Beliefs, Facts, and Feelings


Hi friends, We’re gonna get a little Christmas in July
this week. I went to Catholic school, in the US, so we
very much did the christmas in school thing. But it wasn’t just like, one craft project
before winter break. This was a month long event. Around December 6th or 7th some kids at school
start talking about this pre-event event called St. Nicks day. It’s where you put out your shoes by the
door and during the night, St. Nick supposedly goes around and leaves you a present. The kids who st nick had visited the night
before can’t seem to agree on what it is he brings, because some get candy, some get
money, one kid got one of those fuzzy santa hats. We wonder out loud why some kids got a present
and some kids didn’t and our teachers frantically explain that some kids get their present on
the morning of the seventh, and some get theirs on the NIGHT of the seventh. Because obviously going to all those houses
takes a long time. Another was quick to add that he doesn’t
visit some families so that christmas can be extra special. But I wanted a fuzzy santa hat. And since we were already in full holiday
prep at my school, making Advent candles out of sheets of beeswax and hairdryers and memorizing
St. Luke’s gospel, the second chapter, 8th through the 17th verse. I was already feeling that good staticky feeling
in my chest and didn’t see why some kids could have an early, mini christmas and I
couldn’t. On the ride home from school, my brother and
I told my mom about about how we’d heard we should put out our shoes. She asked us what kids usually got in them. I mentioned the Santa hat and my brother said
he hoped he got one too. My mom pulls into the garage, walks into the
house, and says, ever so dramatically. WAIT. I have to run to the bank. I’ll be back soon. My brother and I were used to her running
out for quick errands, but as we listened to the garage door going down as her car pulled
out of the driveway, my brother and I looked at each other devilishly and said “it’s
6 pm. The banks already closed.” There were Santa hats in our shoes the next
morning. Nobody ever told me, when I was little, that
Santa didn’t exist. There was no big moment of revelation or realization. It wasn’t even that I just slowly came to
understand from noticing all the little inconsistencies in his story. I felt like it was real for some time, and
then later, crouched in the staircase by my parents garage, I didn’t. But i’ve been thinking about my belief systems
lately. The ones that are more strongly held. The ones I still have. And I wonder how i arrived at them. Was it by reading scholarly articles, and
weighing evidence? Was it by calculating some logical equivalent
to how fast one man would need to get in and out of every chimney, factoring in time zones,
to reach every child in one night? Probably not. Most of the things I believe started with
a feeling. Something that just made sense to me. And felt right to me. And then only later did I find the facts and
evidence to back it up. And i’m fine with that. I really don’t appreciate the elevation
of objective reason as a value above those silly, feminine feelings. Especially because people who claim to form
their belief systems from complete, unemotional rationality, you scratch just a bit below
the surface and there’s plenty of feeling there too. Involving messy, complicated, inscrutable
feelings in our decision making, is, y’know, messy, complicated and inscrutable. But I don’t think it’s always a bad thing. Compassion is a feeling. Empathy is a feeling. Hell outrage is a feeling and I think that’s
valuable too. You can be faced with the objective fact that
santa isn’t real. The jingling of sleigh bells is just car keys. Those reindeer hooves are the clicking of
your mom’s high heels. But you believe she loves you and wants to
give you a nice memory. And because of that you believe other things
she teaches you. To be brave. To be kind. To treat other people like they matter. To believe that you matter. And that can shape how you see the entire
world. Facts matter now more than ever, of course,
but if you really think that nothing you believe is shaped by feeling. Well, you should try leaving your shoes out
overnight. Tell me in comments, how you came to believe
something you believe. If you liked this video, you can subscribe. You can also find me anywhere on the internet
@itsradishtime. And I’ll see you next week. BYE! *clap*


30 Responses

  1. Sophia G.

    July 16, 2017 4:44 pm

    Great video! I recommend you watch Prof. Jordan Peterson's video here on youtube on atheism on science. He comes to aimilar conclusians as you. X

  2. TheWillieSun

    July 16, 2017 4:57 pm

    I don't have a memory of ever actually believing in Santa. Maybe I did but the memory didn't last. Here in Germany, Dec, 6th is Nikolaustag and like you described, some kids got their presents in the morning, like me, and others at night.

