This I Believe

Ronald - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 14, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: question

I believe there is some hope for a better future if we can understand the source of our social problems. But this will require dialogue and a willingness to question our beliefs and values about human nature and morality. Understanding one’s beliefs is necessary to getting the most benefit from them. When expectations that are based on beliefs go unfulfilled it is in our best interest to question the accuracy or relevancy of the belief. If we fail to question and understand our beliefs we will likely experience unnecessary frustration or failure.

We rely too much on our beliefs about the nature and meaning of reality. Beliefs are made from concepts all of which are created by humans. Concepts should enhance awareness, make it easier for us to understand our world and to communicate with one another. If a concept fails to do this then it should be clarified or replaced with a more effective concept or belief. Reason and observation of reality are the most reliable methods for clarifying concepts and testing beliefs.

I believe even social and moral beliefs must be challenged, discussed and evaluated for their accuracy and applicability. Many people believe that questioning traditional social beliefs will lead to social disintegration. But it is the failure to question one’s beliefs and to engage in honest dialogue that is a primary source of our societal problems.

We are social animals, and we do benefit from shared beliefs and social cooperation, but we also benefit from an educated, informed, and self-reliant populace. Some persons in authority are inept or corrupt, and should be challenged; and, some ideas and beliefs become obsolete and dysfunctional due to new knowledge and changes in other parts of the culture.

There would be much less conflict in our world if people were taught how to think analytically, instead of being discouraged from questioning authority and tradition. There is hope for the future – if the citizenry are taught how to question and analyze their beliefs, and if they acquire accurate and useful concepts that facilitate understanding and communication. To accomplish this, however, will require some drastic changes in the way youth are socialized and educated.