What Does It Matter What I Believe?
by Josh Fults
Everyone has beliefs. Everyone thinks (some more than others) about where they came from, what their purpose is, how they should handle morality, and whether or not there is a God. We all have a worldview, that is, we all wear a set of lenses that color the way we view the world.
We live in a pluralistic society where many ideas, thoughts, and beliefs collide. There is a tremendous amount of white noise to wade through in order to articulate and solidify one’s belief system. The fact that there are millions of “experts” on the Internet willing to delve out free advice, of which they have no credentials to do so, does not help. Faulty, poor, and incorrect information is as available as oxygen. Yet, despite the quagmire of internet quacks, truth is readily available for those who seek it.
Today, many ask the question, “Well, what does it matter what I believe anyway?” There are different reasons people pose this question. Probably the most common reason is relativism. You believe what you want, and let me believe what I want. What does it matter to you anyway? Others, are just intellectually lazy. They might assert, “There are so many ideas out there. How can I possibly wade through it all? Who am I to say that one view is right and others are wrong?” This still
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smacks of relativism slightly, but the person does not want to take the time to seek, ask questions, and better understand what reality looks like. It could also be that they fear finding out a truth that might challenge their lifestyle or a belief they have just settled on. Another reason a person might ask “What does it matter what I believe” is pragmatism. Many view the significance of a worldview or pattern of thinking by its practical benefit. Does it make me feel good? Is it helpful? Does it promote the welfare of those around me? Beliefs then tend to change as needs change. Thus, it doesn’t matter what I believe, as long as it is helpful to me.
So, what does it really matters what we believe? Well, quite a lot actually. People tend to treat their beliefs as though they create fact or construct reality. When it should be the other way around. We should build our beliefs on what best corresponds to truth. I might believe that I will one day play in the NFL, but the facts certainly do not correspond to reality…