Source of Authority

What do you believe...and why?

Socrates is purported to have uttered the famous statement, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The quote is repeated by anyone who suggests that people ought to examine their lives, their motives, their underlying causes, whatever they may be. The statement is repeated, I suppose, in every philosophy class offered in Western society, not to mention many self-help efforts...and with good cause—the statement and the advice are beneficial. Everyone should examine what they believe and why they believe what they do. In all honesty, to understand what you believe requires a certain amount of in-depth examination accompanied by forthright and clear answers to a number of questions.

Do you know what you believe? Most people can articulate what they believe, at least in general terms. Maybe the more pressing question is, “Do you know why you believe what you believe?” It is far more likely that answering that question is a greater challenge. In fact, answering that question requires some real thinking.

Do you know why you believe what you believe? The simple answer is due to the inputs of family, friends, educational institutions from elementary school to the highest levels of learning. We have been and are instructed by the media, the television, the news outlets, the magazine and newspaper writers, billboard signs, religious organizations, the internet, and the occasional sore thumb that quickly teaches us to keep our fingers clear when hammering a nail. My point is simply that what we believe is the summation of the inputs of multiple sources of information. Taken together, these instructors have successfully formed thoughts and beliefs within us that are as ingrained in our person as the roots of an old oak tree that extend far deeper than what appears on the surface.

The challenge

My point in bringing this up is to challenge you to consider what you believe and why you believe what you do. Of course, we are not discussing why you like spaghetti and not egg plant parmigiana. What we are discussing is what you believe about your selection of source of authority—in other words, why do you look at the world the way you do? I am suggesting you examine which primary strain of thought (source of authority) you have made yourself a member.

I challenge you to examine what you believe about God and why you have come to those conclusions. Were your beliefs and decisions about God based upon the opinions of others? On the negative views of those who dislike God? On the recommendations or worse, the disparaging remarks of those who point people away from God? These are important questions that should be answered.

I challenge you to look into this matter. The clear declaration of the Bible is that everyone will be accountable for what they believe...and what they did with what they believe. The matter is of great gravity. The consequences of what we believe extends beyond what is apparent to us at this present hour.

Come, join me in this discussion! May something that is written in these pages cause you to ponder the most important questions of all—those that pertain to our existence and those that pertain to the existence of God.

My best to you!