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Does what we believe matter?

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Wide White: Does what we believe matter?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Does what we believe matter?

That seems like a question with an obvious answer, and it's an intentionally vague question. Of course what we believe matters. What we believe about God/faith/religion shapes countless decisions we make. What we believe about the government shapes our political thinking. What we believe about social behavior shapes who we're friends with.

So if what we believe matters so much, why are we so often hesitant to talk about it?

I should clarify. I'm not referring to the things that we believe are wrong. Nobody has a problem identifying what they believe is wrong. Most of us will readily rail against our idealogical enemies, whether it's Muslims or Christians, Democrats or Republicans, Michele Bachmann or Nancy Pelosi, Packers or Vikings. We can readily identify what disgusts us, outline our reasons why, and type up a blog post or retweet a video without hesitation.

But what about the things we believe are right? What about the things we actually believe in? Isn't that what really shapes us? We so easily crawl into a hole when it comes to those things. We don't want to offend anyone. We don't want to hurt someone. We don't want to make people uncomfortable.

But why? If what you believe is so important to all of your decision-making, why not share that with others? Or at least with friends? If there's disagreement, you either work through it or move on. It seems so simple.

And yet, with person after person, these subjects are taboo. We can talk about the politicians we despise, but not the ones we're going to vote for. We can talk about the people we think are religious nuts, but not who and what sustains us spiritually.

I realize that there are some things that fire up and divide people unlike anything else. But that doesn't mean they should.

I'm not suggesting we all sing "Kumbaya" and act as if there are no differences of opinion, no differences in our values, no right and wrong. But I am suggesting that we'd all be a whole lot better off if we'd just open up a little more. It would give us a chance to sharpen and refine our ways of thinking. It would open us up to more views outside of our own. And it would strengthen our friendships.

What we believe matters. It matters very much. And it doesn't just matter to us as individuals; it matters to us all as friends and family. Take the risk. Let your friend be uncomfortable. Take the chance that they may not like what you have to say. But by all means, say what you think. Say what you believe. We'd all be better off for it.

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Anonymous Bill Roehl declared,


10/01/2010 7:25 AM  

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