Monday, February 15, 2010

Everything You Know is Wrong

Awhile back twenty sided tale, a blog I follow, posted a link to this video. The video's a fan made music video for a Weird Al Yankovich song. The song is funny and rather strange, like most Weird Al songs, but it got me thinking about something more serious.

I started to think about what it was like when I converted to Christianity. I remember what it was like when I started to think about things in a new way. I remember how it felt when I realized that I could no longer rely on my existing beliefs. They no longer seemed as certain as they once had. For a time it really did seem as though everything I once knew was wrong.

It seemed that way because my worldview was changing. Worldviews provide a stable framework that allow us to make sense of the world we live in. If our worldview shifts, we lose that sense of stability.

Worldviews provide stability in a few ways. First of all, along with a worldview comes certain assumptions; things that we believe are true without needing evidence or proof. Before I was a Christian I assumed that the scientific method was a reliable and sufficient method to find truth. I assumed that anything that existed could be understood scientifically. That assumption, along with a few others, formed the basis of my worldview.

These assumptions informed my understanding of the world. They allowed me to know and understand things about the world. They were the tools I used to determine what was true and what was false. They also helped me to judge what was potentially true. In other words, my worldview helped decide what I believed was possible and what I thought was impossible.

Around the time when I converted to Christianity my worldview began to shift. My basic assumptions about the world started to change. This had quite a few significant consequences.

First of all, since I could no longer be certain that my basic assumptions about reality were true, I was no longer entirely sure what was true and what was false. I still had strong opinions, of course, but I lacked certainty. I just couldn't be sure what was true or false because I wasn't entirely sure what I believed at a basic level.

Even worse than that, I was no longer certain I knew what was possible and what was impossible. I remember that there were times when it seemed like anything and everything might be possible. I say that and it might sound wonderful or amazing, but it was actually quite terrifying. If we're certain that some things are just impossible it provides a sense of security and comfort. Without that certainty, one can never feel completely safe.

Over time my new beliefs began to settle. My new worldview started to take shape. Once again I had some basic assumptions, a way to determine what is true and what is false, and a way to determine what is possible and what is impossible. It took awhile, but I've gained a new sense of stability and security.

I think changing worldviews is often a difficult and uncomfortable process, but in my case it has been more than worth it. Not only have I gained a broader perspective, by tearing apart my old beliefs and reexamining them, but I've also gained so much by learning to believe in and to trust in God.

I hope you found this post interesting. I also hope that if any of you are reexamining your beliefs that this post is helpful for you.

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