I struggle with obsessive-compulsive beliefs. At work today, we had something all over the register. It was believed that it could have been vomit or spittle, and I think at the end it was agreed to be spittle. I’m gone. I’m heading to the rest room to wash my hands at a pace that would make Clark Kent catch his breath.
One problem where this happens is in the area of religious thought. I think of what I have an MP3 of Gary Habermas saying. Habermas asks how many people have doubted their salvation before. I have heard him speak on this live and I raised my hand and was amazed at how many other people raised their hands as well. He ties this in at one point with factual doubt.
He talks about someone hearing a lecture on the resurrection and the evidences for it and saying “I’ll never doubt again!” Then the question comes of “How long do you think that’ll last?” The answer is, until a thought comes of “What if Habermas doesn’t know what he’s talking about?” Then, “What if he knows but he’s wrong and he’s just ugly and stupid?” It leads to, “What if the resurrection really isn’t true?” and then concludes in “I’m doubting the resurrection. I must not be a Christian.”
How many of us have done this? We’ll come up with strange beliefs and then think, “Ah! All of a sudden I see so much evidence for this!” If we were thinking rationally, we wouldn’t see that, but our emotions overpower our rationality and in fact, they do not allow us to think rationally.
Habermas asks us to make a distinction and realize that A does not cause C. He speaks of Actions and Consequences. We seem to connect the two together automatically. Habermas says that there is a letter in between for Beliefs. What happens to us is not as bad as what we say about it.
<> Consider the dilemma a single guy like myself has to face in being unlucky in love. You ask a girl out. She says no. Alright. That’s one. You ask another out. She says the same. You ask another out. She goes out but breaks it off after the first date. You come across one and you have a good relationship but she breaks it off also.
Now the best thing to do is to realize that this kind of thing could be normal. Now maybe sometimes, you are a jerk and you do have a problem, but is that always the case? How we handle it will depend on the beliefs we interpret from the actions. If I interpret them as saying “I’m unlovable and will never get married,” well don’t be surprised if my confidence is shot. If I instead say “I didn’t win that time, but there are millions of lovely ladies out there and I only have to marry one,” I could do better.
Another case involves being on break tonight in our break room and having a friend in ministry come in and one of the grandmother types in jewelry. Now my friend is one of those that is quite fundamental in my eyes and freaks at the thought that I love Harry Potter for instance. In some ways, around others in my field, I always feel inferior. Even as I sit here, I can’t think of why I should feel that way.
<> Well, the lady in there talks to me later and says she’s so proud of me and is glad that I’m going into the field I am and compares me to her late husband who was so in her words “Full of the Spirit.” I’m listening and realizing how erroneous my beliefs were. I had allowed a B to come in based on an A that wasn’t accurate and was causing me to have a view of myself that I was, as Habermas says, downloading.
What’s the cure tonight then? Watch what you tell yourself. Watch the beliefs that you give yourself. See if you’re not making up cases that aren’t true and that if you were thinking straight, you’d realize aren’t true. Don’t you want to live your life according to true beliefs and not false ones?
Good news for the night! You could be wrong!