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Featured Do We Choose Our Beliefs?

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

  1. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    I don't believe any developmentalist would accept this claim. You have to have conformed to society. Otherwise you'd have no job, no friends, no money, no home, etc. Everyone conforms to society, except hermits.
     
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  2. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Suppose certain action stemming from our sexual orientation leads to pain. Do we have the ability to analyse the alternatives in order to mitigate pain?

    Do you not think that same may apply in matters of belief?

    ...

    It is a very complicated issue, which cannot be understood from perspective of materialism.

    As long as we retain the sense of doership, we reserve the right to choose and enjoy/suffer the result. We have the wisdom of God with which we can choose the good. OTOH, if ego intellect rules our doer-ship, we will choose the pleasure option.

    Sages lose the sense of doer-ship and for them there remains no individual choice: they say “Thy will be done”.

    YMMV.
     
  3. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    Yes, quite. I get that, always have. When I was talking about "beliefs," however, I was much more referring to things like religious beliefs, or beliefs that impact life choices. Does my partner really love me. Is my boss telling the truth about the state of the company's financial health, and so forth.
     
  4. JJ50

    JJ50 Well-Known Member

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    I have never worked outside the home since I married at the age of 19, 50 years ago. You don't have to conform to have money and a home, I had an inheritance and my husband was the breadwinner, he never conformed either, even though he was a very successful academic. I have a one or two friends, but I don't need people apart from our immediate family.
     
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  5. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Yes, this perspective makes sense. I wager that many folks take more of a "middle ground" approach like this.




    They are for some, certainly. I've noticed that in my culture, much significance is attached to "believing in" things. We probably owe that to the influence of Protestant Christianity. I wasn't raised in that environment directly, so I don't think the idea of "believing in" things being paramount really sunk into my head like it has for so many. As an adult I became more aware of religious traditions that do not emphasize "believing in" things and that only reinforced my relative apathy towards the notion. This means I don't see as much of a distinction between what one "believes" and taking a "perspective" as you might. Put another way, one could say I tend to find the distinction (if there is one) to be moot because beliefs mean nothing unless there is
    action behind them.

    It's complicated. I don't always articulate it well. :sweat:
     
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  6. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    You didn't go through the normal stages of development? You had no friends? You never followed the rules? You never got along with others, including your family? Perhaps you should re-read the description of this by the developmental psychologist Jane Lovenger. There really is no major disagreement about her work here.

    Jane Loevinger's stages of ego development “conceptualize a theory of ego development that was based on Erikson's psychosocial model”,as well as on the works of Harry Stack Sullivan, and in which “the ego was theorized to mature and evolve through stages across the lifespan as a result of a dynamic interaction between the inner self and the outer environment”.[1] Her theory is significant in contributing to the delineation of ego development, which goes beyond fragmentation of trait psychology and looks at personalities as meaningful wholes.[2]

    ------

    Conformist (E4)[edit]
    'Most children around school age...progress to the next stage, conformity'.[18] Persons begin to view themselves and other as conforming to socially approved codes or norms.[19] Teaching education as adult development. Theory into Practice, 17(3), p. 231 Loevinger describes this stage of having 'the greatest cognitive simplicity. There is a right way and a wrong way and it is the same for everyone...or broad classes of people.[20] One example of groups conforming together at this age is by gender—boys and girls. Here persons are very much invested in belonging to and obtaining the approval of groups.[21] Behaviour is judged externally, not by intentions, and this concept of 'belonging to the group (family or peers) is most valued'.[22] 'the child starts to identify his welfare with that of the group', though for the stage 'to be consolidated, there must be a strong element of trust'.[16] An ability to take in rules of the group appears, and another's disapproval becomes a sanction, not only fear of punishment. However rules and norms are not yet distinguished.

    'While the Conformist likes and trusts other people within his own group, he may define that group narrowly and reject any or all outgroups', and stereotypes roles on the principle of ' social desirability: people are what they ought to be'.[21]
    Being "independent minded" does not mean you did not, or do not conform to rules and expectations of others. To be successful anywhere in society, in academia for instance, you have to conform to expectations. You can't just decide not not show up or tell anyone where you are, and expect to have a job for very long. ;)

    I think perhaps you are defining "conformity" as something else?
     
  7. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Sounds like Boss and me.
     
  8. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    If I would want, I could choose otherwise. But I have chosen to believe what the Bible tells.
     
  9. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    We all delude ourselves into believing that what we think reality is, is what reality is. But the truth is that we only experience and understand a very small percentage of 'what is'. And we are calling that very limited knowledge and understanding "reality". AND WE BELIEVE THIS pretty much all the time. Only very rarely do we actually recognize and acknowledge just how limited and 'made up' our idea of what is, that we call "reality", really is.
     
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  10. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Perhaps. But if we do, it is by no means an absolutely personal prerogative.

    We definitely do not choose the religious language that we are initially exposed to. That, in and of itself, sharply delimits our options when it comes to religious beliefs. There is a fair number of mutually exclusive doctrines, and nearly all of us are raised in social environments that are quite unaware of several of those.

    For adults, we just do not have enough exposure to religious doctrines in general to make informed choices among those. I do not expect true exceptions to even exist. And if anything, children are even more severely limited.

    Even that little choice is usually more of a theoretical possibility than a true reality. In practice we tend to be exposed to a select few beliefs, to be vaguely aware of some description of a few more, and pretty much end up guessing that some specific names have religious significance to someone out there.

