Even though I worked with him the whole summer, and we discussed such ideas often, I was never quite able to have him see my side of things and completely agree with me on this point. However, he did later admit that it was "kinda nice" for me to hold this higher standard. He even confessed that when his daughter gets older, he would probably want her to do the same things I am doing -- or is it the things that I am NOT doing? ;o)
Regardless of this small victory, there are those who still question how I can have any "fun" if I am not out drinking or just partying, in general. Although some people might mock me for my standards and declare that I will someday grow out of "such childish beliefs" (I pray that I will not!), I find that the greater part of people respect and admire my decisions. I see that more often than not, I earn much more respect from them after having known them for a while.
Surprisingly, I have many people share with me their wish that they could go backward in time and do things differently for themselves. With heads bowed and hushed voices, they reveal their regrets to me. I see the pain written across their faces and, once again, I recall why I hold to these specific standards. I hear the remorse in their voice as they implore of me not to make the same mistakes and encourage me to continue down my current path.
Although each person who asks about my beliefs does not come to agree with me on all of my convictions (nor do I expect them to do so), I have found that other's acceptance or approval is not what is important. As I mentioned earlier, these discussions truly are a means for me to make firm in my mind why I believe these things. It compels me to be sure that I believe these things for the right reasons. It causes me to be certain this is the best way, the right way of life; not simply because this is what my parents believe or raised me to believe, but because it it what I truly believe the Bible teaches.
For the most part, I find that people will change their ideas of Christianity after getting to know me a little better. Personally, I think they are just shocked that I have not smacked them on their head with my Bible! ;o) Maybe they are just amazed at how different I am from their previous conceptions. (I have to admit that I have my own inferences of people as well, so I cannot fault them too much for thinking things of me! :o) lol)
However different each person's opinions may be, regardless of their diversity in background, I notice that most people receive their ideas from the same three sources: the media, their family, and their friends. I suppose this is valid in almost any case of inference, not only those regarding Christianity.
In my experience, I have found the definition given at the onset of this paper to be true. I can see how these affect my everyday life, and I often wonder how and when people's inferences took place.
Was there one specific moment at which they came to believe as they do? Was it a gradual process? Was it simply something they never thought to change?
Inferences come about on an everyday basis. Sometimes, the ideas we make are based upon those thoughts imparted on us by our parents; other times, the choices are determined by occurrences in our lives, or even possibly actions taken against us; many times, we have no idea of the prejudices we hold; and often, we do not realize the effect that they have in our daily lives.