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Featured Do We Choose Our Beliefs?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Left Coast, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Left Coast

    Left Coast Well-Known Member
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    Science is a part of philosophy (see: philosophy of science). My analysis remains the same whether we're talking about religious or irreligious beliefs. We don't choose them.
     
  2. Samana Johann

    Samana Johann Restricted by request

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  3. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely. I am a great 'believer' ;), in Reason, and the human ability to discover.

    But as you know, there are many conflicting noises, drowning out the 'still small voice' of Truth. We can discover a great deal, by a sincere desire to 'know'. But, there are other unseen factors at work in this process.

    He that would seriously set upon the search of truth, ought in the first place to prepare his mind with a love of it. For he that loves it not, will not take much pains to get it; nor be much concerned when he misses it. There is nobody in the commonwealth of learning who does not profess himself a lover of truth: and there is not a rational creature that would not take it amiss to be thought otherwise of. And yet, for all this, one may truly say, that there are very few lovers of truth, for truth's sake, even amongst those who persuade themselves that they are so. How a man may know whether he be so in earnest, is worth inquiry: and I think there is one unerring mark of it, viz. The not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant. Whoever goes beyond this measure of assent, it is plain receives not the truth in the love of it; loves not truth for truth's sake, but for some other bye-end. ~John Locke

    Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. ~John Kenneth Galbraith

    And ultimately, understanding is a gift from God.. and even the desire to know..

    Matthew 7:7Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
     
  4. Left Coast

    Left Coast Well-Known Member
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    I think it's important to recall that disbelief is not necessarily rejection of the possibility of something. It simply means there is not sufficient evidence to warrant belief.

    I still don't know how we choose any of that, though. I cannot choose to believe that something is impossible, or that something has not met its burden of proof. It is simply apparent to me from my understanding of the evidence.
     
  5. Amanaki

    Amanaki Living in the moment

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    I was born in a Christian family and grew up with this teaching, but at age 15 i started to look for other answers because the priest could not answer my questions in a good way. So i used 5 years to study different religions and have been Buddhist since 1997. So in my case, I chose the path/teaching i felt closest to what i believed in.(Buddhism) and did not follow the religion my parents wanted me to do.
     
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  6. MonkeyFire

    MonkeyFire Well-Known Member

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    Even the groundhog when coming up out of the ground cant choose if the season changes, it just tells the truth with its instinct, like reporting the news. In my religion a groundhog is another word for a believer or FAITH himself who must come up out of the earth and tell the people that time is eternal.
     
    #26 MonkeyFire, Jun 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  7. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I have chosen to believe.
     
  8. Left Coast

    Left Coast Well-Known Member
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    I agree with all this up to the God line. I see no good evidence for a God or that our understand comes from her/him/it.
     
  9. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Not directly, but we can influence them.

    We can choose to read sources that confirm our beliefs, we can choose to read sources that challenge them.
    We can use various methodologies to challenge our preconceptions and identify biases, etc.
    We can choose to try to deal with contradictory information fairly.

    This will always be far from perfect as humans aren't remotely rational, but better than nothing I suppose.

    I think that, to some extent, we can also deliberately self-deceive but it also has significant limitations.
     
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  10. Left Coast

    Left Coast Well-Known Member
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    You've chosen to believe what? Could you choose to believe otherwise?
     
  11. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    Yes and no. As beliefs in the spiritual and religious realm are generally not determinable through objective reasoning alone, there becomes a lot of play for subjective preferences and dislikes to play their part.

    I try to respect objective reasoning myself but in time subjective preferences and dislikes probably affect me.
     
  12. Left Coast

    Left Coast Well-Known Member
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    Agreed! We can definitely assess our beliefs to see if they're rational, or delude ourselves through bias into thinking that our beliefs are justified when they really aren't.

    At the end of the day, though, if we are genuinely convinced of something, we can't choose to believe differently, even if we recognize our beliefs are irrational. This is the case, I've found, with surprising number of people who believe in God or other supernatural things. They know their belief is not rational or based on any objectively good evidence, but they believe nonetheless.
     
  13. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    Not sure about active (religious) beliefs but I think for some of us we have many more disbeliefs - reliant on as much relevant information as we deem necessary - such that what remains tends to form our beliefs (or non-beliefs to be more accurate). Hence perhaps why atheism (or agnosticism) is seen as the default for many when they just cannot accept any religious beliefs.

    I think it likely we deal in probabilities, and for many, the evidence all around us points to a creator whilst this same evidence for others just doesn't - or in my case, leaves the door open a wee bit for a possible creative force/energy. The sheer number of different beliefs prompted my suspicions about religion (as a child) - which might have done the opposite in another - and nothing has changed over my life. Not being indoctrinated or religiously 'educated' has probably aided this. I would have thought that believing is more associated with education or indoctrination, and/or culture for most rather than actively choosing a belief (so passive acceptance). How many people actually challenge their inherited beliefs? Not believing often means taking shortcuts (guilty as charged), which is almost inevitable, unless one wants to spend all day every day studying the assertions and evidence of all others claiming to have 'the truth'. Many other beliefs no doubt come directly from our experiences and the information we process, and form naturally over time.

    Anyone who claims a religious belief and also claims atheism is a belief (rather than non-belief), must necessarily have the same number of beliefs then as an atheist, with both believing that one of all these beliefs (but not the same one) is correct - because they must believe that all other religious beliefs are false other than their own.
     
  14. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    I concur. I'd just add that the weight of those factors is different for different people. Some never question their upbringing. Some have had profound personal experiences. Etc.
     
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  15. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Disbelief implies saying, 'no, i reject that as a possibility.'

    Skepticism may doubt, or reserve judgement for better information, but a rejection of a possibility is a positive claim. The person is concluding something, not just reserving judgment.
     
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  16. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    This comment is based on the idea that rationality and objective evidence is the best. Not everyone agrees.
     
  17. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    ..perhaps you just lack information, to come to an informed conclusion..

    :shrug:
     
  18. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    We choose to accept a belief , so in that context we do.

    One thing for sure is we can't keep our beliefs .
     
  19. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    I mostly agree with that. The closest the rational mind can come to deciding if God exists or not is Pascal's wager which is also subject to dispute.
     
  20. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Agreed.. and some nod like bobbleheads at every propaganda meme they were indoctrinated with..

    ;)
     
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