    Lovely video and here's to your new apartment being unboxed quickly. Have a great week.

  3. Elle Belle

    July 16, 2017 5:11 pm

    This made me so emosh! Our beliefs and values are so so connected to how they make us feel. Feelings give meaning and meaning gives feelings.

  4. Adel Weisz

    July 16, 2017 5:35 pm

    strange that yours was dec 7. for us it was jan 7, we called it little christmas. we didn't get anything, it was just the last night to enjoy the decorations and i think we had like traditional food or something? maybe made a simple non-santa craft. it was a family tradition passed down from my southeastern european grandfather trying to keep old country traditions alive in some small way. because we celebrated on two days (and other reasons) i never fully believed the santa thing but it was fun and daydreamy.

  5. TheRainydayvideo

    July 16, 2017 5:54 pm

    I believed in Santa until quite late I think, I think I've continued with this imaginative magical feeling about life.

  6. Nicole Sweeney

    July 16, 2017 6:20 pm

    YES. Yes. YES. I have been thinking about this LOTS lately. The idea that "feelings" are some sort of lesser form of discourse is garbage. Politics & feelings are irrevocably linked.

  7. luckysmokerings666

    July 16, 2017 6:29 pm

    I don't remembering consciously how I came to believe a lot of things. Some things seem rooted deep within me and were never consciously chosen as beliefs. (e.g. accepting gay people. My parents never really talked with me about being gay and whatnot until I was older. Acceptance just seemed natural when I first encountered the concept and people who identified as gay, so I went with it. I never really had to sit and be like 'I think I accept gay people as people who deserve to be treated equally'. I was just like 'cool people can be gay').
    But there is one thing that does stick out to me as a conscious choosing of beliefs. Oddly enough it generally has to do with being religious/spiritual. I wasn't really raised in any sort of religion, so I kinda got exposed to what I got exposed to and interacted with people of different faiths as I learned about them or encountered them. I am still not really religious technically, but I do have my 'if there is/are God/gods/godesses….' sort of ideas. And I can remember where all of those beliefs come from. Some of the basic ones (reincarnation (without karma), the idea that every living thing has a soul) were things I learned in school that I liked and adopted into my own general beliefs. But the broader set of beliefs I have directly regarding deities actually come from a fictional series of novels. I read about it and thought about it and was like 'that makes the most sense to me' so when people ask I tell them I'm technically polytheistic and if they really wanna know I'll give them the theology underlined in that series of novels. Because if I'm gonna have to put my money on anything when it comes to religion, I figured polytheism makes the most sense to me. I'm still not super religious or spiritual or anything. I just have those ideas in my back pocket, because I like them and there are no consequences for believing in a certain deity or deities or liking certain spiritual structures. (Well I guess more religious people would say otherwise, but I rather stick in my wrong polytheism camp any day. At least it's a bit more interesting.)

    (and that was longer than intended…..)

  8. Marie

    July 16, 2017 7:08 pm

    Saint Nik is a tradition in germany and though i figured out its just my mum, i still love this tradition till today! The idea of waking up the next morning and finding little presents is still as magical. In the end, it doesn't matter if Saint Nik thought of me or my parents, friends or flatmates (yes, we play saint nik for each other in my flatshare).

  9. tetsubo57

    July 16, 2017 7:11 pm

    I came to understand that Logos can't explain everything. That Mythos has a place in our lives. There is no dichotomy between the two. Each is equally valid within their own spheres. I went from being an atheist to an agnostic to a theist.

