I googled myself yesterday to see if my prolific blogging has made a dent in my standing among the John Fitch’s of cyberspace. I didn’t make the first page even with “John Fitch decision” as the search criteria – very humbling. Jon Fitch, a popular “anything-goes” fighter (also a fifth-cousin of mine) crushed me by having won many of his bouts by a “decision” (Jon, in the future please knock out your opponents). Equally popular was John Fitch, the inventor of the steamboat.
I clicked on one of “steamboat” John’s links and was surprised to find that he was a major player in Philadelphia in the 1790’s concerning debates over “Epistemology”. Though it sounds very dry, epistemology is a decision that has been near and dear to my heart. My personal definition is: “Why I believewhy I believe what I believe is true”.
In the Decision Driven® Life pattern, I simplified it to keep from scaring folks away; it’s titled: “Sources of Knowledge/Truth“. I’ve framed the question as: “On what sources will I depend for knowledge and truth? How will I use these sources as the basis for my life decisions? (my epistemology or theory of knowledge).
This decision sits below my “Belief System – World View” (which constrains it and vice versa). It sits beside “Core Beliefs and Values”; if you have adopted your values from others without much critical thinking, then you probably haven’t thought much about epistemology. However, if you see yourself as engaged in a search for truth as the foundation for a life of purpose and meaning, then picking the right sources to trust (and how to blend them) becomes a vital decision.
When evaluating truth sources, I use the criteria that are shown below:
For the record, I’m an evangelical, charismatic Christian with strong trust in science. So my epistemology is a rather unique blend of trust in the Scriptures (God has spoken, but use them in context), direct revelation (God still speaks, but usually by exception) and scientific principles (they work, produce repeatable results and honor God as a wise creator). This “blended” answer scores very well against the factors that I’ve shown above; at least it has worked well for me. How do your sources of truth stack up?