I deeply care about how I can make the most out of what I have. I obsess about efficiency and I try my best to find the tools that can help me become more productive. This post is about belief systems and how striving to have a better one in place is the least that we can do if we are serious about taking better decisions. After all, better decisions lead to more productive use of resources.
Because belief systems are something very personal, let me make this clear before I proceed. I am an atheist but I don’t have any issues with believers. I may not understand the tonnes of things that people do in the name of God but I respect people’s freedom of choice. Actually, I’ve pondered about this long enough to come to a point where I understand the need for religion in our society as it exists today (but why’s that is for another day).
So you ask, “If I am ok with all other belief systems then why am I writing this post?”
I am writing this because I think for those who really care about taking better decisions, having a better belief system is absolutely essential.
So you ask, “Why do belief systems matter to making decisions?”
A few days ago I wrote about how if we hone our instincts at a particular task, it frees up our brainpower to do more creative things. When doing a task repeatedly we can develop muscle memory and store some vital information in the sub-conscious mind, to help free the conscious mind to do more. Thus, once the instincts have been developed (like balancing the bicycle while riding) then we let our sub-conscious do most things and actively use the conscious mind to do more important/creative things (like avoiding colliding with that car in front or doing a wheelie).
Similarly, when taking decision, we rely heavily on what underpins our thought process – our belief system. Having built this belief system over the years we find ourselves in a position where we can rely on only a limited set of data points to take any decision. If you did not have a belief system (efficient or not), you would have had to gather so many more data points to take decisions on simple things like whether you should steal your neighbour’s car or not.
So you ask, “Where do better belief systems come in picture?”
Well, clearly if belief systems play such a fundamental role in absolutely everything we do then having better belief systems will help us take better decisions.
So you ask, “What makes a belief system better?”
A belief system that is based on more accurate beliefs about the world around us will help us deal with our lives better and thus make a better belief system. Aligning ourselves with how the world really works must surely lead to best data points to take decisions, no?
This brings me to the main concern of this post, I believe that believing in God is not a good system of belief because it does not agree with the world as we know it. Directly or indirectly, belief in God can make us take decisions which do not agree with the reality of our world. It can induce people to believe in homeopathy or worse, alternative medicine. It can make scientists believe in lucky charms . The list of crazies goes on…
I know what you are thinking now, “Yes, people do irrational things all the time… it won’t affect me. My relationship with God is just for having a sense of peace in my life. I won’t do these things.” We all suffer from the illusion of control, wake up.
And if you still find that certain beliefs don’t affect your decisions then it’s best to get rid of them now, for you never know when they might. It’s better to not be affected than being affected negatively, right?
Changing belief systems is hard. I know because I spent a good deal of time trying to get over the concept of karma which was an integral part of my way of thinking. No one had put it there, I’d developed it by observing those around me. But when reality struck me and the evidence stared me in the face, I couldn’t ignore it.
Of course, if you don’t agree with reality of the world as is shown by the evidence that we have then I am not going to argue with you. But if you do believe that we live in this world which follows certain rules and regulations then, with all due to respect to your belief systems, I think that you can take much better decisions in life if you don’t believe in God.