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Should not intelligent, reasonable men of good will be able to agree on all things that matter?

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to
  one who is striking at the root."
- Henry David Thoreau
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"The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice." - Arthur Schopenhauer

Belief System–Lucky or Arrogant?
Updated: 01/09/2021

When it comes to belief and belief systems, most people seem to be so lucky that it is incredible. Let me explain this claim.

When I talk with people that have a semblance of intellect, wisdom, age, experience, and spirituality, and that indicate a willingness to dialogue about ultimate or significant issues I usually get around to asking them the following questions:

1. “Are you really aware of, or have you thought much about, how you got your current belief system?” They usually admit that they haven't thought about it very much, if at all.

And 2, “Do you think that currently you have the perfect belief system and the perfect paradigm of reality?” Well no, because what person wants to stand publicly in this obviously arrogant-sounding position?

And 3, “Given that you didn't create the universe and its reality and that you don't know the truth about reality from the standpoint of having designed and created it, do you think that it is more spiritually mature to embrace, to welcome a well-structured challenge to your belief system, or to go into the automatic emotional mode of defending it, at least in your own mind if not in some more obvert or verbal form of argument defense?”

OK, so, often we don't even get this far, and the conversation gets shunted off to some other subject or direction. People are generally reticent to talk about such "personal" matters, and are heavily conditioned to at least expect a heavy load of  'beliefs" coming at them if not some serious discomfort, displeasure, or disagreement. If we do get to this last question, most people in the above category will readily admit that it is more spiritually mature to embrace a well-structured challenge to their belief system. I generally try to reinforce this proper answer, and let it go at that.

I have lived in this world just long enough to look carefully the second
time into things that I am most certain of the first time.
- Josh Billings

However, this latter question seems to be an easy one to answer, but the answer a very hard thing to live up to. I am not certain that I have yet met the person that can do it. I now have friends that don't go into the obvert defense mode, but I can't be sure about what is going on in their minds. But, overwhelmingly, later in the conversation or at another time when I do present a meaningful challenge, their reaction is anything but open and welcoming. Why should this breach of consistency be prevalent?

It must be because they are so incredibly lucky or graced by God that somehow without even trying very hard, they have had delivered to them the almost perfect or at least the good enough belief system, one that needn't be seriously challenged. And what's even more, it's usually one that should be promulgated at every decent chance. I wish I could have been so fortunate! I have had to suffer the collapse of the belief into which I was born and programmed, have had to work diligently to challenge each and every precept I hold, and throw off the superstition, irrationality, illogicalness, and unreasonableness. It was at first agonizing, like doing invasive surgery on myself, but now the angst seems silly. Now, the question I have concern the usual response by people described above. Is their perfect or "good enough" belief system a matter of some "luck", or is it an example of your ordinary garden-variety apathy and indifference mixed with egoistic arrogance?

Asking Why?

Given that a person's belief system is a personal possession, except under extreme conditions it is unwise or inappropriate to challenge or assault it unless specifically invited. When confronted by the unsolicited claim of belief, it is always valid to simply ask WHY do they believe that? It is never appropriate, or at least never effective, to go on the warpath against their belief.

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