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Just remember, you asked

“Just what the hell DO you believe in?” asked the e-mail.To begin with, I do not believe in ending sentences with a preposition, but that was probably beside the author’s point. But since they, and a few others of late, seem literally hell-bent on inquiring upon what I ignorantly thought were already obvious answers, let me begin with the negative side.I do NOT believe in astrology, graphology, mythology, numerology, palmistry, prophecy, telepathy, creationism, exorcism, bleeding statues, ghosts, demons, fairies, aliens, auras, chakras, existence of a life force, precognition, telekinesis, ESP, remote viewing, near-death experiences, levitation, bad luck of the number 13, good luck of a rabbit’s foot, divining rods, dowsing, pyramid powers, perpetual motion devices, communicating and/or channeling from the dead, tea leaves, time travel, reincarnation, faith healers, psychic surgery, Ouija boards, the Bermuda Triangle, Big Foot, Loch Ness, chupacabras, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, Virgin Mary on a piece of toast, athletes being “allowed” to score a touchdown by a god, UFOs (as beings from another world), Dianetics, Scientology or Santa Claus.Nor do I believe all Muslims are bad any more than I believe all priests are pedophiles, or that the BTK killer has painted all Lutheran leaders as murderers, or that Kenneth Lay and Bernard Lebbers are representative of all CEOs.I also do not believe fate and free will can co-exist in a rational mind.On the other hand, I DO believe Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, Robert Blake and Kobe are all guilty of one thing or another. Peterson should die in a horrible fashion, not because the death penalty is a deterrent for heinous crimes (study after study proves otherwise), but simply because he is a sick monster that no longer deserves to breathe our air. While Jackson might not be guilty as charged, he is certainly guilty of being a plastic circus freak, Blake should be awarded an Emmy for his performance, and Kobe is just guilty of being an idiot. I also believe those convicted of white collar crimes are just as guilty as those convicted of dark T-shirt crimes and should be punished accordingly.I believe in seat belts, that people receiving perfectly legitimate parking tickets should not appeal to the masses for sympathy, the current Eaton Ranch proposal is bad for Eagle County residents, the Ginn proposal is good for Minturn, Ryan and Trista found true love on television and it was beautiful to watch.I believe if a man wants to have sex with another man, that is his business (as long as the other man is justly aware). Same if they wish to legally marry. If two women want to have sex, I believe I have a right to want to watch. If a woman wants an abortion, it is entirely up to her.I believe the war on terrorism is a thousand times more important than the silly war on drugs. Plus, it is winnable. I believe the Kyoto Protocol is bad politics; spreading freedom is good politics; if something bad happens, Al Qaida and Hamas will take credit,and if something good, Democrats will take credit; all states are both blue and red; the power of the people, with democracy in tow, can make long-lasting changes in the Middle East; and George Bush should realize that playing teeter-totter alone is a very boring sport. Whether you earned, inherited or won a ton, I believe in money. If you have it and choose to spend it on a Mercedes, a Porsche and a country club membership – that is your choice. If you think you can save an edible species by giving it all to PETA – that is your choice. Either way, idiocy is an acquired emotion, not a genetic part of our DNA. I believe in dogs as friends, strippers as entertainment, beer as refreshment, beef as food, and eating fruits and vegetables every day. I believe eating too much and not exercising will make you fat; Sunday blue laws should be repealed; more movies should star Christopher Walken; Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer of all time; and the Dallas Cowboys the greatest football dynasty.I believe U2, in spite of politics, is still one of the coolest rock bands around (although nobody will ever top the Beatles); share price will decrease the moment I purchase a stock online and increase the moment I sell; that there are two types of people in this world, those who enjoy quoting from movies, books and the media in general, and those who create the quotes (you can quote me on that); and mere weekly columnists in smalltown papers should not be confused as “journalists.”I believe in mankind, and strongly believe we have amazing abilities all on our very own without any assistance from any form of mythology or aliens from another world. We are filled with kindness, goodness and gentleness one minute and capable of more horrific “evils” than the latest Japanese film director can conjure up the next.I believe the validity of Voltaire’s statement, “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”; that anyone, anywhere at any time breaking the Golden Rule in the name of religion is a hypocrite; patriotism and morality do not need a god in order to exist; the “Da Vinci Code” is fiction (the guy who wrote it even says so) and the Vatican should leave it alone, unless of course their goal is to prove how much of their current version of the Bible belongs on the same shelf. I believe “evil” is a manmade act of emotion that occurs simply when a selfish person has no concern for consequences and that it was not atheists who flew those planes into the World Trade Center.I believe in evolution and the rationality of a science that says 2 plus 2 will always equal 4; stem cell research can lead to the curing of diseases; there is the exact total tonnage of tangible proof of an afterlife as there is for the Easter Bunny; and in understanding the world as it is, as opposed to how I wish it to be.I believe that whether man created all gods or vice versa is irrelevant to the question. It is what a person does with that belief, how they treat others and the methods they use to teach their children that really matter. I’m out of precious space for now, but hopefully this answers at least part of the question.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.netVail, Colorado


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