  10. SuperSamStuff

    July 16, 2017 10:39 pm

    The real tension for me came when my little brother was born. Each Christmas came with the question of "does he still believe?" and if yes, how do we not ruin that, which became surprisingly tough at times. Happy to say I think the little guy made the transition to non-believing smoothly, which is more than I can say for myself

  11. soldeglo

    July 17, 2017 12:57 am

    The transition from believing in God because I believed, and not just because my parents taught me to has been the most poignant in my life. Being raised Christian can wreak havoc on your own faith. Realizing the people who taught you your beliefs, who you respected, are wrong or flawed or flat-out evil really clears away what's true or not.

  12. Rachel Ann

    July 17, 2017 7:18 am

    I don't remember ever believing in Santa. There is one picture of me sitting on Santa's lap as a kid. It was the year my sister was born and I strongly suspect that my grandpa was involved. My parents just never told me the story. They never went along with it. Or the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy. There were still presents on Christmas and candy on Easter and money under my pillow, but I always knew my mom was behind it all and that was okay.

  13. Shauna Blake

    July 17, 2017 8:17 am

    Yeah it's really interesting how all the things people think of as the most legit objective evidence can be pushed at to find 'it just feels right' things like basic arithmetic and sense input. At some point we have to say those feelings are there for a reason.

    I also just at some point didn't believe in Santa, I thought it was because I wasn't raised with a religion and was a big reader so belief in stories wasn't something we were really did.

  14. EmmaK

    July 17, 2017 11:14 am

    I "believed" in Santa until I was about eight, and on the way to school I was talking about what I'd like him to bring me for xmas, and my mum (presumably hoping to save me some ridicule on the playground where I was already bullied quite a lot) came out with it. My reaction was, "Oh." And then, "The tooth fairy too?"
    "Ok." I wasn't that surprised. It felt like I'd been pretending for some time without even realising it, and I can't pinpoint when I figured it out. I agreed to continue pretending for my little sister, and that was the end of it. I wasn't even disappointed.

    The weird thing is that this pattern of pretending to believe when I no longer do – in religion, in a relationship that's not working out, in the fact that I'm enjoying my studies, that I'm ok, really – is a thing I do a lot, over and over, and often it's a mistake I make to please other people. It's not so much that I'm afraid of change (ok, sometimes it is), but more often it's that I feel like I'll be letting people down if I defy their expectations and change direction. It's gotta stop, and that starts with me paying more attention to my own feelings, rather than letting myself be influenced by those of other people.

    Thanks for this video. It made me think. 🙂

  15. Haveagooddaysir

    July 17, 2017 5:02 pm

    Okay this was really helpful to me because I sometimes feel that I can't decisively express certain beliefs that I hold because I cannot justify them with logic. But as you said, it's just natural that beliefs stem from feelings because we, as humans, are sentient beings. It was good to hear this thought expressed out loud! So thanks for that 🙂

  16. Izzy Inkpen

    July 17, 2017 9:03 pm

    The topic of this video didn't go where I expected and that was really cool. You've raised such a good point though – all of the things I believe and stand for, I can't remember exactly where I got them from. Sure, over the years I've done research and engaged in discussion that has bolstered those beliefs, but the initial "yep that sounds right"? Don't have a clue. I have a vague memory of coming across the word "feminism" when I was fairly young (9ish?), and asking my mum what it means, so she said "the belief that men and women are equal." Sounded about right, so I adopted the word. I think that's the only thing I can truly remember the genesis of, and even then it was long before I properly got involved with feminism.

  17. Becca .Boot

    July 19, 2017 7:10 pm

    I read something somewhere which I can't find now (if I do I'll link it). I'm 90% sure that it was by an autistic woman trying allow feelings their proper place in her life. They said that "feelings are thoughts which have bypassed the conscious, cognitive part of your brain" essentially that feelings are thoughts without language and without logic overlaying them.
    It's an interesting concept and I think I quite like it. It helps me to be more at peace with how I make big decisions and smaller ones. I chose my uni because it felt right in a way I couldn't really explain. Or like how I feel like I should call a friend and tell them I love them because even though I hadn't consciously picked up that something was wrong with them it had gone in somewhere. Or I had a feeling that a person was being creepy & later find out that they were very creepy.
    I find that the more aware I am of my feelings and the more I examine them I make better decisions and I'm a better friend too.

