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One dark stormy night when visiting my Grandmother, she saw a ghost. She jumped out of bed and got a sharp object to put under her pillow to protect her from the ghost. In those days, everyone knew that sharp objects protected you from ghosts.

Some people know that ghosts are real and ghosts have become part of their beliefs or stories. The basic premise of this blog is that “All beliefs or stories are true, but some are not based on real world objects or events. We tend to see what we believe and what we see might not always be based on reality. This might explain why many people saw President Trump’s recent statements about the incident in Charlottesville, Virginia as reprehensible and others saw the statements as acceptable. 

How do we come to believe what we believe? From our genetic blueprint and our environment, through socialization we develop our thinking, feeling, and behaving characteristics. We experience life based on these. We act consciously and unconsciously based on these characteristics.

Individuals enter the world with few or no beliefs and stories firmly established. At birth, they do not believe in Jesus or Allah; they do not believe that they are superior or inferior; nor do they believe that there is an Easter Bunny. Yet, though socialization or acculturation they may be made to believe any of these.  As profoundly stated by the noted philosophy professor James Christian “We know that individuals can be acculturated into any set of customs, beliefs, and values; they can be made to believe, value and even worship almost anything.”

This can be seen with the beliefs by billions of people in religions that have contained thousands of gods from A to Z throughout recorded history. People have believed and worshiped gods from A, Anubis of Egypt to Z, Zeus of Greece.

Through the process of socialization or acculturation, we can be made to believe almost anything. We then act in terms of our beliefs. Years ago, the American Sociologist William Thomas made an observation that is known as the Thomas Theorem. He stated that “If people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” For example, my grandmother defined ghosts as real, and she saw ghosts. On that dark stormy night, when my Grandmother saw that ghost it was very real for her. All beliefs or stories are true, but some are not based on real world objects or events.

So, let me tell you something you already know, our beliefs determine how we see ourselves and the World. They can even cause us to see ghosts. Therefore, let us be tolerant of other people’s beliefs. Just because they see things differently from us does not make them bad people. Let us recognize that what we see is colored by our beliefs. What we see is what we believe and these beliefs, might not be based on reality.    

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