Does it really matter what I believe as long as I believe in something?
As long as your belief helps you, isn’t that all that matters?
The idea behind statements such as these is that there is no absolute truth to believe in, and thus the act of believing is all there is. We all believe in something, as Edgar Sheffield Brightman states, “A thinker cannot divest himself of real convictions, and it is futile to pose as having none” (E.S. Brightman in H.N. Wieman, B.E. Meland (eds.), American Philosophies of Religion, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1936).
The idea of finding any truth or meaning to life has escaped modern man. This statement reflects the inability to conceive of something outside of one’s self: “There are no rules by means of which we would discover a purpose or a meaning of the universe” (Hans Reichenbach, The Rise of Scientific Philosophy, p. 301).
Even though we live in a day in which we all have definite beliefs about things, the climate seems to be the act of belief rather than any real object of belief. “Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact,” states pragmatist William James.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Belief will not create fact. Truth is independent of belief. No matter how hard I may try, believing something will not make it true. For example, I may believe with all my heart that I want it to snow tomorrow, but this will not guarantee snow. Or I may believe that my run-down old car is really a new Rolls Royce, but my belief won’t change the fact.
Belief is only as good as the object in which we put our trust. Someone may come to me and say, “Hey, let’s go for a ride in my new plane!” If I come to find out that his plane hardly runs at all and he does not even have a pilot’s license, then my faith, no matter how much I have, is not well-founded.
My faith won’t create a great pilot out of my friend once we are in the sky! However, if another friend of mine comes along and makes the same offer, but he is a certified pilot with a new plane, then my trust has a much more solid base. So it does matter what I believe, for my believing it does not make it true.
The Bible also emphasizes the fact that it is vital what one believes. Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24, MLB). We are also told, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36, KJV).