Our beliefs are our theories about how the world is constructed, about how life is structured. In a way, our beliefs are like scientific theories. Scientists take what knowledge they have about the natural world from the experiments they perform and construct theories to explain how the natural world works. Sometimes new experiments change those theories; sometimes new experiments confirm old theories. In the same way, our life experiences together with our rational self either confirm or refute our beliefs.
A few days ago, I watched a movie on TV entitled “Fog of War” It was an interview with Robert McNamara and he was describing the lessons he had learned over his life time as a bombing analyst during World War II, as a business executive, and as Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War. One lesson he learned was that “belief and seeing are both often wrong”. Our beliefs about how the world is constructed are not always accurate because, as we stated in the last blog, our beliefs are based upon the society in which we live and our life experiences. McNamara’s point was that we must be willing to reevaluate our beliefs and to question what we see if we are serious about knowing what is true.
I wish God had made it simpler. I wish he had given us indisputable proof that he exists, that the Bible is his word to us, and that Jesus rose from the dead. But he did not. God has structured our existence so we are limited in our knowledge of both material and spiritual matters, in our ability to know good and evil, in our capacity to know what is true. And we must deal with that fact.