So my friend from church is a blogger too – I’m never too sure whether to link to his blog or not so for now it’s unlinked and if he agrees to a link then I will link to his blog.
OK so that sounds quite a heavy title for a post but hopefully it won’t be as heavy as all that!
Over the past couple of weeks in counselling we have chatted around issues of ‘core beliefs’ some of my core beliefs being that I am useless, stupid, ugly, no one likes me, unable to do anything, the list could go on! Pretty much all my core belief’s are negative. As if you needed to know that!
She said that core beliefs are really set during childhood, we develop our core beliefs through what our parents & other influential adults tell us and then they are set and it becomes difficult to change them.
So what about the evidence based belief part of this? Well my counsellor was saying that when we have core beliefs we always look for evidence that supports those core beliefs and dismiss evidence that doesn’t support them, so for example, I see myself as stupid, I build this belief up by looking for all the evidence to support it, when I don’t know the answers to the things people ask or I cant solve a problem etc and dismiss all the clever things I manage to do, when I manage to solve problems or sort things out for myself or for others. Yep that about sums me up!
How else can someone who as a Transport Manager was head hunted on more than one occasion because they thought I was good at the job manage to decide that he is stupid? Quite simply, I dismiss others belief that I am pretty good at it by saying they don’t really know me, etc.
Anyhow, you can see how this whole issue swims round and round in circles, for me I am working very hard on trying to correct some of my core beliefs because I know that others do not share the same view of me that I share of myself, as has been evidenced by some of the things they say and the way that they have spoken about me, I must dig out that list of positive things people spoke about/over me a few months back.
Having gone through my childhood believing that I was useless, ugly, stupid etc I have carried those beliefs into adult life and perfected the belief in my own mind so it takes a lot to over come those beliefs and I need to constantly look for and validate the evidence that supports the opposite views to those that I have thus far believed. After all, as my wife regularly says, do I want to believe the things that my parents said about me when I was a child (and my mother continues to say to this day) or will I believe the things that those who are nearest to me and who love me most say about me? Well there is no contention really when you put it like that BUT life is never quite as easy, its not a matter of flicking a switch and hey presto your mind set has changed.
OK now for the other part of this post, hadn’t intended to write most of the above! What I really wanted to say was, it occurred to me earlier today that the vast majority of people, even those who are highly educated and respected leaders in the field of science, can and do fall into the trap of developing core beliefs then looking for evidence to support their belief rather than looking at all the evidence before forming a belief, indeed it would be pretty impossible to do the latter as the evidence sometimes changes over time.
So, for example, many years ago people believed that the world was flat and the whole of their world view was based in the belief that the world was flat, they never challenged this because all the evidence (that the found) pointed to the world being flat, it took a lateral thinker to challenge this assumption and re-define the whole way we saw the world when he discovered that the world was actually a globe, can you imagine what it would be like if we still thought the world was flat?
There are still those who don’t believe that smoking causes any health problems, these people will point to the evidence of great uncle bob or granddad who at the age of 90+ is still going strong and has smoked 40 a day fro most of their life, indeed if you look only at this evidence you can see why people come to the conclusion that smoking cant be that bad for you, but that is to dismiss the huge number of deaths each week from the effects of smoke, lung cancer etc.
Another example might be the pro & anti Europe camps in this country, those who are anti Europe will look for all the beurocratic decisions all the stupid rules, the costs to us as a nation of being a part of the community whereas those who believe we should be in Europe will look at all the benefits, the grants we receive the good laws that come out of Europe (at which point the euro sceptics say what good laws?) the investment and security the EU offers us, oh and before you ask, I am pretty neutral on the issue of Europe!
When is comes to faith, religious beliefs, we all have a faith, whether we acknowledge it or not, and our faith usually provides the basis of our world view, for some their faith is a belief on God, in some form or another, for others it is a belief that there is no God, whichever camp you fall into I can guarantee that you look for the evidence to support that belief rather than looking at the evidence that exists to see what it tells you, your thought patterns are affected by your belief system.
As a Christian I freely admit that I look for, and see, evidence of God’s creative work in every day life, I can see the way that he has created and written DNA into every living thing, the way that he made the planet to be such a beautiful place, the way that he made everything good.
Of course those who are evolutionists will point to the glaciers and carbon dating and various other aspects of the world to show how clear it is that the world was formed out of a big bang and we are all evolved from microscopic beings, or whatever is their particular conviction of how we came to be.
The evidence on any side can and will be overwhelming to the people who hold to that particular belief.
So, who can claim to have THE answers and know the truth? Well I believe that the truth can only be known separate from the ‘evidence’ and comes out of an inner evidence, as a Christian I have had a personal encounter with God and know from my inner evidence that he exists and that there is truth to be discovered, however I can not provide you the reader with evidence that will sway you because you will filter all the evidence based on your pre-conceived views and beliefs.
Many people who have grown up with an abusive father have struggled with the concept of God as Father, until recently, well the past couple of years, I would have denied this was me, I could relate to the concept of God as father, but the truth is that I still had a wrong perception, I have always believed that I pretty much sneaked into the kingdom, I wasn’t actually chosen, at the meeting where I went forward to give my life to God I was just one of a number of people and I have always felt that when I stood there God looked at me and just said ‘oh you came forward too did you? OK I will let you in’ this view was really due to the relationship I had with my parents in growing up, always feeling as if I was just tolerated rather than loved, not wanted but there, not being kicked out but still not really being welcomed as a valued part of the family. This mind set has been really clear in the way I have felt about going through the depths of depression over the past couple of years.
Are there issues where you filter evidence through your own belief system rather than filter your belief system through all the evidence open to you? I know that there are still definitely areas that I need to work on, areas where I still believe things and stack the evidence in support of that belief. Mainly for me in relation to my perception of myself, but bit by bit I am dismantling my belief system in an effort to rebuild it on the security of all the evidence available.