We are what we think.
All that we are arises
With our thoughts.
With our thoughts,
We make our world.
– The Buddha

Yesterday’s post was not the greatest writing I have ever done. It was one of the most satisfying things that I have written though, because I didn’t let the lack of inspiration stop me. Today’s reading was more thought provoking – more ideas and fewer stories. The main topic was a further exploration of belief. The book defines “three categories of belief: opinions, beliefs, and convictions.” Opinions are the weakest of these beliefs, we generally believe that they are true but we can easily be convinced otherwise. The next level of belief is actually titled “belief.” These were originally opinions, however they are now supported by experiences, especially experiences that we associate with strong emotions. These evidences lead us to have a sense of certainty about our belief. When a belief has been reinforced enough it becomes a conviction, it is unquestioned by the person.

I found this three-tiered definition to be remarkably similar to Neal A. Maxwell’s discussion of truths in his article “The Disciple Scholar1” and to David A. Bednar’s method for separating spiritual truths into categories.  In the interest of my still developing writing muscles I am going to be limiting the remainder of this post to examining how Maxwell and Bednar’s first levels of truth correspond to Robbins’ “opinions”. The first level of truth Maxwell identifies is filled with “accurate descriptions of reality” such as the current temperature or the color of your car. While these types of truth can be interesting, they do not have any real value because they can change at any moment. This definition is not an exact fit with Robbins’ “opinions” but I believe it helps develop the idea. Bednar’s first level – what he calls “application” – really helps to finish the idea.  Applications are things that answer the question of “what.” For instance: “What was last known position of flight MH370?”  Taken together these varying definitions create a clearer image of  “opinion.” It is focused on the immediate – the mental equivalent of Trivial Pursuit- it holds many interesting things, but they are of little relevance to our existence and have a negligible impact on our behavior. Tomorrow I will continue on with the analysis how these three categorization methods relate to each other.

As a final thought, starting today and continuing indefinitely I am going to be answering these three questions at the end of each blog. The purpose of these questions is to help me remember to be focused on constant and never-ending improvement. Feel free to answer these questions in the comments if you wish. I found it to be a very interesting exercise.

What have I learned today?

I learned more about command line computer code as part of me endeavor to learn the Python programming language.

What did I contribute or improve?

Hopefully this blog is something that will affect someone in a positive way.

What did I enjoy?

I enjoyed spending time with a friend that my wife and I have not seen for several months. I also enjoyed cutting the grass for the first time this year.


1 Henry B. Eyring, ed., On Becoming a Disciple Scholar, p.1-23


One thought on “Belief”

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