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Stories from a life in progress.

Reality doesn't care what you think

Here's an idea I just plain need to get off my chest:

Reality doesn't care what you believe. It's going to keep on being real anyway.

"Now hold on," I expect at least some people to say "Belief changes things. You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe in what you can do. I believed in myself and that's what got me where I am now."

Yes. Fine. But.

The critical point here, the point that gets overlooked, is that it isn't belief which changes reality, it's action.

The two are closely linked. What you believe definitely influences how you act. But belief doesn't change anything by itself. Action is what changes things. At least some of the time, especially when doing something very hard is in order, strong belief is necessary in order to make action happen. But strong belief apart from action doesn't do a darn thing.

It's an Olympic year, which means we're soon going to have a very good object lesson in this. During the course of the games, many athletes giving many interviews will say some version of "I'm here because I believed in myself. I believed I could do this, and now I'm competing in the Olympics."

Those individuals are absolutely right. But many of those athletes will also talk about the great gigantic heaps of hard work and many sacrifices it took to get where they are today. Belief matters because it motivates that hard work. Without the hard work, no Olympics.

Strong belief changes things when it motivates action.
Strong belief, apart from action, doesn't do a darn thing.

Are we clear on that now?
Okay.
Now let me go back to my original statement:

Reality doesn't care what you believe.
Reality is going to keep on being real.

Sorry, Prof. Harold Hill.  There is no Think Method.

Sorry, Prof. Harold Hill.  There is no Think Method.

I say this because I'm not writing a blog about athletics, Olympic or otherwise. I write about faith and religion and a book which claims very firmly that it is telling the truth. I write about things that are beyond our action, beyond our ability to change. So in this sphere it matters to say ... reality doesn't care what I believe. It's going to keep on being real.

It matters because I feel fiercely driven to find real truth, to know what reality is like, and I think I've found some of it in my faith in God. I am fully convinced that the story told in the Bible is real, the story about who we are and who God is and what that means for us. I fully believe what the Bible calls the gospel of Jesus Christ, gospel meaning "good news that requires a response, because it changes everything."

I feel this so strongly that I am compelled, in the name of intellectual honesty and rigor, to tell myself "reality doesn't care what you believe. It doesn't care what you feel. It's going to keep on being real."

No matter how strongly I feel that I have found something true, I may still be deluded.
Maybe my beloved Bible is wrong.
Maybe no god is there.
Maybe the reality of the divine or supernatural is not at all what I think it is.
If I want to be sure of these things, I need evidence. I need a solid case, not mere feelings, not the strength of my own personal belief. Because my belief doesn't change reality a bit.

Feelings run high about this, in all kinds of directions. There's so much shouting in my culture about who is right on the nature of spiritual reality and why.
I know people who believe very strongly and fiercely that God is ultimate and real and I know people who believe just as strongly and fiercely that he is not.
None of us is right because of the strength of our feeling.
None of us is right because of what we believe.
Reality doesn't care what any of us believe.
It will keep on being real, and at least some of us are wrong, or maybe all of us are wrong. Maybe what's real lies somewhere else than any human proposition to date.
I don't think so. But then, I think I've found a little piece of what's real.

Which is why I need to write this post in the first place.

Reality doesn't care what I think.
It doesn't care what you think either.
It's going to keep being real.