Philosophies of Men – Example (Confidence)

Philosophies of Men – Example (Confidence)


B: Take, for instance, the idea of confidence.  Some people swear by it; that is, they feel that the only proper way for someone to behave is with confidence.  I’m not questioning the idea that acting with confidence can help bring a lot of success in things, but is it really true that this approach is always appropriate, and to be blindly followed for all situations?  Might it be possible that there could be some scenario in which it’s better to deliberate about something before “confidently” making a brash decision one doesn’t know is right?

A: Isn’t that what they call “faith?”

B: Faith in what?  In one’s own ability to always make correct decisions?  Does anybody really have that ability?  Somebody may be confident, but he’s also fallible; he may “confidently” make a severely disastrous decision from time to time.  Worse yet, in a lot of cases people think “confidence” means to never doubt oneself, or one’s own decision, and so they won’t consider any alternatives, or admit that their decision may not have been the best one, since otherwise they feel they would be betraying that critical air of confidence they’ve been trying so hard to maintain, because supposedly such an admittance would reveal a weakness of some sort.

A: That’s just a lack of humility.

B: Right, and I’m not sure if humility has any place in the world’s definition of “confidence.”  Humility has to include the willingness to recognize weakness within oneself.  Humility – what the religious may also call “penitence” – is undoubtedly one of God’s favorite traits, even if the world seems to frown upon it.  If it takes humility to worship God, then what is its absence?  What the world calls “confidence” may thus be sometimes akin to worship of oneself.

A: Do you have a more specific example of this practice of confidence being incorrect?

B: Actually, beyond the hypothetical situations I was just conjecturing – no, not off the top of my head.  But even in the absence of any example that I can come up with, if this practice has its roots as a philosophy of men – and I know of no scripture in holy writ that supports it, without exception, as eternal truth – then one should be careful before committing to live by it always.  Indeed, I would advise against ever committing to live by any philosophy of men, no matter how sound it – er – sounds.


A: What if the philosophy of men coincides with God’s word?

B: I wouldn’t really classify such a coincidence as a “philosophy of men,” since it originally came from God anyway.  If it differs from God’s word in any way, it is a philosophy of men – even if “mingled” with scripture.  Otherwise, it’s God’s word.

A: What, buddy, would you have us make decisions unconfidently?!

B: No, there’s undoubtedly some truth in the idea that one should be somewhat confident, at least.  And everybody knows that it’s plenty easy to get lost in endless deliberation about things – including even the smallest or most trivial of decisions; it’s enough to make anybody go crazy.  But then again, should we blindly follow some decision we made earlier when we were simply trying to avoid excessive deliberation in an effort to be “confident,” as the world says we should?  There’s no question that for at least some things, we need to consider that we might be wrong.  My own personal advice would be – yes, go into something with confidence, holding nothing back, but be willing to reevaluate things from time to time.

But the main point that I’m trying to get at here is that behaving with what the world calls “confidence” may be, at its root, a philosophy of men, even if there is some truth to it, and should thus be viewed with caution, as is the case with all philosophies of men.

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