Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Are Most Convictions Actually True Or Merely Practically So?

For the sake of argument, suppose the ultimate reason many people wholeheartedly believe their perspective on any given matter (not by any means limited to religious/political convictions) is absolutely true and right is because in the context of a social and civil society there is intrinsic benefit in measuring values and especially behavior with 1 standard, however arbitrary it may be. We could say this unconsciously encourages people to persuade others that they are in possession of "the absolute truth".

The proximate reason people wholeheartedly believe their perspective constitutes the unadulterated truth is that they believe it is actually true. So the belief that it is actually true solely as a means to get everybody to “join” the group as a means to adopt the same values such that behavior can be “fairly” evaluated can be said to be practically true. Practically true to the extent that adhering to this 1 absolute standard for conduct and behavior can be beneficial for society regardless of whether it is actually true.

Many will claim this idea is a total mockery of “God's truth”. But my response to those that think it egregious to suggest this is to question their own motivations. If they are particularly angry at the idea of belief being merely practically true and not actually true, could it be that they are (more than likely unconsciously) motivated solely by their belief that they will actually be rewarded by God for being good and/or avoid punishment for not being bad? If this is the case, then their motivations can surely be questioned.

On the other hand, those that do not react bitterly to this supposition probably “get it”. It does not matter whether beliefs are actually true. What matters is that they are merely practically true as a means to improve cooperation and promote positive social interaction within society.

The challenge is getting EVERYBODY behind 1 ultimately arbitrary standard!

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