When you Believe by Whitney Houston Essay
When you Believe by Whitney Houston
“There can be miracle, if you believe…” such a great line to listen to from the song When you Believe by Whitney Houston. Nowadays, it seems like the word believe is taken lightly. Originally, the word believe has been associated with anything that is religious or spiritual. I remember when I was young, and I would ask someone older than I am if there really is a God, and sometimes they would just tell me that “hey, young one, all you have to do is believe then you would be able to understand”. You can never be a part of any religious community if you don’t believe in the same things that they believe in.
“Must believe to truly acknowledge their faith” (Harris).
Sometimes if there is something that you simply just don’t understand you would need concrete answers not to just “believe”. One good assumption is that, if there is no religion, then the word believe wouldn’t even exist in our language. Logically, if there are no rules or anything to “believe” in, then everything would simply be in chaos. People would not fear to do anything bad.
The usual things that, say a priest, especially in the early days is that if a person does something unacceptable, then his soul would suffer in the fires of hell for eternity, and that is not something anyone would want to happen. Furthermore, the word believe is like “Saving faith” (The Oxford English Dictionary 783) Most of the times, whenever the word believe is mentioned in the “Holy Bible” it would be directed towards one specific thing, say for example:
“For GOD so loved the world, he gave his only son, and whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
In most religions, they based their practices, teachings, beliefs and way of life according to what their scripture states. It is wrong for them to disobey what they believe in.
“Mental acceptance of the truth or actually of something” (Roget’s II The New Thesaurus 85). The followers of a religion simply follow things not because they understand why they have to do it but simply because from the very first, they were brought up to be “blindly-obedient”. Religious leaders just tell their followers that whatever is written down on their scripture is true and real, even though they have no evidence or whatever it is that they believe in.
Take for example for Catholics or Christians; they say that the Holy Bible was written with men guided by the Holy Spirit. Who would ever question something that the elders and the leaders say “all good and powerful? What makes people continue to struggle everyday is because they believe that somehow, when they die, there would be a better place for them provided that they have been good and they kept their faith in their god. Essentially, believing in something makes people hope and dream. It is like an anchor to them, salvation maybe.
“I believe firmly what I read in the Holy Scriptures…” (MacMillan 41) Mostly, the Christians focus what their beliefs more on the New Testament rather than the Old Testament, but aside from the Holy Scriptures, there are also other basis of what Christians believe in like sacred statues, parades of these statues, feasts and a lot of other practices that they believe in. Furthermore, there are also the 7 sacraments, 10 commandments and such that basically reinforce a Christian’s belief in Christianity.
Christianity has been directly linked to the word believe simply because in the early days, and throughout the history of Christianity, a person would have no way of really proving whether the people, claiming to have talked to the “Lord” really did or simply hallucinations of a hopeless person. Anyhow, in the early days, what they believe in has been their anchor and their pillar of strength that somehow, god is there to help if you believe wholeheartedly and trust in god. The word believe is synonymous to the faith.
And sometimes they are used interchangeably in but that faith is like a stronger word than believe simply because when you have faith in something, even though there is no proof that something is true or real, you would still “believe” in your heart and mind with full conviction that it is true. Believing in god brings Christianity. Aside from the fact that according to the Holy Scripture, Jesus Christ is the son of god, therefore, if you believe in god, you also believe in Jesus Christ thus, Christianity.
Another good point is that people have greater tendency to believe in people rather than in its meaning. It’s easier to believe in something that you can see or hear, in other words, something tangible than what is more of a subjective meaning. Things and events have different meaning depending on who interprets it. Take for example this line:
“If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify him” (MacMillan 41).
Most people do not even know why he was crucified or why he let himself be crucified. People simply believed in the idea that it is because he is good and would do anything for the salvation of mankind. Sometimes, in fear of going against what the majority of a religion’s followers believe in, people tend not to question what obviously is a very controversial belief. And sometimes people worship a person even without scrutinizing what he really is and if what he represents is honest and true.
Believers have the tendency to just look at the surface and not on what is the entirety of a person they worship. One good deed or one good trait and you’re on a pedestal. And because of this one-way and blind belief, what happens, most often than not is that what is written on the scriptures are taken literally and not on what it was trying to imply. In fear of interpreting it the wrong way and violating their religion, people are more inclined to either interpret it literally, thus defeating the purpose of their belief even without being aware of it.
