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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Challenging One's Own Worldview

Something that I have noticed a lot in society today: people hold positions and swear that they never question or challenge their views (many believe that is a sign of how strongly they hold them). Unfortunately, for many of these people, you can easily believe that. Many of these same people are afraid that if they challenge their view, that they will find that it may not be the best or it may not even be true. I knew many Christians as I grew up who were like this. They tended to accuse others of not having "faith" because they questioned or challenged Christianity (see my post "Is 'Blind Faith' Biblical" for my answer to these people).

Unfortunately, there is quite a danger in this attitude, whether Christian or not. I have always believed that sticking with the truth is more important than sticking with an ideal. I mean, what is the point of sticking with an ideal if it doesn't reflect reality (is not true)? If I were to hold to something that had nothing to back it up, I would be delusional and in denial. Also, if I were to be attempting to convince someone that my delusional view was correct, and that person just happened to be familiar with the "facts" of what I was attempting to defend, my view would easily be destroyed by that person familiar with the facts. This would lead to them questioning my credibility and maybe even dismissing my credibility altogether.

It is best to discard those wrong beliefs for beliefs more in line with the facts. When you hold beliefs in line with the facts, skeptics are less likely to immediately dismiss your beliefs or claims in the future. They may still dismiss them because the skeptic is emotionally committed to another view, but the dismissal will not be on the merits of your claims (see the Psychology Class Series).

This brings me to my first reason why someone should be willing to challenge their own views. If one holds to a false view wholeheartedly, then when the time comes that that view is not just challenged, but defeated, it may cause a major complex. First, the person starts to question everything (not so bad); second, when truth is found, the person finds it difficult to accept (worse); and third, if the truth they found has eternal consequences, they don't accept it, and they die, they must face those consequences (worst). If the worst case scenario happens, let's hope no one was following in their footsteps.

That brings me to the second reason why someone should be willing to challenge their own views. People watch you, especially the younger generation. If you are close to the youth in your family or church, they are the one's watching the closest. They will pick up some of the same behaviors as you. If you dogmatically hold a false belief, they will tend to do the same (maybe not with the same view, but others). We want to encourage our youth to ask questions and honestly search for the answers. When one is equipped with knowledge and understanding of why they hold a view, they can more effectively defend it. See my recent series, The Power of a Cumulative Case for more on the persuasive power and psychological power of worldviews and the arguments to support them.

The major objection to all this that I hear in the Christian community is that "if someone doubts (thus challenges) their belief, then they really aren't a Christian." I tackle this in a future post "Does Doubt Equal Disbelief", published on June 13th, 2009.

Also see these more recent posts:
Reasons In and Out of a Worldview
Can Religion Be Tested For Truth?
Is Faith Emotional or Logical?

For more information on how this topic, see:

Stand to Reason

Stand to Reason: Radio Program
Apologetics.com Radio Show

Tactics: by Greg Koukl
Come, Let Us Reason: by Norman Geisler

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