How Psychology Affects Our Belief Systems

There’s no denying that we are more polarized now than we ever have been. Politically, spiritually, and technologically, we have largely become a society that focuses not on objectivity, but of what “camp” we belong to and what group we subscribe ourselves to.

We all have different beliefs. Democrat/Republican. Christian/Atheist. We have different ways of looking at the world and the things we believe in. But it is important, if not useful, to remember that any belief system is influenced by your psychological makeup. No matter what you believe, there is no right and wrong.

Even Objective Beliefs Are Not Objective

Your perception of everything in the world is based on your psychology. It is based on the lens that your mind views the world. Your beliefs are never 100% objective. Even if logical and science dictate that you are likely right, you are still looking at it with some form of bias.

  • Have you ever told what seemed like a harmless joke, and one person thought it was hilarious and another thought it was offensive?
  • Have you ever seen two people argue fiercely about something they actually agreed upon? Like whether a movie is a great movie or the GREATEST movie?

It helps to realize that, even if you are 100% sure you are “right” about your belief in a religion, political view, or something else, you’re still likely not being completely objective. Reminding yourself of that can go a long way towards allowing for openness and appreciation of different perspectives, and may help you feel more comfortable with those that hold opposing views.

What if You Are “Morally Right?”

It can be hard for someone with strong, powerful beliefs to hear that they may be wrong. Indeed, there are many logical justifications for a belief. Everything from veganism to abortion to religion to human rights, there are those that feel there is no way they can be wrong. They have too much objectively logical support to be wrong in their beliefs.

It’s not always about being right and wrong, however. It is also about simply being aware of where your biases are, and how you can listen and engage with those that have competing beliefs. It is also about realizing that two people can both be right in their own way.

Above all else, it is simply learning that you can disagree with someone but still be generally comfortable with their beliefs when they are different from yours. The only universal truth is that there is power in learning to understand and love our neighbors, no matter who they are or what they believe.