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gmander's avatar

What if your most cherished belief turned out to be false?

Asked by gmander (1141points) April 25th, 2011

Everything you believed turns out to be untrue.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

32 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

Then I would be wrong, and I’d have to find another religion either come to terms with it, ignore the facts.

gmander's avatar

@Blackberry – No, the point is that, without a knowledge of God, the facts are wrong. You can’t ignore them, you’d have to accept them on faith. Facts and faith are not compatible. If you believe in God because of facts then you have no belief at all.

Which should be no problem if you are religious. Faith is the greatest belief. If you lose faith, you are nothing. Do you demand truth but not faith? Then you are condemned.

Blackberry's avatar

@gmander I was being somewhat sarcastic lol.

Harold's avatar

On the contrary, finding out the facts generates faith.

If everything I believed turned out to be untrue, then I would have to look for alternatives. Haven’t found anything better, to date.

Pandora's avatar

If it was causing me no harm than I would have to believe that the new evidence is false. After all you did say a cherished belief.
Unless its something like I thought my husband was faithful and then I was to find out he wasn’t.
Then I would have to confirm the truth with a bat and that would be my new cherished memory. :D

cookieman's avatar

My most cherished belief is that my wife loves me.

I call it a “belief” because while her actions demonstrate that she loves me, I’ve seen too many examples of someone’s actions not being indicative of their true feelings.

So, I choose to believe she loves me.

If that belief turned out to be false I’d likely step in front of an oncoming train.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t have a belief so cherished that learning it was untrue would destroy my life.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have had my belief in a person thoroughly destroyed recently.
Oh well…. ;)

roundsquare's avatar

Deep breath, and start over again. I want to know the truth.

gmander's avatar

This is quite depressing really. Does no one have an intresting response?

crisw's avatar

The reason, perhaps, for the lack of interesting responses is the implausibility of the question.

Many of us don’t hold tightly to any “beliefs” unless they are supported by the evidence available to us. In that case, the likelihood of those beliefs being false is reduced. The more beliefs one holds without evidence (or despite the evidence), the more likely that those beliefs are false (or, at least, unsupportable.)

everephebe's avatar

What if your most cherished belief turned out to be false?

They often do. I’m disillusioned for a while and then find new “beliefs” to “cherish.” Santa & god were never my most cherished beliefs. True love was once, but I figured that one out soon enough.

Disillusionment is my only real answer.

gmander's avatar

@Harold – If you are not a Christian then faith is not required as far as I know. my understanding is that faith is a cornerstone of Christianity. Perhaps I am wrong. Please enlighten me.

Blondesjon's avatar

Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, and Reagonomics turned out to be untrue.

I got over it and moved on.

spoiler alert: that’s mainly what life is. getting over shit and moving on. if you can’t, you eventually drown in the shit you’re wallowing in and die.

Rarebear's avatar

Then I update my beliefs. This has happened to me many times.

thorninmud's avatar

The religion I grew up in strongly implied that the world as we know it would end in 1975. That date came and went and the most traumatic thing that happened was that MaryAnn Kozinski failed to appreciate my great potential as a suitor.

The message from the leadership shifted to say that if people had pinned their hopes on a particular date, well that was their problem, not God’s, but that in any case the world would be transformed just any year now. None of my friends went to college after graduating—what was the point?

It wasn’t long before I decided that this world is the one we’re stuck with, for better or for worse, and that I should just get busy doing what I can to make it a better place. But a whole lot of the people I grew up with are still out there waiting, waiting, waiting…In their eyes, I lacked faith. They probably assumed that I just wanted to go out and whoop it up rather than wait for God to do his thing.

I remember sometime before 1975 asking my mother, “What if nothing happens in 1975?” She wouldn’t even consider the hypothetical. It just couldn’t work out that way, so why even let the mind entertain the idea? She’s now in her 80s, still faithful as can be, still fretting over my waywardness.

leopardgecko123's avatar

If my faith in God turned out to be false (i mean if God was not real) I would die, for I am nothing without God. God made me. If he is not real, I am not real. Behold, God is the only living God, who created the stars and heavens and the earth we walk upon everyday. My belief is based on belief.

Rarebear's avatar

@thorninmud If you don’t mind my asking, what religion was that?

Harold's avatar

@gmander – From a Christian persepective, faith is defined as “the evidence of things unseen”. Therefore, although I believe that God exists and that there is ample evidence of this, faith is the final step in applying that evidence to His existence, because He is not able to be seen, and therefore can’t ultimately be proven. From my understanding, those who choose a purely scientific rationale for their operating system say there is no room for faith in what they believe. However, at the risk of continuing a conversation on a past thread, I believe that it requires faith that those who have conducted the experiments/done the research have (a) done it correctly (b) not fudged or tampered with the results© logically extrapolated what they have observed in the present to what happened in the past.

For me, this is a greater leap of faith than accepting the existence of God. Therefore, I don’t see that Christianity is the only belief system that requires faith. Feel free to disagree, which I am sure you will. No interesting discussions if we all see things the same way!

SavoirFaire's avatar

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
—John Maynard Keynes (attributed)

“A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”
—Alexander Pope

I don’t cherish beliefs, and I am skeptical by nature. I do cherish the truth, however, so I’m all for having my beliefs undermined whenever possible. Just as important as what you believe, after all, is why you believe it.

Rarebear's avatar

Interesting. I wonder if the JW are also part of the May 21, 2011 belief.

crisw's avatar


That seems to be more just Harold Camping, a really lunatic old guy who previously thought the world would end in 1994. Unfortunately, he seems to have attracted quite a lot of followers- and their $$$.

Rarebear's avatar

@crisw Oh, I know who he is as he’s local from Oakland. There are billboards up all over the place around here. I was just wondering if the JWs are jumping on the bandwagon.

dabbler's avatar

Yikes! That sounds crazy. I mean actually crazy.

Rarebear's avatar

@dabbler Lest you think I’m making this up. Link

crisw's avatar


I want to paint a steaming pile of shit under that guy on the billboard…it would just be so apropos, given his position!

ETpro's avatar

That’s what I like about agnosticism. If my most cherished belief, that I don’t knwo, turned out to be false and suddenly I did know, I would be delighted beyond measure.

augustlan's avatar

I would have a new belief.

dabbler's avatar

@Rarebear No I didn’t think you made any of that up, that sort of thing is way too available. I meant to answer the initial question. If really fundamental things I thought were true, suddenly were not, the effect on the mind is akin to crazy. Not like stuff that already looks like ‘faith’ but things like gravity and what’s solid and not. Afloat in disorientation so profound it would be hard to hope to find the shore. Life turns into a bad movie that doesn’t end.
Stepping back from such an incapacitating shift, I go with your tack and the nice list from @SavoirFaire to change my mind (yay Keynes!) and develop new beliefs – that’s called learning ! yay!

Aster's avatar

I’d have to ask what my most cherished belief is to answer the question. My reaction to it being untrue would range from surprise to major depression I suppose.

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