- What is truth?
- What are their core beliefs?
- Are they fatalistic or do they believe they can produce change in their world?
A group’s perception of reality always colors their experiences. If they believe that their lives are always overwhelmed by forces outside their control, then they usually tend toward fatalism. Change is viewed as impossible because these forces dominate their experience—in their mind.
We need to recognize that what people say their beliefs are and this level of their sense of self are rarely identical. Professed beliefs can sometimes be a cover to protect a person from cultural suicide. Here the individual disagrees with his/her society, but knows that it will be dangerous to openly proclaim personal beliefs. For others, professed beliefs are ideals that are held up as goals to strive for because they are not yet fully internalized.
What would an objective witness to your daily walk say you believe? Does your daily life evidence what you profess? Are you a woman/man of integrity? Do you walk your talk?
[NOTE: Diagram comes from Lloyd E. Kwast’s article “Understanding Culture,” pages 397-399 in the 2009 Perspectives Reader, which was edited by Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthore.]