The above is an unintentional (and unknowing, until I realized I probably wouldn't be the first to think of this and thus googled it) paraphrased quote, from a movie I had neither seen nor heard about until five minutes ago. I have, however, heard about Charlie Chaplin. It's his birthday today, which would have made him 122 years old. This in turn - had he still been alive - would have made him the world's oldest man. I know that, because I recently read that the world's oldest man died at 114. It's rubbish, of course. The world's oldest man is still alive, somewhere, at some age. You cease to be oldest when you die. But the man who until he died a few days ago was the world's oldest is now dead. The world's oldest person remains the same - a lady also at 114, and 26 days older than the aforementioned man (not Charlie Chaplin).
These people (both the elderly and Charlie Chaplin) have lived in a world where religion and belief systems have changed a lot. Entire religions have been born and died. Wars, or at least warlike fighting, have been fought with (helpless? Careless? Nonexistent?) gods on each side. "God is dead", said Nietzsche.* "Nietzsche is dead," said God.** Charlie Chaplin is said to have been an agnostic. I don't know if the world's oldest man, or the world's oldest lady/person, believed or believes in anything or anyone. The man formerly known as the world's oldest man might be finding out whether he was right in his beliefs (or non-beliefs) as we speak.
Personally, I do believe in things. Ironically (or perfectly logically?), this is what makes me not believe in nihilism. I cannot see how it is possible, to not believe in anything at all. One of the things I don't believe in - deities - probably makes a lot of people wonder how I get by. I can imagine that if you do believe in a god (or several), knowing others that don't might make you as skeptic as I am towards nihilism. For instance, how do I process all the things humans cannot explain if I don't believe in God? The answer is twofold. First of all, lack of attention. I don't pay overly lot of attention to questions I cannot answer. I remember my teacher once said that people had gone mad over pondering what lies outside the universe. I empathize. I have thought about this. I have touched the border to madness, trying to understand what I cannot understand. By avoiding thinking about it, I solve a lot of problems.
The other part of the answer, however, is that I accept that there are things I cannot explain or understand. This is similar to religion, actually, only that within most religions the believers assume the god(s) know the answer to the questions humans fail to understand. I simply assume there are things no one knows. Or I keep an open mind to the possibility that someone do understand it, or someone one day will, but it isn't necessarily a deity.
I avoid and I accept, but I don't not believe. In anything. Such as my own existence. I am pretty sure there is someone sitting here at my desk, in front of my laptop, typing with my fingers. I am pretty sure that someone is me. I am pretty sure that I, the desk, the laptop, the words, the ideas, the blog, the readers - these are not figments of my imagination (well, the readers might be). And even if they were, someone - me - would be having that imagination. I imagine, therefore I am - another paraphrase. Descartes was no nihilist, that's for sure.
*Yes, yes. Nietzsche said this in 1882. The older-than-everyone-else 114-year olds were born in 1897; Mr. Chaplin in 1889. Semantics. Or numerology.