When you are asked what you “believe” about any subject, do you have to “look it up,” or do you have to do “research?” If someone has to consult a book (even the Bible) or some other authority to be able to regurgitate what he “believes,” does he really believe it? (And is looking up an answer that’s already been discovered and recorded really “research?” But that’s another question.)
If your friend and neighbor wears a political advocacy hat, you’re more liable to wind up wearing one, too. Ideologies are like viruses, and they are transmitted through symbols and idols such as crosses, elephants and donkeys, five- or six-pointed stars, flags, hooded sheets, logos, MAGA hats, NRA stickers, pink ribbons, sports emblems, swasticas, and symbolic gestures such as clenched fists, salutes, taking a knee, and bows.
What a person really believes has the potential to motivate life-changing decisions. Therefore it should be internalized to the point where we can articulate it if we are called upon to explain it or make decisions based upon it. People who believe that the Bible is God’s Word of truth are called upon to be “always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.” (1 Peter 3:15) This sounds like good advice to me.