Foundations 3: Inventory-taking (167)

This is the third in a series of eight to ten episodes explaining the first curriculum (called “First Steps”) in the Foundations of Flourishing teaching program.

In this episode Gregg focuses on the double-task of understanding, or “inventorying,” personal beliefs and then assessing how much one values these beliefs (and why).  At first glance “inventory taking” may seem like a simple and straightforward matter for Christians: by definition, a Christian is someone who believe the basic tenets of Christianity.

Yet in Gregg’s experience generic definitions actually prove to be more of an obstacle than an aid.  In other words, the purpose of inventory-taking is to understand more clearly what one believes, one’s personal view or “slant” on these beliefs, and where one’s beliefs comes from. As such, a crucial factor for inventory-taking is the notion of ownership, or the sense that a given belief or viewpoint is one that corresponds to my “core values.”  We can say that we “own” a belief if it takes no or low outside impetus for us to maintain and promote it.  In other words, beliefs that I own are beliefs that I intrinsically want to act upon (even if I am not consist or always successful in doing so).

Inventory-taking also includes the related notion of understanding that our beliefs have an origin, even if there might be multiple points of origin for any given belief. The point is that understanding more about where our beliefs come from helps us evaluate why we hold and value our beliefs as we do.

In the realm of inventory-taking and beliefs, John shares the process he went through to enumerate his own beliefs and encourages people to do the same. You can find the list he created at johnpoelstra.com/beliefs.

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