Does what i believe matter
In recent times, it is common to find the attitude of “personal truths” – a “you can have your truths (beliefs), and I can have mine”. This has grown out of post-modernity’s scepticism of absolute truths (“meta-narratives”), which is often phrased as “There are no absolute truths”.
It is often cited as being the basis of true tolerance, liberalism and therefore healthy society & multi-culture.
But is this true – does it matter what I, and others believe?
History gives a stark lesson – Yes belief does matter!
(And why is it only truly argued for religious beliefs, yet differing political beliefs are vehemently discussed, and considered essential. But politics is often the outworking of our personal moral and ethical beliefs, combined with our personal understanding of what helps our neighbours, our society.)
What we believe affects the way we live. We only need to look back over the last 100 years to see how beliefs have led to horrendous events…
Eugenics – the belief we can create a better human through selective reproduction – combined with nationalism led to the Holocaust
Totalitarianism – the belief everyone will be better off under one political governmental system led to the execution of millions in USSR, China, and Cambodia
Slavery is rooted in the belief that some are superior and others inferior, there to serve.
Democratic Societies are shaped by a (active) majority of personal beliefs. So, Germany was lead into war and the Holocaust through small steps changing individual beliefs. Events since then – other holocausts too – have shown people and societies continue to make the same choices.
Where power resides in a few, they choose what happens to the many – how many good dictators does the world celebrate universally?
So, belief does matter.
Sadly, the golden rule of so many religions “do no harm to others” seems to be over-ridden too easily by other parts of our belief system!
And, of course, if there is external truth (an external authority) it becomes important to find it – just like the search for the “Laws of Physics”.