What we believe is highly conditional on what we have been taught.
I was listening to NPR last week and they were doing a story on Tienanmen Square. They focused on how little the present generation knows about what happened 20 years ago. The Chinese government has succeeded in making Tienanmen Square a non-topic.
They interviewed a University student in Beijing. This girl knew only a vague, government-sanitized version of the massacre. She knew that were other opinions and accounts out there, but she finds them suspect since they are promoted by westerners. She was more likely to trust her government's view.
It reminded me of the rhetoric of many of my fellow Christians. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard Christians proclaim a certain view to be lacking credibility because it was given by "the liberal media". Of course, I am no different. For me,anything said by Sean Hannity is going to be highly suspect.
What is most interesting to me is how quick we are to condemn this behavior in others, but forgive it of ourselves.
For example, Mormons will often get grief for accepting the Book of Mormon accounts of history, when archeological evidence is contrary. However, if a Christian (in my circles) takes a similar stance, this is regarded as being faithful. I saw this one evening at a bible study. There was a movie being discussed in which the body of Jesus was found. Someone asked, "What would become of your faith if such a thing happened?" One person quickly countered that he would not believe it. If he had a choice between believing the event, or believing the bible, he would believe the bible every time.
Same thought line. However, in our case it is faithfulness; for others it is foolishness.
What you believe and to what you dedicate yourself seems to be driven in large part by where you were raised. If you grew up in the American South, you will probably hold conservative evangelical views. If you were born here in Utah, you will most likely be Mormon. If you are a young person in China, you probably have a skewed view of Tienanmen Square.
As a Christian, this causes me to question the traditional views of eternity concerning heaven and hell. Under the teachings in which I was raised, it seems your eternal destiny is going to be most highly influenced on where you were born.
Well... ain't that special!