Friday, January 6, 2012

On the Pride of one's opinion

Stacy posts about the pride of being right and how that pride can be just as damaging as being wrong.  We as human beings seem to take far greater pride in our opinions than we should.

I like to think that the truths that matter will actually come from the source of All Things.  It is possible for us to figure out things about life and the universe around us.  But by and large it seems that when we try to reach above ourselves without help and attempt to define what it means to be human we only succeed in defining humanity as our self.

Everyone who agrees with me is a right thinker.  Anyone who does not is simply crazy or evil.  When we are the source of our own ideas we project ourselves onto the world.  And when it does not conform to our desires, we identify that as evil.  This is where ideologies come from.

But our own perceptions are limited by time, culture, senses, and a host of other factors.  Our experience is but a tiny fraction of the tiny fraction of humanity that constitutes the whole of reality.  To pretend that we can know all that is important without help is simply foolishness.  That we will accept no truth that we cannot reason our way toward is simply pride.

Contrast this with those who adhere to revealed religious truths.  Those who believe those truths believe in something outside of themselves.  It did not originate with them.  They are not the source.  Regardless of if it comes from other people or truly has divine origins the point is the religious minded believe in truths that did not come from them.  It is an implicit recognition of man's limitations of his own reason and experience.

Now it is true that the religious minded can be wrong about the beliefs they hold.  The belief in truths that are not true can leave the person in a position of disadvantage.  But this is true of any false idea, and does not make the religious person off any more than the non-religious.

The non-religious is at an even greater disadvantage however.  The non-religious will only accept things that he can reason to.  And if they are beyond the ken of human reason, then they are not worthy of consideration.  This is an even more crippling thought process because it cannot open itself to even the possibility of being corrected by truths above the reason of Man.

This to me seems to indicate then that trusting too much in one's opinion is deadly to the reasoning process.  We close ourselves off to the most important truths for no reason other than we don't like the idea that we cannot reason our way to them.

The religious though is at risk of being prideful because they possess the truth. It did not come from them though.  It is not to their credit that they possess the truth but receive it as a gift.  It makes even less sense that the religious should boast about how right they are when that truth did not come from them in the first place.  We received such a gift and we are obligated to share.  But it is not our truth but the truth.  And that should be an invitation for great humility.

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