William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

On Questioning Our Beliefs

The question was put:

"I have friends who question almost everything, and I sometimes worry that they will make a shipwreck of their faith. I also have friends who question nothing in relation to their beliefs and I fear they are in for a shock someday.

Some of my friends think that my participation in this and other forums will lead to the destruction of my faith. To borrow a line from a movie (in part) arguing religion is like two fleas on a dog?s back arguing as to which one owns the dog.

To believe in God at all, requires (to a large degree) the belief in the supernatural which cannot be measured by man, nor can any proof be produced. So arguing which "belief" is correct requires that the person simply have faith in things not seen. Which is by its very nature the very definition of faith.

So, where is the happy medium?

How do we know if we question too much or too little?"

To which I responded:

I think the answer is the quote that has long resided in my signature. We must get by on the truth we have today and be willing to call it error tomorrow. If we never draw any conclusions because we are too afraid that our underlying assumptions are false, we will never get anywhere. On the other hand, if we are so stubborn that we are not even willing to give fair consideration to ideas and facts and philosophies which cut against our existing beliefs, then we are not being intellectually honest with ourselves. That does not mean we have to accept every idea that comes along, and it is both natural and healthy to be somewhat skeptical.

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