We all fear being wrong. Nobody likes to be embarrassed, hurt, or put down because they made an error. This is, to a large degree, a very sensible fear that often leads us to seek truth and avoid error.
On the other hand, if taken too seriously, such an attitude can cripple us. It is like insisting, “I’d hate to trip and fall while walking, so I’m only going to use a wheelchair to get around.” Now a wheelchair is a perfectly respectable means of transportation, but if you can walk, then you are limiting yourself more than is necessary.
In the big picture, there are two primary responsibilities we have when it comes to deciding what to believe:
1. Believe as many important true beliefs as possible.
2. Avoid believing as many important false beliefs as possible.
If we prefer responsibility #1 to responsibility #2, then we will live with a healthy, trusting attitude towards life. Of course we need both commitments to be a responsible thinker. But if we try to put responsibility #2 before responsibility #1, then we will become too cynical, jaded, and suspicious to have much confidence in believing anything at all.