Updated: Sep 1, 2019
"I'm glad it works for you, but that's not me."
"You do you."
"I'm not religious, but if that makes you happy..."
Those sentences, or something similar, have become such a principle people live by. Let's be honest, people who say that normally just mean they think your idea's stupid but they don't want to offend you or hear what you have to say. Nowadays, everyone gets offended at everything, and political correctness has become more important than telling the truth.
Anyway, in a world where we are taught that everyone can believe what they want to, we aren't allowed to have strong opinions. And we definitely aren't allowed to force them on people. But the huge, blaring problem with this is that, even though we'd loved to accept everyone and everything for what they are, the truth is that most of us are wrong about life and some of its biggest questions. And the even bigger problem is that we're going to suffer the consequences for our false beliefs.
Ouch. We don't like the way that sounds, do we? Unfortunately, the truth isn't that everything will always be easy. But just because it isn't comfortable doesn't mean that we can ignore the truth and live in a world where we make the rules.
Why not? Wouldn't it be easier if we all just did our own thing?
Here are some very basic reasons why everyone believing their own truths doesn't work.
1. We don't make the rules.
Let's start out with this. We don't make the rules. Yes, we have bosses who write curriculum and enforce instructions, but I'm talking about foundational rules. Like what the meaning of life is. When someone dies. Whether gravity keeps us on the ground or has us floating around space. Whether the sun rises or doesn't today.
There are so many things we can't control. So why do we then think we are capable of deciding what is true or not?
2. Just because we think something is true doesn't mean we're right.
Let's say we were born color blind. For our whole lives, we've seen the world in black and white. It is perfectly reasonable for us to believe that colors don't exist. But that doesn't mean they don't. Everyone else around us sees in color, so that makes our statement "there is no color" false.
What about the Loch Ness Monster? Some people swear up and down that they saw it, but that doesn't mean that they're right. There are a lot of things they could've seen, but a monster is not one of them. But I bet they believe it as much as they believe they're alive.
People believe that they've overcome cancer and then die, people think they're talented at singing then become the laughingstock on AGT, people believe that their boyfriends are faithful while they're cheating on them.
We're not reliable. We don't know everything. We observe things but often come to the wrong conclusion about them. If we're wrong so many times, how can we trust ourselves to have the "right truth" about everything else?
3. We have contradictory truths that make it impossible for them all to be true.
If I say I am 24 years old, and you say I'm 37, one of us is wrong. I can't be both 24 and 37, no matter how strongly we both believe that we're right. Sure, there are things that are subjective (for example, I don't like burgers. I know. Burn me at the stake.), but there are some things, like my age, that aren't a subjective opinion.
Like how we get to heaven. If one of us believes that Jesus is the only way to be saved, and the other believes there are a lot of options, one of us is wrong. Jesus can't be the only way and there also be a lot of options. And the risk of being wrong on this point has eternal implications.
There are so many more reasons I could argue against us making our own rules. Unfortunately, we can't decide what's true or not based on our feelings. Human perception is faulty, so we cannot rely on ourselves.
It's hard, I know. Sometimes I wish I could just do my own thing, be selfish, do what I want to do. But that's not the world we live in. And I'd much rather find the real truth than fool myself into thinking I'm good when I couldn't be more wrong.
What is truth, then? Read this post for more on how to discover truth.