Graduate from believing to knowing

When we don't take kindly to opposing viewpoints, we're really showing that our own views are not resilient enough

Under water fish

Once, two friends were debating the existence of God. While one dismissed the idea of a traditional God, the other campaigned for an almighty that ran the universe. Each tried his best to convert the other to his viewpoint.

Towards the end, the debate turned serious as contrasting opinions became the point of contention. The believer became so offended with the non-believing friend that he stopped talking to him.

When someone questions our beliefs, how we react tells a lot about the strength of our own conviction. Unless we have absolute confidence in what we believe, the slightest provocation can shake us.

In the above anecdote, the believer becoming offended clearly indicates that he has a long way to go in strengthening his own belief. He shunned communication with his friend because perhaps he realised that if he continued listening to opinions that so conflicted his beliefs, he was in danger of becoming transformed into a non-believer.

So in reality, what disturbed him was not his friend’s views, but his own insecurity. His friend merely became a catalyst for bringing it to surface.

When we don’t take kindly to opposing viewpoints, we’re really showing that our own views are not resilient enough. Unless our conviction comes from a knowing, and not blind faith, it will always be wobbly.

Knowing is the result of having experienced a phenomenon firsthand. When we know, we are sure of it—it is no longer a belief. For instance, if you can drive, you don’t say you ‘believe’ you can drive—you say you know driving. No one can challenge you on it. And if anyone does, you will simply laugh the arguments away because your knowing supersedes all opinions.

Coming back to the two friends, let’s presume they meet again after several years—this time the friend who took offence is no longer a mere believer. He has become a ‘knower’. Do you think there is scope for a similar debate to ensue? Unlikely. Because absolute truth cannot be debated. The knower simply knows—let others believe what they will.

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Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri is a highly experienced wellbeing consultant. He is also a writer-editor and has written on topics ranging from strategic marketing and business management to art, culture and even philosophy. His more than 1250 published stories—articles, interviews, full-length features—have appeared in some of the leading newspapers and magazines of India. A certified cognitive behavioural therapist, he works as a personal counsellor too. He is the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed self-improvement book based on powerful ideas of some of the greatest thought leaders. Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".


  1. I think that sometimes we ‘know’ but continue to pretend we believe because that’s more comfortable.Hence when confronted about our beliefs our own insecurities surface.Though believing may be comfortable knowing is surely more liberating.
    This is one of my favourite from Manoj Khatri, absolute pleasure to read. Always look forward to your articles.


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