Why do you believe what you believe?
How do you form your beliefs?
Can you give a reason for the opinions that you hold?
How do you go about determining truth?
Hopefully this isn’t the first time you’ve pondered these questions.
Opinions are everywhere. Arguments are pervasive.
News. Blogs. Facebook posts.
With social media comes a whole new way for people to voice their opinions, to argue, and sadly, it gives us the opportunity to communicate hate and disrespect towards those who disagree with us.
What it should do is challenge us to go deeper, to understand more greatly, and to walk with stronger convictions, knowing our beliefs have been scrutinized, tested, and proven.
I want to challenge all of us to stop and think about why we believe what we believe. There are many ways to form our beliefs, whether it’s our religious beliefs, political beliefs, moral beliefs, or even our beliefs about truth itself.
Do you use reason and logic?
Do you depend on your senses? Do you have to see it to believe it?
Do you rely on your personal experiences?
Do you trust an outside authority or expert?
Do you embrace science as a way of determining truth?
All of these are good ways to form our beliefs. They are useful in determining truth. None of them are entirely reliable, and so I imagine you are using some combination of the above. Hopefully, as you form your beliefs, you are aware of the methods you use.
What concerns me is that too many of us form our opinions based upon our own prejudices. We believe something to be true because it is in our best interest. We hear an idea and we like it, so we conclude that it must be true. Our convictions change with our circumstances.
Truth cannot be determined by our personal preferences. Just because I want something to be true does not make it true. Forming our opinions based upon our preferences leads to inconsistencies and contradictions within the framework of our beliefs.
If we are honest and diligent in forming correct beliefs, if we are willing to take them to their logical conclusions, we will find ourselves believing things that we don’t like. We will believe things that we wish weren’t true. But the end result will be a consistent, cohesive belief system that can be defended, not by name-calling, not by discrediting those who disagree, but through a process of intelligent, systematic reasoning.
Please share how you form your beliefs and what methods of the ones I listed (or others that I didn’t include) you tend to use.