Give, give, give – what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don’t give it away? Of having stories if I don’t tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don’t share it? I don’t intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine. – Novelist Isabel Allende

There is such a thing as truth, but we often have a vested interest in ignoring it or outright denying it. Also, it’s not just thinking something that makes it true. Truth is not relative. It’s not subjective. It may be elusive or hidden. People may wish to disregard it. But there is such a thing as truth and the pursuit of truth. – Filmmaker Errol Morris

I seem most instinctively to believe in the human value of creative writing, whether in the form of verse or fiction, as a mode of truth-telling, self-expression and homage to the twin miracles of creation and consciousness. – Writer John Updike

This I believe: that it is intellectually easier to credit a divine intelligence than to submit dumbly to felicitous congeries about nature. – Commentator William F. Buckley, Jr.

When I was young, an honest and moral life seemed like a straightforward goal. I now know that it’s not always easy to see what should be done and even harder actually to do it. Nevertheless I’m grateful that I still have some time to keep trying to get it right, and to savor each remaining day in my life. – Elizabeth D. Earle

I believe in the journey, not the arrival, in conversation, not monologues, in multiple questions rather than a single answer. I believe in the struggle to remake ourselves and each other in the spirit of eternal forgiveness, in the awareness that none of us knows for sure what happiness truly is, but each of us knows the imperative to keep searching. – Commentator and blogger Andrew Sullivan

I came to believe in God because, over the many years, He time and time again made Himself manifest to me. To embrace the career of composer is tantamount to embracing a life of high adventure. There may be no atheists in foxholes, but there are none in the Green Room either, especially before the premiere of a difficult, intricate and, I hope always, courageous musical work. Also, one cannot long work in the composition of music without coming to realize that one doesn’t do it all by oneself. — Composer George Antheil

I do not believe in predestination, for I think we are given minds for development – and the greatest gift ever given is that of freedom to decide and act. But there comes a time in every person’s life – and generally many times – when things become greater than he and when he must turn to Some One bigger. If one does not have Some One to turn to, one is lost and unhappy. — Ward Wheelock, co-creator of This I Believe

I believe that I should behave with courageous dignity in the presence of fate and strive to be a worthy companion of the Beautiful, the Good and the True. But fate has its master in the faith of those who surmount it, and limitation has its limits for those who, though disillusioned, live greatly. True faith is not a fruit of security. It is the ability to blend mortal fragility with the inner strength of the Spirit. It does not shift with the changing shades of one’s thought. — Helen Keller

I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings. Like Confucius of old, I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and the angels. I have enough for this life. If there is no other life, then this one has been enough to make it worth being born. — Novelist Pearl S. Buck

In all honesty, what I believe is neither inspirational nor evangelical. I cannot say that I am even a sound Christian, though the code of conduct to which I subscribe was preached more eloquently by Jesus Christ than by any other. About God I simply do not know; I don’t think I can know. — Writer Wallace Stegner

Values Discussion

Below is a list of some of the values that may be important to you. First, define the value in a few words (use a dictionary if you need to – Right Click in Safari). Then, choose 3-5 values that are the most important to you. Explain why you feel this way.

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Love
  • Empathy
  • Respect
  • Faith
  • Knowledge
  • Wisdom
  • Freedom
  • Creativity
  • Dedication
  • Loyalty
  • Success
  • Cooperation
  • Enthusiasm
  • Self-Control
  • Leadership
  • Confidence
  • Skill
  • Sincerity
  • Reliability
  • Patience
  • Flexibility
  • Responsibility
  • Hope
  • Charity
  • Prudence

Personal Writing Prompts

Write a personal essay in response to one of the following:

  1. Most of us have been in a situation where we made a promise that for one reason or another we were unable to keep. When were you disappointed because someone made you a promise that they failed to keep? Or when did you break a promise that you made to someone else?
  2. All of us are works in progress with a long way to go before we reach our full potential. In what skill or area are you still working to make progress?
  3. Our society uses the word hero in many different ways? How do you define hero, and who is a hero in your life?
  4. We all tend to judge people by their appearances, even though looks can be deceiving. Have you ever prejudged someone incorrectly based on their appearance or has someone ever prejudged you unfairly based on how you look?
  5. Everyone has problems or challenges to overcome. What obstacles are you proud to have faced and conquered?
  6. There is a famous adage: “To err is human, to forgive divine.” When did you feel divine because you were able to forgive someone for their mistake? When did someone act divine by forgiving you when you were wrong?

What Do You Believe?

The following statements are just a few of the axioms people hold to be true in their lives. Do you agree or disagree with these statements? For those you agree with, how did you come to that position? For those you do not agree with, why? Please feel free to add other statements that sum up one or more of your most cherished beliefs.

What Do You Believe?

  • Life’s fair.
  • Words can hurt.
  • What goes around comes around.
  • How you act in a crisis shows who you really are.
  • Love conquers all.
  • An eye for an eye….
  • People learn from their mistakes.
  • You can’t depend on anyone else; you can only depend on yourself.
  • If you smile long enough you become happy.
  • Miracles do happen.
  • There is one special person for everyone.
  • Money can’t buy happiness.
  • Killing is wrong.
  • Doing what is right means obeying the law.