By John Smithmeyer, Guest Writer
As I wrote last week, democracy is dying. But, it’s not only politics that are failing. Belief and faith seem to be at an all-time low as well. I don’t mean faith in a purely religious sense. I mean it in a much broader sense of the word. I’m talking about belief or faith in morals, values and social ideologies. I know that may sound pretty religious, but I’m also accounting for the fact that religion also seems to be dying.
We all know that belief in religion is declining, but in a more general sense, people don’t even believe in the morals that religions have espoused either. It doesn’t take one being a Christian to believe in neighborly love.
My point is: There don’t seem to be any more values or ideologies that are solidly held up in society, and therefore, the masses are unsubscribing from them. The only thing people seem to care about anymore are likes, followers, how much money they have or how big their gains are. Every day, it seems like we’re running out of things to believe in. But who’s to say we can’t come up with new morals and social values to wholeheartedly believe and have faith in?
Our generation has the potential of being the greatest generation there ever was. However, it takes two things: the choice to want to be a part of the greatest generation and putting in the work to earn it.
This isn’t something new; we have seen rapid and radical change in social values throughout history with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. Although, to have anything near the impact they had, we have to put in the work, and that starts with forming new morals, values and ideologies to live by so that we all can get along a little more cohesively.
So I implore you to conversate and meditate on those beliefs that are important to you and that you can have absolute faith in.
However, I do have one stipulation: those ideals that you choose to believe in need to serve life as it is now. This stipulation must always be kept in mind, because those beliefs that work for us now might not work for us 10 years down the line or for others’ lives as they are now.
So go out and meditate on the values to which you subscribe that serve your life, and then conversate with others about them. See what kind of support or criticisms they may have. Find likeminded people who also have faith in those same beliefs as you.
Additionally, this does not only pertain to social values or ideologies but also holds ground in the political realm. Think about what new policies and political actions you would like to see come to fruition. Same as before, discuss with others about it. They may have points that could bolster the new law you want to see written, or they could show how it might not work in reality. Either way, you’ll probably come across someone (or some people) who shares those views, and together, you could possibly make change happen.
My point is: Together, we can make anything happen, including redefining political, economic and social norms.
To hell with the pointless and vapid societal norms from 100, 75 or even 10 years ago that still underwrite life in 2021 and still don’t serve life as it is now. To hell with those morals that not only do not contribute to society but detract from it.
We can make new values that will serve our lives — our lives which are threatened more and more every day by climate change and mass shootings, our lives which are the first to grow up with the internet from birth and the constant interconnectedness that comes along with it.
Why should we let our lives be dictated by laws and social norms that don’t serve our lives? In short, we shouldn’t. This is why no one has faith in them anymore, and this is why we need new ideals into which we can wholeheartedly put our faith.
Additionally, if what you believe in is homophobic, sexist, racist, transphobic or just negative altogether, please don’t share those views. That hatred is not new and is very much already out there in the world. In fact, it is those beliefs that society and politics need to move away from. So please, if you fall into this category, keep it to yourself.