Beliefs and Actions
Beliefs and Actions
Statements repeated often enough can become “truth” to anyone who chooses to accept information without checking the veracity of such statements. This situation can exacerbate when facts become an anathema to those who merely pass on information simply because someone said something that seems right.
“God helps those who help themselves.” “Handling frogs will result in having warts.” “Poinsettias are lethal.” “Hydrogen Peroxide helps heal wounds.” “Cracking your knuckles will result in having arthritis in your hands.” “The direction of water flow in a toilet will change whether you are in the northern or southern hemisphere.” “George Washington had wooden false teeth.”
None of these statements is based on fact. In spite of that, you might believe each of these statements if true simply because you have heard them repeated from “credible” sources. None of these statements, even if they form a part of your belief system, is injurious to your health or wellbeing. Rather, they are frequently classified as urban myths or something similar.
“All roads lead to Heaven.” This statement is one of a plethora of statements that frequently emanate from a personal belief system. If you did not originate a statement, you likely adopted it as a part of your personal belief system. So, what is the source of some of these type statements?
Some statements originate from cult leaders. These people frequently establish a following based on a charismatic persona resulting in establishing a manifesto of a collection of statements that form a belief system.
Nothing in this is intended to interfere with your freedom of choice. You will always have that freedom of choice. As such, the countervailing aspect of that freedom is the accountability we have for the choices we make. This freedom of choice is misused when we attempt to force our beliefs on others. While we have the freedom to share our beliefs with anyone of our choice, we should always test those beliefs with a source of truth. Said another way, let’s make certain we fact check everything we say, particularly that beliefs that can have life consequences, before we share our beliefs with others.
Many of the aforementioned quoted statements (i.e., myths) are merely inconsequential beliefs that are factually incorrect. No harm done. But, what if your beliefs include a statement of long-term consequence that are based on a manifesto assembled by a few people. Would you evaluate those beliefs to determine their factual basis? Or, would you just accept at face value whatever someone tells you? “All roads lead to Heaven?” Is that truth? Or, is that a statement that has been passed along without anyone checking its veracity? For example, does your belief system accept the notion that whether you believe in the teachings of Buddha, Jim Jones, or other similar persons, all belief systems do lead to the Heaven described in the Bible. That is, many roads lead to Heaven. They just arrive at the same destination from different directions.
Some people believe that statement to be true without checking the facts. Would that belief also be characterized as inconsequential? Certainly not.
So, is it appropriate to be a critical thinker? As a critical thinker, is it appropriate to question facts as relates to various statements? Mahatma Ghandi said,
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Some statements can be verified through experiential learning. Such is the case for Mahatma Ghandi’s statement. Some other statements require research verification. Even then, what is the credibility or your source documents?
Again, we all have the freedom of choice. While exercising that freedom, we will ultimately determine our destiny. So, be a critical thinker. Verify the facts that should always be sourced from a credible document. If the facts do not support the assertion of the statement, we need to reject statements that are not factually based. Ultimately, this process will determine our system of beliefs that will determine our destiny. Beliefs and facts are consequential.
About This Contributor
Ron Cooper (Saint Leonard, MD)
ENGAGINING, AUTHENTIC, HUMOROUS, AND CREDIBLE.
I advance people and organizations by challenging the status quo through quality thinking. I leverage my 22 years Air Force fighter pilot and command, executive leadership, and certifications in leadership and human behavior to add value to people.en