What if we’re wrong?

wrongWhat if we’re wrong?

Do you ever allow yourself space for that question?

Or what about this one: What if I am wrong?

My point is that so many of us—myself included—are driven by a strong sense of faith, of self—and of epistemology.

Personally, I hold these points as virtues, as strengths that have guided me through personal and professional challenges and decisions throughout my life.

But…

What if we’re wrong?  (For example, there’s an apostrophe missing in the graphic above.)

I think it is healthy to interrogate our steadfast beliefs, asking if they are rooted in wisdom, righteousness and goodness—or are they based upon misinterpretations, confusion, and unhealth?

When is the last time that you asked yourself such questions, not in a wavering from faith, but in a place of great strength, a place that allows for a personal dialogue to which perfect faith will stand up and represent honor, and glory—and the Divine?

Or not.

I worry that we do not think about how our knowledge has been constructed, and how—if at all—it is evaluated. 

In short, ask yourself why you believe what you believe?

I am not suggesting that we are wrong—nor that you are wrong.  I AM suggesting that we need to be very clear about what we believe.

Righteous indignation becomes heinous evil—very quickly—if we do not know what we know—and why.

(If you’d like to further explore the broader cognitive process here, many resources exist, including: “Personal Epistemology: The Psychology of Beliefs About Knowledge And Knowing,”edited by Barbara K. Hofer, Paul R. Pintrich.)

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6 Responses to What if we’re wrong?

  1. Sharon
    April 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    There are times in history that the persecuted in one generation went on to persecute in the next generation. We must guard ourselved against this possible cycle. We can hold dear our beliefs and believe they are based on good interpretation of the whole Bible or discipline. But these beliefs must never be the basis for persecuting or mocking those who believe differently. The truth is to be sought with our minds full of respect for beliefs of others. This does not dilute our faith rather strengthens it in an open environment. We can’t fear the beliefs of another. We should not be threatened by their existence. Again living side by side with those who follow different traditions, customs and beliefs can cause us to cherish our own even as we differ. We can only influence others as we model what we believe and that modeled lifestyle is one that they would want to investigate and pursue.

    • April 2, 2013 at 4:12 am

      Sharon, Thanks so much for this. I especially like the last line: “We can only influence others as we model what we believe and that modeled lifestyle is one that they would want to investigate and pursue.” Selah.

  2. sue
    April 2, 2013 at 10:57 am

    “When is the last time that you asked yourself such questions, not in a wavering from faith, but in a place of great strength, a place that allows for a personal dialogue to which perfect faith will stand up and represent honor, and glory—and the Divine?”

    THANK YOU FOR THIS INVITATION TO TAKE AN HONEST LOOK …INTO THE SCRIPTURE AND MY SOUL….I especially appreciate your wording…”which perfect faith WILL STAND UP…AND REPRESENT HONE AND GLORY TO OUR PRECIOUS LORD.

    • April 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

      Thanks for this! I’m glad it felt like an “invitation.” That was my intent.

  3. Jane Bailey
    April 2, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I believe that none of us have it right 100% of any given time….that’s why we must rely on a standard outside of ourselves and trust that the HS will lead us into all truth and righteousness. That’s also why we can’t lean on our own understanding. Any self dialog needs to be filtered through scripture (which is subject to interpretation), prayer, and the counsel of trusted (meaning they will tell you the truth) counselors. Even so….we can be led astray. I personally believe that believers who worship God in Spirit and in Truth will recieve correction from our loving Father……He will discipline us so that we will have life everlasting. The HS convicts us with His love and does not leave us in our untruths. He wants us to be free indeed. The truth does set us free.

    • April 2, 2013 at 11:49 am

      I appreciate this thoughtful and nuanced reply. Being in tune certainly does seem to be a key, as does a focus on Divine compassion and grace. Blessings, –N

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Nathaniel is CEO of AidChild.org. He holds a Master's Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University where he was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and winner of the 2010 Harvard HDP Marshal Award. He also holds a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego where he was the Dammeyer Fellow in Global Education Leadership, and a Cordes Fellow at Opportunity Collaboration. Nathaniel is author of "We Are Not Mahogany: Three stories about the male African life." Prior to his move to Uganda in 2000, Nathaniel was Deputy Director of the Office of the Governor of Arizona, and Director of Education at Leadership, Inc.

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