  18. thathoopy

    July 22, 2017 6:11 pm

    Santa never made sense to me as a kid and around 4 I confronted my parents about it. I have never understood why santa is so powerful for most kids, because as I kid I much preferred believing in my family.

  19. LauraEchelonia

    July 25, 2017 10:35 am

    i sometimes forget that st. nicks day isnt a thing that every country does. in germany basically everybody does it

  20. Fiona McLary

    July 31, 2017 7:29 pm

    I remember being in third grade and trying to convince all my friends that Santa wasn't real. I never believed in him, but when we were eight I had friends who still did. I remember using logic and reason to explain why Santa and his Christmas Eve trip were not possible, and I remember the look in my friend's eyes as she refuted every word I said: a growing knowledge that I was right, and, trying to cover that, a desperate need to still believe while she could. I still don't know whether what I did was the right thing. (But for some weird reason I believed in the Easter Bunny until I was about six or seven. Go figure.)

  21. Katrina Eames

    August 7, 2017 10:25 pm

    I love this! I absolutely need feelings to inform my beliefs and my values. These are linked so intricately that I could not separate feelings even if I wanted to. Even when I have facts and research to back up my beliefs and why I believe my beliefs are correct, they're still tied to those feelings. I wouldn't have done that research if I didn't care about the issue on some level.

  22. AJ Zuniga

    January 1, 2018 12:58 pm

    I came to realize that Santa wasn't real, the Easter Bunny wasn't real, Cupid wasn't real, not even Freddy Cruger was real! I grew up at a early age knowing life was tough. I didn't grow up with a Dad. My Mom raised me and my sister. Public assistance, welfare, foodstamps, the food bank, was how we survived. At 16 years I got my first job working at a warehouse. even if it was a summer job it was very helpful. It tuaght me what commitment, and diligence. I also knew what is was like to be able to buy what I wanted to buy clothes, food, etc. My 2nd Job was McDonalds, I made breakfast, washed the trays/utensils cleaned. I was 18 at the time. It wasn't that many hours. Then at 19 I went back to work doing warehouse jobs! I made more money working at a warehouse than I did at McDonalds. but other than my work history; how I came to believe in God was something that my Mom and Aunt tuaght me when I was a child. I didn't understand everything but I did go to Church with my Aunts and Mom. At13 years of age I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Being born here in the U.S.A isn't easy if your hispanic. but that's another story that and in of it's self. My Mom and her parents and brothers and sisters were born in America. My Primas and Primos and myself were born here in America. My Mom took me to Mexican Churches. I didn't know Spanish I understood basically nothing that they were preaching. I started going to back to Church when I was 15. I went to the American Church for a little while where I actually understood the teaching. But I went back to the Mexican Church eventually. When I was about sixteen I remember being in Church I remember praying to God. Saying I want to understand what's going on. I want to be able to communicate with my people. God slowly but surely open up my understanding I could understand some things but I still had alot to learn. I took a Spanish class when I was in my junior year of highschool Spanish one. Taking that class really helped me out in the long run. I kepted going to Church learning some Spanish Alabanzas y cantos de Adoraccion. Even bought my very first Spanish/English Bible which also helped out alot. Just like working in the warehouses over the years. I feel more connected to my people now than I did back then.

  23. Sam Grizzly

    July 1, 2018 4:39 am

    Social structures are formed by humans' collective imagination, they're inherently subjective. The way we interpret and understand reality will determine what reality or facts will be. Believing in green paper having value will make them have value. Believing in gender essentialism and "women should be minority in engineering because they lack natural talent to do math intensive disciplines", acting on such belief to perpetuate sexism and discourage girls from entering the field will make women disproportionately underrepresented in engineering.


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