A belief is a man originated idea about how something works or what something means based on observation, knowledge and experience. And we need these beliefs to help us understand ourselves and the world around us. They determine the choices we make in life. They help hold a society together. But we can get into trouble when we refuse to revisit beliefs to see if they need to change. When we have been living with certain beliefs for so long, it is scary to consider letting them go or changing them when they no longer serve us. They have become part of our identity and give us a sense of security. They are the box in which we live.
Scientists used to believe that by the time you were an adult, your brain was set and could not change. We now understand that the brain is constantly changing as we go through life.
We used to believe women could not vote or work, now they do both.
We used to believe the world was flat but now believe it is round.
Some of you were told you were stupid, not worth much and you believed these things about yourself because they came from authority figures. But as an adult, you can choose to change them and believe you are a smart, capable person.
But there is one area we are usually told where beliefs are not allowed to change and that is religious beliefs. Even though there is plenty of evidence that some of these beliefs are wrong and no longer serve us, we continue to hang onto them because we have elevated them to Truth. We have built institutions around these beliefs so to change a few of them could cause too much controversy and disruption. We have associated these beliefs with God and so believe that if we change them, God is going to be displeased with us and punish us in some way. We are told not to question these beliefs because wise men from thousands of years ago received these beliefs from God so they cannot be changed. However, what we fail to understand is that beliefs are associated with the culture and historical time of when they originate. This is one of the reasons why beliefs need to change as the human civilization continues to advance in our knowledge and understanding of who we are, what our purpose is, who God is, and how we impact each other and the world around us. It is easy to confuse a belief with Truth, especially with religious beliefs, which is another reason why we refuse to change them. A belief can be revisited and changed to adapt to new knowledge and experience. Truth, however, remains the same and next week I will write about how Truth differs from belief.
An old belief is like an old shoe. We so value its comfort that we fail to notice the hole in it.” Robert Brault