The difference between hearing and listening is that when you hear something it does not necessarily imply that you understood, but listening is understanding what was being said and analyzing whether it is rightful or valid. Common problem of most followers is that they hear what preachers are saying but they do not understand what was being said and what to do about it. In reality, most of the people who have so much trust and belief are either not well read or was not given enough opportunity for a higher education. I remember a time that my uncle told me that “religion is an anchor for the hopeless”.
In this day and age, most people tend to believe in what they see and can prove to be trustworthy and reliable like a friend, a lover, a family member.
“To have confidence or faith in (a person), and consequently to rely upon, trust to” (The Oxford English Dictionary 783)
Through time, people started to realize that statements like “in god’s time” or “its god’s will”, and “if you pray hard enough, god will give you your heart’s desire”. People started realizing that if they put everything in what they are told to believe in, then nothing good would happen or it would take a long time before it happens.
If you talk to god about your burdens, yes, it feels good to unburden one’s worries if they would talk back to you or show that they understand and can empathize and give suggestions on how to go about finding solutions or doing the right course of action. Eventually, what started out as a mutual need for something to rely on, their friendship eventually becomes their faith: faith that when they need comfort, support or help, that other person would be around.
“The only people I can trust are my friends” (Mulageta).
Moreover, absolute trust in another human being became the salvation of some while for some, they have substituted religion.
“Absolute certainty in the trustworthiness of another” (Roget’s II The New Thesaurus 85)
While for some, friendship has become a very good substitute for religion, for others it became their downfall because due to so much belief in the trustworthiness of a friend, they are easily influenced or coerced into doing things that are sometimes inappropriate and have poor judgment, mostly character-wise and at times, even on things that should not be said or done. Tendency of a person is that if majority of the population believes in something, natural assumption is that it couldn’t be that bad.
Today’s media also plays a big part in using words or actions to make people believe in whatever they wanted to make people believe in, a commercial for a product, a movie, a gossip, news and so many other things that sometimes it feels like we are being manipulated into believing something.
“Something believed or accepted as true by a person” (Roget’s II The New Thesaurus 85).
Due to so many ways and techniques of the media to get a point across, we are eventually led to believe in statements that are not even facts but are designed to manipulate us into acting according to what they want. We became so dependent on others for opinions on what is right or wrong that we need them to tell us what exactly to believe in before we act on anything.
There are so many propaganda techniques used by the media to sell an idea that we can’t actually tell what is true and what is not, that we just assume all the things we see and hear are all true. Most of the times, what the media claims to be true is not really true at all. But then, that is after we initially believed and acted according to what we believed and perceived to be true.
Similarly, science also makes people believe in things the way it does on textbooks, as it is. But then some things are not yet discovered or can be explained yet because it is yet to be researched or experimented on.
“To view in a certain way” (Roget’s II The New Thesaurus 85)
Science made scholar think in a systematic and logical way that sometimes instincts or feelings are disregarded if it cannot be proven. The outcome is that, science made some think so logically that they do not make room for possibilities and what-ifs. They seem to think inside a box and that the environment is so isolated.
“If it was proven and tested, then it must be true” (Touneh).
Consequently, if it is not written on a journal or book then it is not true, if it says in a book that it is true then it must be even though logically, it doesn’t seem to make any sense at all. Sometimes, the truth of a statement is based on how famous or known the person who said that specific statement. They believe everything in a scientific way and yet science cannot prove anything. It is merely a combination of a series of tests and theories that has logically proved an assumption or idea.
Originally, my idea of the word believe is simply to trust in what was said to be true and considered facts. But then, on the process of writing this paper, I slowly realized that believing is a dangerous word, not literally but figuratively speaking. What I thought is true could actually be a misunderstanding of what is really being conveyed. Believing in something I learned, is trusting absolutely even without evidence to prove it that it is true.
There are times, from the research that I have done that believing in something so much can be harmful if good judgment and caution is not used. By believing in something, somehow, you let that specific idea or person take over some parts of your life. Believing is a good a good thing if used appropriately. Not everything is true just because many people claim it to be as such. I had so much in depth understanding that I was able to understand that from different areas of the world, the belief of a person in something is so important but as sad it is to say, it has also been abused by so many people.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 18 March 2017