Sunday, May 26, 2019

Evaluating Different Belief Systems

In the course of our lives, many of us change our minds from one set of beliefs to another.

Why is that? Often it is because we discover some problem with that initial set of beliefs that we can no longer tolerate whether it be dualism, physicalism, Calvinism, open Theism, atheism, Christianity, Catholicism, Protestantism, cessationism, continuationism, etc. Moving from system A to system B can feel strange because sometimes you had reasons for not subscribing to system B that had to do with the problems in that system.

What this demonstrates is that in every system, every worldview, there are pills you're going to have to swallow. And the question to ask is which pills am I okay with swallowing.

Think of evaluating different belief systems like this. Suppose you're trying to buy a jigsaw puzzle at the store and there are all these different puzzle-sellers offering different puzzles.

But none of the puzzles have all the pieces. All the boxes are missing some part of the puzzle.

One puzzle might be a 1000 puzzle pieces and missing 500 pieces, but another puzzle might be a 1000 puzzle and missing 20.

Or one puzzle might be a 1000 puzzle pieces and missing 100 pieces but the missing pieces are all of  the corner and it is just to fill in the blue sky, while another puzzle might be a 1000 pieces and missing 50 but they are of the center and it is to fill in the face of the main person in the puzzle.

Moreover, suppose you could ask the person selling the puzzle, "What's up with the missing puzzle pieces?" and one person responds, "Sorry, that's just how the puzzle is made," or someone else said, "Some of the pieces were stolen, sorry" or someone else said, "Some of the pieces were stolen, but we're making some new pieces that we'll mail you" or someone else said, "You'll get the rest of the pieces as you finish the puzzle."

The number of pieces missing, where they are missing, and the answer to why the pieces are missing in the first place will all impact your decision as to which puzzle you will buy. Similarly, every system of beliefs has missing pieces to it, but the question is, do the missing pieces ruin the entire system and is the system set up in such a way to reasonably make sense why these pieces are missing.

This means that we need to be honest about the weaknesses of our belief structures, recognize that they are there, and be gracious with people who disagree with us.

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