"Free and critical minds can emerge only by a return to the source-the primary sources. A free and critical mind takes nothing for granted and is not intimidated by "authorities" who frequently may be more confused than the general public. Free and critical minds seek truth without chauvinism or shame." - Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (1)



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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Belief versus Fear: Who Wins?


I'm just trying to get to the heart of the matter. What helps us most? Analyzing our beliefs or managing our fears?

It's gotta be belief. Belief is the only reason we are able to choose between action and inaction. We don't have to agree with the belief. We only have to believe that the belief is necessary. Belief has nothing to do with the truth which is why antelopes run for their lives instead of fight for their lives. An antelope stampede against an attacker is a powerful thing yet antelopes run because they believe running is their only choice. Likewise, a stampede of beliefs such as, I am strong, I have value, I am special, I can do this, I should do this, I can learn to do this, etc. can turn away the strongest fear. Belief is what controls us, not fear.

It's gotta be fear. No matter what we believe, fear is either a motivator or demotivator. We remember fear most. We consult with fear most. Fear is more powerful and important because it is what surfaces first and imposes its own belief upon us. Fear is a master of disguise. It presents itself as all the things that seem right and sound good. It presents itself as logic, reason, caution, safety, security, protection, self-preservation and so on. Fear is what controls us, not belief.

Which one is it really? If it all came down to belief and fear, which one would be the deciding component of our life? Which one is most important to our personal growth? Which one is most important to our personal defeats or victories? Belief or Fear? Are we better off analyzing our beliefs or managing our fears?

2 comments:

  1. Alright, I've been pondering on this for a couple of days. Belief is defined by Webster as an acceptance of something true. Fear is defined by Webster as a feeling of anxiety or agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil, pain, etc. Instinct is defined as the inborn tendency to behave in a way characteristic of a species; natural, unaccquired mode of response to stimuli. SO, while I think author has an ability to write and is insightful for attempting to discern between belief and fear in an individual's journey I question some of his findings.

    First, in my opinion, his analogy of the antelope is a misdirected analogy. He has attached human thinking, reasoning, and characteristics to animals, wild untamed animals at that. Antelope's don't run because they believe it to be their only choice they do it because it is their nature...their instinct. They are not fighting animals say a bear or lion. They are herding animals hence their safety is within that herd. Animals can not formulate a belief system, they can only function off of their God given instinct for survival. Hence, I don't believe that "belief" is the only reason one chooses to act or how to act. Each of us are also designed with an instinctive quality. Many react to a situation before a thought about what they believe is even pondered. We can't narrow the human ability to reason down to just "belief" and "fear". Some of us are fighters and some of us retreat, some are loners and some like to be part of a group. In these ways we can be compared to animals. Instinct is one quality that we have in common.

    I'll go on to differ with the author on his statement that belief has nothing to do with truth. What is true to each of us differs, but for an individual to formulate his/her belief they have to find it to be true, to have value, or it does not become their belief. You don't believe in the God I believe in, we differ there, but I formulate my belief on what I find to be true. As you find truth in the beliefs that you have formulated. The fundamental basis for a belief is truth.

    On to fear. Again, fear can not have a belief. the author made the statement that fear "... presents itself as all the things that seem right and sound good." In my own experience fear has never sounded good or felt right. Fear is not a characteristic that anyone would value. Fear in general is a negative. I say that, then I think about the bible verse about fearing God. Deuteronomy 4:10, "...Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children." Fear in this context is used as a motivator. Fear does motivate, and if that motivation is towards being productive and in a good direction then fear would have to be considered as good. As with all characteristics there is a good or positive affect as well as a bad or negative.

    I'll give credit for asking the question to begin with. It is insightful to weigh how each of these factors affect our ability to reason out life circumstances. It is interesting in my life to see how crippling fear has been at certain times to note how crippling my beliefs have been. To answer the initial question which one wins? Fear has to be controlled, it's a reaction, a belief is based on truth, the winner should always be the one that is developed out of truth.

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  2. I agree the analogy could be better. As long as this and any other post causes reflection then the major goal is being accomplished. This response states, "What is true to each of us differs."
    Please consider the following:
    I don't disagree with the statement but with the underlying implications as it applies to "the truth."
    "The truth" (what I said) is not the same as "what is true to each of us" (what the reader said)
    How can there be multiple truths such as evolution, big bang, alien experiment and creationism?
    For Bible believers, the truth is creationism.
    If mine is big bang then are both the truth?
    Clearly the truth is not divisible.
    We must go further than "what we believe to be true" to find "the truth."
    At a minimum we must investigate some, if not all, of what others believe to be true.
    Some believe Jesus is black, some believe white, does this make both true?
    Many believed Y2K would cause all machines to stop working, they believed it, acted upon it, but it wasn't truth.
    Just because you believe something, that alone doesn't make it truth, even if it's true to you.
    What you believe to be true will not set you free, only the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

    If our beliefs, especially our major ones, are based on what is true, rather than the truth, we are in danger of living out of sync (being crippled the way I've been also)
    If I believe black women are too bitter, is that the truth? Perhaps one or two are.
    The problem with Webster's definition is, it left out a word, Belief is the acceptance of something AS true.
    The difference now goes from subtle to significant.
    Continued due diligence for our lives should include asking ourselves - What do I believe AS true that ISN'T the truth?

    The other key part of Webster's definition is "acceptance."
    What do I believe simply because I have accepted it as true and therefore believe it to be "the truth?"

    I am encouraged and stimulated for more in the search for the truth.

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