15 Jan 2011

Effects of One's Belief System

Submitted by Stephen Winters

Just because we belief somthing doesn't mean that it is true. Just because we believe something very strongly doesn't make it true. The strength of our belief has no bearing upon whether or not the object of our faith is true.

2Cor 13:5 "Make a test of yourselves, if you are in the faith; make certain of yourselves. Or are you not conscious in yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you, if you are truly Christ's?" We are not to just assume that something is true just because we believe it. Take a look at all the followers of the various religous beliefs. Do all those people believe that they are right or wrong?

What difference does it make what someone believes about the Bible? It makes a lot of difference because our beliefs how we act and thing about ourselves and others. As an example, here are some things that I've noticed or experienced from religious people who are "Bible centered". (I am well familiar with this because I was raised in this belief system.)

  1. Immature Attitudes and Behaviors
    1. Outbursts of Anger: Some Christians get very angry if you say something they believe differently about. As an example: when I said something that the leader of the men's group believed differently about, one of the leaders angrily blew up and tried to set me straight.
    2. Religious Pride: They think that (their brand of) Christianity is the only religion that is right.
    3. Closemindedness: They will only talk with you about religion if you agree with them. If you talk about thigs that they don't agree with, then they won't even listen and will try to "correct" what you said.
    4. "Concerned About Your Salvation": The subtle implecation here is that "I'm right, you're wrong. If you believe differently that what I do, your salvation is in jeapordy."
    5. Scare Tactics:
      1. Going to hell: The thought his is that if you disagree or believe differently about something, then you will go to hell.
  2. Lack of Critical Thinking: Readers often don't critically evaluate the text that they are reading
    1. They are focused on the words rather than what the words mean
    2. They don't try to understand the deeper meanings and concepts of what the words mean.
  3. Bible Centered: The Bible becomes the centerpiece of which all ..... Quite often it seems like Christians don't know how to get together without doing a Bible study. Since everything is focused on the Bible, there is no ..... of individual thought.
    1. The emphasis is often put on "memorizing scripture" with a thought that if someone memorizes scripture, then that will somehow change a person's life.
    2. Children who know more Bible verses are rated and praised higher than those who don't know any or very many.
  4. Exclusionary: Even if someone lives a life of integrity and honor, but doesn't accept the Bible as the final authority, that person is excluded.
  5. Religious Words overvalued: What a person says is valued more highly than how one lives his or her life. People who use a lot of religious words are thought to be "very spiritual".
  6. Source Discrimination: This is a really big Fallacity that I see running major big time in Christianity: If an idea comes from another religion, or from some non-christian source, the idea is seen as bad. However, if a "Christian" source has the same idea, then it is seen as "spiritual" and thereby acceptable. The problem here is that Christians learn to accept or reject an idea base upon the source, rather than upon the quality and relavance of an idea.
  7. Age of Accountability
    1.  "The concept of the "age of accountability" is that children are not held accountable by God for their sins until they reach a certain age, and that if a child dies before reaching the "age of accountability,' that child will, by the grace and mercy of God, be granted entrance into Heaven."1  2
    2. Children of Heathen saved by death. The thinking error that can often follow the age of accountability thinking is, "If all unbelievers (i.e. Aethiest, Muslims, Hindus, etc.) will go to hell when they die, what about their babies and young children? Surely they wouldn't go to hell if they died before the age of accountability?" Then the haneous thoughts that follow, "If those unbelievers will go to hell after the reach the age of accountability, wouldn't it be better if they died as babies3 or young children so that they can go to heaven?" 
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