27 Sep

conviction photo: Escaped Conviction (Alex Pardee) EscapedConviction.jpgMost of the trouble in the world is caused by misplaced conviction. That’s my opinion, but I am prepared to admit that there’s a chance that I’m wrong.

We all have inside us the capacity to be totally convinced of this or that even though any real evidence might indicate that we can’t be right. So Muslims are convinced that their version of God is real and Christians that theirs is and Jews that theirs is. And all the rest who have an ethereal deity as the pinnacle of their conviction can swear fealty to them. Yet not one of them can point at more than a primitive, bronze-age document that has been copied and translated and Chinese-whispered to the nth degree over the centuries for their evidence.

By the same token vegetarians are convinced that killing and eating other species is wrong even though that other species may do the same, but to others. They have worked out a morality that seems sound to them and they lambast everyone who can’t see it. They are convinced that eating flesh is wrong. Like the Christian or the Muslim is convinced.

Ditto vegans. They, too, have a morality that suggests that their chosen diet is the only one that can be justified in terms of the planet, of the ecology, of their philosophy and more lambasting goes on. Their conviction can be quite ferocious and they form clubs with mutual admiration as their mantra.

Then there’s the atheist. I’m one of those in that I can’t see any rational argument for the existence of gods of any description and from time to time I have posted teasing little pieces on the subject. I am convinced of the rightness of my argument, but not without reserving the right for others to have different points of view. After all, the man who says he knows and understands everything is a fool because he only knows and understands only a tiny fraction of everything. Everything is too big and none of us have seen the shadow of it, let alone its substance.

And the warrior who believes in strength in arms and force versus weakness being important, red-necks who worship machine guns for the safety they think they offer even though they might occasionally conclude that the more guns there are around the more people will be accidentally shot, including the possibility of themselves being in that unfortunate number. But their conviction carries them on into a battle of one kind or another.

In my own book the worst creature is the died-in-the-wool gun-toting vegan Christian because his convictions are contrary to mine in so many ways. I hope I never meet one!

And yet, in every respect I’m prepared to admit that if I could see more than my little portion of everything I might be wrong in every instance. Everything, though, is far too much for my ageing mind to absorb and he who believes he’s got it taped is, as I suggested, a fool. Convictions formed in darkness are as empty as the vacuum of space, which isn’t empty at all.

© Peter Rogerson 27.09.15


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