Mon May 28 23:42:41 EDT 2007

Thoughts on Religion

I was thinking about beliefs and religion the other day.

TRUTH

Truth is what actually is, the way things really are. Truth is independent of knowledge, belief, awareness, ideology, and so on. Truth Is.

REALITY

Reality is a subset of Truth. Reality is the world we exist in, where we spend our everyday lives. There might be more to Truth than just Reality, but there is certainly not more to Reality than Truth.

PERCEIVED REALITY

Perceived Reality is the part of Reality we're aware of. We perceive it through our senses. It is not the same as Reality because our senses are limited in time, space, and capability, they're error-prone, and they're imprecise. Perceived Reality is not a subset of Reality, because sometimes we perceive things that are not real, due to our faulty senses and our misinterpretation of what we've sensed.

BELIEF

Belief is what we think is Truth. People believe things. Some things that people believe are actually Truth. Other things are not. It's very difficult to tell the difference, because we base our beliefs on our Perceived Reality, which is two steps away from Truth.

IDEOLOGY

Ideology is a system of Beliefs, generally held in common by a group of people who agree to believe the same things. Religions are ideologies. Science, the belief system built upon the scientific method, is also an ideology. Many people don't think they have an ideology, but if they're not spending every moment of every day questioning what their senses are telling them, then they believe in some kind of perceived reality, and that counts as an ideology.

I think a lot of the problems people have occur when their ideology includes two beliefs: that their ideology is Truth, and that anyone who doesn't agree with their ideology must be converted or eliminated. The latter requires the former; no one would believe that they must forcibly convert non-believers if they're not sure of the truth of their own beliefs. Conversely, if you can accept that your own beliefs are based on a distorted and inaccurate perception of reality, and that the things you believe may not be Truth, then you'll be much more tolerant of the beliefs of others... they might have something to teach you, afterall.

Therefore, tolerance of others is the best policy; seek to understand their beliefs, so that you might find your way closer to Truth.

-----

Posted by Douglas Webb | Permalink | Categories: General