Do you really believe that?

Sometimes even when someone sincerely says that she believes something, it is not clear that she really believes it. This may be so even when she says she strongly believes it. My favorite example is this: A fundamentalist Christian sincerely says she believes that anyone who does not accept Jesus as his savior will go to Hell and be burnt forever there. Does she really believe this? Well, it depends. Suppose her parents do not believe in Jesus and she had tried several times to convert them but gave up eventually. Now if she really believed that her parents will be burnt in Hell forever, she should not have given up so easily. Just imagine that her parents are going to drink something that she believes to be fatally poisonous; she has tried to convince them not to drink it but failed. If she loves her parents and believes that what they are going to drink is poisonous, she will certainly not give up. If they still don’t listen, she will try something more drastic. And don’t forget that being killed by poison is less painful than being burnt, and much much less painful than being burnt forever.

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