Never be a sheep

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My father was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known – and one of the most irritating.

My father was a great skeptic and questioned all things around him. He was a student of religious and political texts and his opinions were well formed as the result of constant study and thought. Once he had an opinion, very little could change his mind.

He once told me, “Never be a sheep. Sheep are often led to slaughter.”

As I grew up and evaluated the great questions of life, I began to talk to my father about values and ideals. When I would express an idea as fact, he would say “How do you know that? On what do you base your opinion?”

My father came from a family where debate was the norm. It was said that my grandfather would argue with a sign post just to get a rise out of the sign post. He delighted in playing devil’s advocate.

While it made for aggravating times, these discussions kept me on my toes. I couldn’t be part of the discussion without knowing what and more importantly WHY I believed what I believe.

What do you believe? We’re assaulted by information every day. From the television, newspapers, magazines, the internet, Twitter… the list goes on and on.

How do you make decisions on political issues? From the TV? Why do you believe them? Because they say they are “fair and balanced”?

What about the internet? Do you believe the internet? Even Wikipedia is having to put measures in place to help people evaluate the “facts” given to see if they are true…

So what do you base your beliefs on?