Presenting the work of Quaker atheists, agnostics, humanists, and others who practice Quakerism without supernatural beliefs

Belief or Commitment

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I know who you are. I have read the innermost secrets of your heart.

You are committed to making the world a decent place for people to live. A place without war, poverty, bigotry, pollution, or curable disease. A place where everyone

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shares equally in the work of sustaining life and civilization on this planet and shares equitably in the enjoyment of the fruit of that labor. A place where people are motivated by love and self-expression rather than by fear and greed. A place without unnecessary suffering where everyone is loved.

But you have been hurt, cheated, lied to, deceived, spat upon, struck down, swindled, thwarted, defeated again and again and again. It is no longer possible for you to believe that such a world might be achieved.

Every day, every moment, presents a new opportunity to live either from your commitment or from your belief. Time after time you choose to live from your belief.

This repeated betrayal of your deepest self leaves you in profound despair. The despair is unbearable, so you learn to deny your betrayal, to deny your commitment, to deny your despair, to deny your denial.

On top of this denial, you lead a happy, healthy, successful, fulfilling life. A life addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, making money, politics, religion, or television. Most of all a busy life, too busy to notice the emptiness inside.

I know you because I see you every day in the street, at my work, in my Quaker meeting, in my family, in my mirror.

I don’t give a damn what you believe. Or, what I believe.

I am committed to your commitment.

I love you.


2 responses to “Belief or Commitment”

  1. Thanks for posting this. I am grateful for this site/forum.

  2. Very beautiful. I think there is more to say. Commitment brings different knowledge than belief. Who knows Jill better, Jack or the disinterested observer? Perhaps both ways of knowing help. In scientific investigations, we want complete disinterested observations to avoid bias. In seeking personal knowledge, our commitment will create different experiences than disinterested experience. If I am committed to compassionate relationships won’t I experience more of them?

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