Wednesday, February 20, 2008

True Beliefs

The only safe way to determine whether our beliefs are true is to assure ourselves that they rest on a solid, dependable foundation. We must look beneath each belief, layer by layer, until we find the ultimate absolute that supports it.

We place confidence in our beliefs in much the same way that we place confidence in our houses. We trust the second story because it is built on a strong and dependable first story. We trust the first story because it is built on a strong and dependable foundation. We trust the foundation because it is built on strong and dependable bedrock. We trust bedrock because—well, because it would be silly to spend time and money to analyze bedrock by digging through it to prove what everyone already knows: bedrock is solid, dependable and safe to build on. Bedrock is the builder’s absolute.

The process is the same when it comes to validating our deepest beliefs and convictions. Reason tells us to look beneath our beliefs layer by layer until at the bottom of the stack we find a foundational truth we feel we can safely assume to be true—a truth beyond empirical proof, a truth that we accept as necessary or too obvious to question.

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