this page (sorry for the mess 🙂 ). In the meantime, here is a list of topics I plan to cover. Please subscribe if you want to catch the latest updates as they happen. Thank you for being here in the beginning of all this.

  • Is anything true?
  • Am I important?
  • What is the point of living?
  • Why are some people so bad?
  • Am I a good person?
  • Why do bad people bother me so much? Where is justice?
  • How can I make the world a better place?
  • I’m rich but I still want more. Can I ever be satisfied?
  • What is religion? Do I need it?
  • Do I have to be known to be loved?
  • Will the world ever be a perfect place?
  • Why do fairy tales make me feel so happy if they aren’t real?
  • Why is death so scary and painful? Is there hope?
  • Why don’t the good times last?
  • Is there anything that I can do that will make me truly happy?
  • Conclusions: What I chose to believe (and why I chose to believe it)
  • Bridge to Tales of the Sage: What about objective truth?
Home ~ Belief
Tales of the Poet – Introduction to belief

Tales of the Poet – Introduction to belief

For this first post, I want to take a look at some of the major belief systems we will be encountering on this journey. Many religions and philosophies are similar in form, so we shouldn’t have to compare more than a handful of them in order to get a general understanding of how our beliefs affect us. I expect each post I share to draw the lines between beliefs a little differently. Sometimes, the lines are clearly religious. Sometimes, they’re philosophical. The three categories I chose below are broadly (and somewhat vaguely) religious. I have known Atheists in the first category. I know many Christians in all three. I’ll try to avoid using labels that cause a fuss. The goal is to see where we are and where fulfilment lies.

“We should follow the rules.”

I can’t begin to guess why you follow the rules. Maybe you’re trying to get into Heaven. Perhaps you’re trying to transcend the illusion of pain and mortality that we call life on Earth. Or you’re trying to improve your karma. Maybe you just think that the world would be a better place if everyone followed the rules. Every society, religion, and government has its own set of rules and list of reasons for following them. Despite these differences, we all can agree on a few things. Rules are important. They make the world a better place. We feel good about ourselves when we do the right thing. The rules separate us from animals. People who don’t follow the rules tend to make a mess of things and hurt the people around them. It is not always easy to follow the rules, but it always pays off in the end.

“But the rules were meant to be broken.”

Life is too short to follow the rules. You are a radical free-thinker, or perhaps you are just taking a break from religion. Either way, you want more out of life than any stuffy monastery can give you. Life is meant to be lived. It doesn’t mean we should break important rules. Murder is obviously bad. But religion is too. After 2000 years of fighting over which rules we should follow, don’t you think it’s time we took a break? If we all set aside our differences, the world would be a much better place.

In other news, you’ve either found your it, or you are actively looking for it. Community service, a good career, a great sex life. Whatever it is, it brings more meaning and fullness to your life than religion ever will. When will the rule-followers realize that happiness comes from the little things in life? The rules are not important. It is.

“Actually, it’s all about a relationship.”

Since the beginning, man has seen the problems with the world and felt a need to repair it, escape it, or transcend it. Every religion that we have ever encountered had demanded that we work hard in order to improve our lot in life (or transcend this world, earn our salvation, etc.). The only exception to this rule is Gospel Christianity. The Christian God provided a solution on His own. No strings attached, if you want to know God and be His friend (forever), you can. If you just want the stuff that He gives you, He’ll respect that, too (even though it will never satisfy you). When you die, you can either be in community with Him and His people forever, or you will be left by yourself forever. Your choice. The rules themselves are a result of the relationship, but they don’t have meaning on their own.

A note on religion

I know that the “religious” category was quite concise. For the sake of the introduction, I don’t mind making it one category. However, some questions will require me to draw different lines than I did here. For example, if you want to ask what the purpose of pain is, then you will have to divide it into western religions and eastern religions. Western religion focuses more on the world itself. It is real and needs to be fixed. Eastern religion teaches that the world is an illusion and needs to be transcended. The differing approaches to pain require us to chose a different dividing line. I know that unique belief systems may be glossed over from time to time. If you want to hear my thoughts on a specific philosophy, let me know in the comments.

Where to go from here:

This was the final introduction before we get into the thick of things. I promise. From here on out, I want to focus on specific application questions. How would my day-to-day life change if I really believed X? Would I become cheerful? Depressed? Generous? Resentful? Life’s greatest questions have all been answered 100 times over. Let’s see which answers are worth their salt. Thank you for joining me on this adventure. I’m trying to get a post out every week or two.