I was listening to discussion between two individuals the other day, and one of them had this quote. You may know who I’m quoting, and if so, you might even know where I’m going with this post.
So here’s the quote:
“And people say, do you believe in God? And I think a bunch of things when I’m asked that question. Why are you asking? What do you mean “God”? What do you mean by “believe”? Then, there are reasonable objections for a question that complex. But I think a better answer is, I act as if God exists. And that begs the question, so do you believe? And well, what you believe is most appropriately expressed in your actions.”
– Jordan Peterson
And when you first hear him say this, it seems like he’s avoiding the question. Why can’t he just give a definitive yes or no? But if you think about it, he’s actually answering the question in a way you can be certain he’s not lying, and that’s much more powerful than you think.
To be clear, I’m not trying to make this a religious post, but only trying to point out a sort of hypocrisy a lot of religious and non-religious folks are guilty of, and hypocrisy might not be the right word either.
But what exactly am I pointing out?
People are so quick to announce what they believe, though their actions don’t support their claims.
Which I think that is the actual definition of hypocrisy, but the only reason I don’t want to call people hypocrites is that, it’s such a strong word, and is used far too much in the media today, and part of me feels like we’re not using the right word to describe people. I mean, if we were to critique ourselves on the level of analysis that we could, then we’d all be hypocrites, and if we were all hypocrites, there would be no reason to believe anything anyone was saying, and clearly, that’s not how the world is.
This is what I think we do too often. I think most people, they speak too quickly.
And what do I mean by this? I mean that, they speak before they think. They don’t know what they’re saying until they’ve already said it.
When I was younger, I was always told, think before you speak. This was partly because I would say a lot of things that I probably didn’t mean, and if I would have just thought about it a second longer, I might have refrained myself from saying something foolish, or I didn’t mean. As I got older, I learned to be slower to speak. I would think carefully on exactly what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it. In some cases, this might have caused me to not speak when I really should have, but overall, I think it has been a good lesson for my life.
As I continued to get older, there were always particular people I would almost feel drawn to. It’s like their words, and what they were saying, it didn’t just sound nice, but I actually believed what they were saying. And why was that? How come I could listen to two different speakers preach the same message, but at the same time believe every word one says, and be skeptical of the other?
And I think it goes back to what Peterson said in the quote I mentioned above. I act as if I believe. If you look at what he’s done in the past, look at what he’s doing now, and look at what he’ll probably do in the future, you can believe every word he says. In his own words, he is “in alignment” with himself. His words match his actions.
This is a lesson I think a lot of us still have to learn, including myself. It’s a lesson we all learned when we were little, as well. But somewhere, in the middle of growing up, we forgot how to do this, which could be partly due to the people around us don’t set a good example. That’s really all I want to see from myself and from the world. People who set good examples, for everyone.
Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
– Matthew 7:20
thanks for reading,