Many of the things we believe come down to our assumptions. We might look at someone else and think their beliefs don’t make sense, that they are irrational.
But frequently we are missing something. We are missing the set of assumptions they are relying on.
For example, think about climate change.
Then assume that the world is ending. Not that you think it might be ending or could be ending. Assume that you are 100% positive the world will come to an end in the next decade or two.
Not just a generic eschatology either. Assume one of the more common and ostensibly orthodox western evangelical Protestant Christian eschatologies: the world is about to be utterly destroyed by a supreme deity that will then bring into being a new, perfected creation.
Assume that you know for sure that those events are about to play out. Or that they have already begun.
If so, why would climate change matter?
Why would mass extinctions and biodiversity loss matter?
Why would overpopulation and population sustainability matter?
If that assumption is true then none of those things matter.
I know that it is easy to shrug this topic off. Easy to say to ourselves: no one really believes that eschatological stuff.
But they do. Some believe it fervently and it informs their every decision and defines their entire thought process.
Many have a more dynamic thought process influenced by a host of other assumptions. But this end times belief is still one of their foundational assumptions about the world. It still informs and shapes their beliefs and actions. Even if they don’t think about eschatology with any regularity it still has an influence on all their cognitive processes.