This pearl of wisdom comes from Spider Man; and it can be applied to the modern spiritual condition.
Modern Man is in the rare position of being able Not to believe in God; in effect Man can now defy the creator of the universe by the simple choice of his will.
This is an intoxicating realisation. We can, and most do, entirely deny the divine, the spiritual, the eternal - and choose to believe only in the sensory perceptual and material.
Furthermore, in recent decades Modern Man has asserted his ability to believe in things that are false; to regard ugly as beautiful; to insist that sin is a higher morality.
And, of course, vice versa: truth is hate, beauty is kitch, and virtue is opporessive. Modern Man, having unbelieved God, has chosen to live in an inverted world.
That's where we have been, for some time: a staple of public discourse in modern societies; and has within the past weeks it has been enforced by a new and global qualitative acceleration of centralised surveillance and control.
I can recall exactly this intoxication in my childhood at six years
old. I was told that if I did not want to believe in God, I did not have
What a feeling! Nearly everybody around me said they believed in
God, but I could defy them all by a single act of unbelief!
I could defy any God, if there was one. I did not have to believe anything just because some people said it.
This experience was pride in action at one level; in another sense it was potentially the beginning of wisdom. To an adult mind, the beliefs of society-in-general ought not to be regarded as binding.
For example; at present general societal beliefs are incoherent, since they are mostly digusting, immoral and/ or lies. But I can choose to believe them - and most do so choose.
The Modern lesson here is that belief is arbitrary, and no belief should to be regarded as perverse or wrong. We believe whatever we want to believe.
(In practice, we believe whatever we judge to be most expedient - here and now. But what of the long term? What about those we love, our nation and civilisation, the planet?)
Believing in God just because we have been told to believe, cannot be regarded as wise or sufficient, except for young children. It is necessary for each person to take responsibility for his own primary and ultimate beliefs.
But that is Not what has happened. Instead the whole of modern society is one vast denial of personal responsibility - we call it bureaucracy, or The System.
Everything 'important' is decided by committees, votes, procedures, lotteries, algorithms, precedents, polls, authorities, peer reviewing... almost anything is regarded as preferable to personal judgment and individual responsibility.
Well, Pandora's box is open, the genie is out of the bottle; we are too far down the track of consciously deciding what we believe to return to passive acceptance - even if that were possible... Which I do not believe: I think the process has been driven by the divinely-driven developmental transformation in Men's minds, 'evolution of consciousness'.
We need, as a matter of extreme urgency - i.e. starting this instant; to take full responsibility for our mental choices - including our deepest and least-examined fundamental assumptions concerning the nature of reality.
And we need to recognise that when we get to the very bottom; we must make an intuitive decision - from our-selves - of what genuinely seems true and right; and which we are happy to base everything else upon.
Fundamentally there must be some ultimate and foundational belief-assumptions, which we are prepared to regard as self-evidently true; and upon which we are prepared to built the whole of our lives; fully recognising that this can be done by nobody but our-selves, and that what happens to us in an ultimate sense hinges upon these assumptions.
No more excuses: we have our freedom, we have the power not to choose God and to believe anything; and with that power comes responsibility.
To shirk responsibility is to refuse life.