Why do people persist in believing things that are not true? For example, multitudes of people believe that heaven is the reward for good behavior. This is an horrific lie, but more people believe it than don't. Others believe that heaven is the reward for diligent faithfulness. This also is a condemning lie, but more folks believe it than don't. Others believe that you don't even go to heaven when you die as a Christian--that you go to some kind of purgatory, or some place of soul-sleep until God decides to release you. These concepts have no support from the Word of God, but more people believe them than don't. Still others believe that the evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer is some kind of ecstatic experience like "holy laughter", or "speaking in tongues", or "boldness in witness", or some other ecstasy. But these things are also flawed interpretations of the Bible. So, to return to our original question: why do people persist in believing things that are not true?
There are a multitude of answers.
One such answer is to be found in these words: an unexamined faith. Multitudes of people do not know that they are believing things that are not true because they don't spend much, or any, time examining the content of the things they believe. For example, there are multitudes of people who think that their particular approach to religious truth is based upon something solid, but when they have to face death--either the possibility of their own, or that of someone they really liked--they are very much afraid.
If they were willing to examine their faith, they would discover that the fear of death and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are in mutual contradiction of each other. What would their willingness to examine their faith in the face of their fear mean? It would mean one of two things: a) either the content of what they believe is wrong; or, b) their claim to faith is simply that; a claim and not a genuine belief. Both are possible.
But, most people simply do not want to have to face these questions. They don't want to discover that they have believed in lies. They don't want to have to face the fact that they have simply been willing to settle comfortably into an illusion instead of searching for the truth. But, eternity is a long time to be wrong.
What if a person does manage to accumulate status, wealth, and relative health in this world--and then dies to face eternity and its awesome possibilities for fear, pain, and loss having believed a pack of lies? When he faces God and is asked why he lived an unexamined life, what will he say? God is not impressed with the pursuit of material wealth; He is not impressed with our acquisition of the favorable opinion of our contemporaries; He is not impressed with our physical fitness and stamina. If we have to admit that we didn't think being right about what we believe was worth much effort, He will have no sympathy--because He said in His Word: Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom. But with all of your getting, get understanding.
Are you living an unexamined life?