This I believe


"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Plato

"Is everything determined? ... I don't have a lot of choices, I have to accept what's there, make the best of it; consider it positively or negatively." Theologian Robert Willhelm was giving listeners an example of a creed from a determinist, someone who believes he has little influence over the events of his life.

At the recent philosophy symposium at North Hagerstown High School, Willhelm and Skott Brill, an associate professor of philosophy at Frostburg State University, debated about how much free will humans possess. But the symposium raised questions about subjects other than free will.

What do we believe? How should we live our lives? Trying to answer these questions is important for all of us. So, we got a group of Pulse journalists together and gave it a shot.


Eight members of the team shared their personal creeds - personal statements of beliefs. These creeds include components that emphasize the importance of responsibility and of self-confidence.

Many of the creeds express views on a higher power, an afterlife and humanity's place in the universe. Several assert that God exists and is very influential in their lives; while for others, a deity isn't a top issue.

Robert Keller writes, "Our creator is God Almighty," while Erica Colliflower writes, "my actions will determine how I will spend eternity." Others express doubt to the existence of an afterlife. "I believe there is no heaven or hell, only a brief moment of life," writes Jessi Fulton. "We are an amazing product of evolution - you could say we are here by chance," writes Rowan Copley.

Almost all of the creeds had advice on how to live a good life. Al Wunderlich says, "It's important to check up on yourself, making sure there are no hidden intentions." Laura Bell writes that "People have the right and duty to help others, improve the world, and live an honorable life."

"We must use our time wisely," writes Rowan Copley, while Fedora Copley writes, "I believe in experiencing life to its fullest." Jessi writes, "We can change our Earth."

Writing a personal creed is a thought process - a map, if you will, that will make the road of life a bit harder and a bit easier. Harder because it's what you aspire to be, but easier because you've now written down your guidelines for life. It is something that will evolve as you live your life, but a personal creed prepares you for those tricky situations in which you will know what you stand for.

Everyone has a different idea of how one should live. Some say you should do this, while others say that you can't do that. Ultimately, what you believe is personal - different people believe different things. However, a creed does help to spell things out and give a general idea of what's important in your life.

It's easier to find your way if you have a map. Though it might be a little tricky assessing what's important, ultimately it's worth it in the long run. Because in the end, as Robert writes in his creed, "What you get out of life is up to you."

Sample personal creeds of Pulse contributors

Al Wunderlich, 16

I believe that the way to live is to always and purely seek truth in the most innocent way. If intentions are pure, then being misled cannot be held against you. But pure intentions are near impossible, so it's important to check up on yourself, making sure there are no hidden intentions. Pray for and sympathize with those who can't find a way. Be confident in what you find, but do not be blind. There is only one truth, one final way, yet it fits every life individually.

Jessi Fulton, 11

I believe there is no heaven or hell, only a brief moment of life. When I die, I will have been the best person I could be. If I am doubtful, I question what I know. I do not worry about being judged. If I could, I wish the violence would end. I believe we can change our Earth.

Robert Keller, 14

I believe our creator is God Almighty. Life is what you make of it. If you want to be rash, then be rash. If you want to be peaceful, then be peaceful. What you get out of life is up to you.

Fedora Copley, 15

I believe in being honest and true to myself and not being restricted by the thoughts of others. I believe I am the maker of my universe, and what I do should nurture my bliss. The same goes for all others, and respect is due to each person's universe. I believe in experiencing life to its fullest, each moment completely, but not dwelling too much on moments that have passed. Follow your bliss and go with the flow, keeping in mind what is true for you. I believe in myself.

Laura Bell, 14

I believe in God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost. I believe God created heaven and Earth, and that Christ died for all sins. I believe people have the right and duty to help others, improve the world, and live an honorable life. I think we should all have freedom - freedom is how we find what we believe.

Erica Colliflower, 17

I believe in God and that He created this earth and everyone who lives upon it. I believe that each person has an eternal soul and that my actions will determine how I will spend eternity. I believe that each and every person, no matter how young or old, has importance in this life.

Rowan Copley, 18

We reside on a small mote of dust, circling a tiny fireball in the vast emptiness. We are an amazing product of evolution - you could say we are here by chance. But what a amazing chance, to open our eyes and be alive! Life is ephemeral and over too quickly. We must use our time wisely - we might have less of it than we think. Our consciousness and rationality are like candles in the darkness. We have a responsibility - to ourselves, to others, to Earth.

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