It has been said that those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. In our nation and in too many others around the world, we see the creeping virus of disbelief in our private, public and civic life. It is essential for every human being to believe in something greater and more noble than themselves.
A good religion or spirituality provides this faith and belief and teaches a moral code as well. Believe in Science, if you will. Believe in America or your family but believe in something greater than yourself.
Countless hours staring at a game console, tablet, smartphone or other device has many of our Millennials living in an artificial universe where they don’t talk, they text, they don’t make love,they hook up, they don’t work, they do their thing.
Far too many Americans under 40 believe in nothing, experience little of real life and have retreated to a Doll House existence. (Doll House is a chilling sci-fi series about a near future reality in which humans don’t live in the outside world at all, we lay on couches and experience life through AI, (artificial intelligence).
If you are not familiar with Doll House, stream it on Netflix. It will scare the pudding out of you!
Belief is the greatest power of the human mind. Some call it faith which is a first cousin to belief, only deeper. Faith can heal when the doctors give up; it can move mountains, surmount any obstacle, achieve the “impossible” and create whatever you can believe and conceive.
A society that has lost its core belief is doomed. Rome did not fall because it was evil or corrupt but because it stopped believing in the Gods of Rome and the ethos of the Roman state and so they ceased to be Romans. Are we headed for the same fate?
What is America’s Core belief? It is the American Dream, in which fewer and fewer believe today. It never was a promise or a guaranteed benefit. It was a chance to be more and do more than your grandparents or parents. It was a chance to be free, to speak your mind without fear or reprisal, it was a chance for those who arrived in steerage to travel in First Class within a few years with enough desire and hard work.
It still exists and is alive and well but it seems that only immigrants believe in The American Dream today. We hear all too often that the system is “rigged”. It is only rigged if you believe its rigged.
Andrew Carnegie was nearly bankrupt when he finished the first steel bridge over the Mississippi River with borrowed money. Within 5 years he was the richest man in America.
To those without belief, courage and guts the system will always seem to be rigged. Was it rigged for my Cambodian neighbors? Here is their story.
I patronize a dry cleaners owned by a family of Cambodian immigrants. They walked 500 miles to get to Thailand, fleeing the death camps of the vicious Khymer Rouge. They had $100 to their name when they arrived in America.
Today they own 4 dry cleaners and 5 restaurants, providing a fine living for the entire extended family. They came here with $100 to their name.
How did they do this when so many Americans believe that this story is no longer possible? Immigrants are highly motivated and they believe that in America anything is possible and so it becomes possible for them. Faith, courage and hard work does the rest.
Doubt or cynicism is the enemy of the creation of our good for the cynic and the constant skeptic believes in nothing; not even in themselves.
I believe that the day that we stop welcoming immigrants to the US will be the day that America begins to die. Immigrants refresh the tree of Liberty with their hopes, dreams, hard work and faith. They are a lesson for all Americans and an example of the American Dream in action.
Searching for a spiritual faith that you can believe in this 21st Century? Log on to CSL.ORG and find the nearest Center for Spiritual Living near you. We teach Religious Science which is the Science of Mind. You will be glad you came and you will be most welcome
Rev. Dore’ Jacques Patlian, Sarasota, FL