Oscar Wilde has a famous quote, "I am not young enough to know everything!" that fits perfectly with my current mindset. Current, not as in these days but more like "these years". I used to know all the answers, I used to know all the secrets to the universe and then....then the answers changed, opinions reversed, beliefs altered beyond recognition...but now, now I don't know what I believe and what I know, if anything.
Let's start with religion. I was raised a Hindu, so I believed in the Gods, omnipresent, omnipotent and above all benevolent. Then somewhere in my teens, I started developing doubts, doubts introduced into my brain by my studies that involved science. The mythological stories that seemed like the gospel truth before(literal metaphor, if there is such a thing), started to look like ridiculous fairy tales in view of my knowledge of science, limited though it was. This was followed by a period when I completely denied the existence of God as a fantasy created by Man. This, in turn, was followed by many other, shorter, more volatile periods of beliefs - a malvolent God, an indifferent God, no God just Nature, and many others. At the time of going to press it's all up in the air and I could not tell you which one I really believe even if you hung me over Grand Canyon by a thin thread and threatened to let go!
That is just one area, then there are others, many areas where my beliefs have been shaken by time, and it comes not from not knowing but from knowing too much (or at learning and reading too much) and based on that, being able to reason against myself. If you were to debate with me on this topic, I could provide arguments, at length, supporting or denying any of the abovementioned theories. Yet, that doesn't get me anywhere. And "faith" which seems to be the answer for majority of the populace just earns my contempt and pity, nothing more.
For another example, take patriotism. I used to be so much in favor of that, jan_ni janm_bhoomishch swargadapi gareeyasi (Sanskrit, meaning: mother and motherland are higher than the heaven itself), while I still concur with the part about mother, I am not sure about the part about Motherland, you can read my views on that in my post about patriotism. http://sunilgoswami.blogspot.com/2007/07/love-thy-country.html
I am a tester, a tester's creed is "Take all statements that seem true and question them!". I apply that to everything. There are many other topics where I have more questions than answers. Regular readers of my blog would know that, but I have more questions than I put on my blog even. There are a lot of quotations that mention the same kind of thing, that the more a man learns the more he learns about how little he knows. socrates even went so far as to say "All I know is I know nothing.". Still it can be quite frustrating at times to be so confused about everything that you don't know what you believe.
At times like this the quote from Lazarus Long (character by Robert Heinlein), "I have no beliefs. Beliefs get in the way of learning." is quite comforting. I do find that not having beliefs helps you keep an open mind and that's the only way to learn something new.
I would love to hear from others who have gone through or are going through this same kind of thing.