    That tends not to be perceived as a problem, because quite few people truly feel any need for that level of freedom of belief. The main role of religious beliefs is in enabling mutual understanding in religious, social and political exchanges. Attempts at gauging one's true beliefs are fairly rare, even by the people themselves.
     
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  11. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    You choose to believe that you know what the bible
    tells. Big difference.
     
  12. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    I fail to see how they are different. My statement was that reason and conscious activity affect belief. You were uncertain that they played much of a role. I showed instances where we very much use reasoning skills to draw conclusions that alter belief. But for reason and our conscious activity we would have very different beliefs. How much more so is this for complex beliefs such as religion. What we believe is true is based on our reasoning. We determine whether something is a justified true belief or whether it is not through reasoning. Once we get to that conclusion, we believe or do not believe. Now this reasoning is subject to all sorts of biases and mental tricks bit at its core we think about something and then we believe. While we may not have control over the ultimate conclusions to which we come we do have a degree of control regarding our thought process.
     
  13. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    If they left a bad taste in your mouth, that is your emotions rejecting a belief. People don't choose to leave a religion, for example, because it didn't make "rational sense". They looked at the rationality of it because they were motivated to because of an emotional reason. It wasn't working for them, and they decided to look at why.

    Thoughts and rationality follows after emotion. Or, in many cases can help emotion to get a check on itself, to consider rationally its choices, because after all it's unhappy about something and needs to be assisted by rationality. In all, it's a feedback system between the emotional body and the cognitive mind, each feeding into each other in a self-amplification loop. But I'm of the belief that it begins with an emotional impulse, at one level or another that gives rise to any possible thought to feedback into itself.

    It may seem "natural", because it is the assumption of reality, the lens we see everything through which colorizes the world. However, those filters are relative. They are not "natural", in that if they were they would be seen universally, which they are not. That everyone filters reality through cultural lens, for example, is universal, like everyone breathes air and has blood in their bodies.

    When a child enters the world, prior to its cultural programming, you will see universal traits. Those are what I mean by the word natural. Even though of course I recognize that cultural programming is part of the natural system. Perhaps I mean, bias is not innate. Trust for instance, is.

    Dividing into groups and discriminating is a natural part of healthy ego development, as the research shows. Racial bigotry on the other hand need not be part of this. It is not a stage of development to hate blacks or gays.

    The heart chooses what it sees as right for itself. "Right", when it comes to making choices, is a value judgement. It's not a case of fact-findings. If having accurate "evidence" to support that emotional choice is important, then it is still in support of the emotional need that feels that is important to have. That's not a bad thing, of course, but I think rationality is overrated in people's mind when it comes to their personal choices. It's mostly just a rationalization for what one has already chosen is true because it feels right to them.

    One can easily find supporting evidences to rationalize what one has already chosen to believe, before even making the choice itself on a conscious, thinking level. Our minds like to fool us into thinking we made a "rational" choice. It likes to tell us it's in charge (largely because we don't know our own emotions). :)

    I did not say that. Bad choices can be made for emotional reasons, of course. But at the time of that bad choice, there were plenty of rational reasons offered to ourselves to justify and support that choice at the time.

    Also, what may have turned out to be a bad choice later, might have been the best choice at the time. It just became not as functional as we hoped because things changed. We may have outgrown what once was right. So, "right" is quite situational as well. Truth is relative, as they say.
     
    #113 Windwalker, Jun 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  14. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    What leaves a bad taste in one's mouth is savory or sweet to another. That is my whole point.
    We are in agreement that there is a loop. We disagree that emotion necessarily precedes rationality.
    And that everyone categorizes and discriminates is another universality.
    No one bias is innate but bias in itself most assuredly is.
    Yes and this is where your argument fails. That a specific subset is not necessary does not mean that the specific subset is any less "from the heart."
    I would agree that it is overrated by many, but i think you here are understating the importance of rationality. Because people erroneously think their decisions wholly rational and this is not so, you want to instead say that they are wholly emotional or "decided in the heart," which os also not so.
    And it is also easy to fool oneself into thinking emotions play a more substantial part than they do. (Also a symptom of not knowing our own emotions).
    But you did. You suggested that emotional choices such as believing a race is inferior or believing homosexuality is wrong is not "from the heart." Here these are emotional choices. You want to distinguish them by saying they are not natural. Yet categorization and discrimination is natural-universal. You are in effect saying language x is not natural because language x is not necessary, despite acknowledging that language in itself is natural.
    Yes it is easy to speak in cliches and platitudes, but is that how you really feel? If such were the case than thinking one race superior to another is just a relative truth. Is that what you believe? I would suggest you would not have tried to draw the distinction for "from the heart" if it was.

    I am not discussing bad choices that turned out to be the best choices at the time. I am discussing emotional choices that were not the best choices at the time.
     
  15. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    Thankfully, I was not raised as a Christian and I was never that interested in religion, even after I became a Baha’i, so I never read one verse in the Bible until 2013. The only reason I have read some chapters and verses is because I was engaged in dialogues with Christian on forums. I have not read much of the Old Testament but if God did half of what has been attributed to Him, God is anything but “All-Loving” as Christians believe. However, I question the veracity of the Bible so I do not necessarily believe God actually did everything that was attributed to Him. Men wrote the Bible, not God.
     
  16. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    We are not convinced that it is true until we look at the evidence and are convinced by the evidence, but after we look at the evidence and we are convinced by the evidence that something is true we believe it.

    What is your issue with that?
     
  17. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    Belief is being convinced by the evidence. It doesn't occur after.

    There is no distinction between "hey, that's true," and "I believe."
     
  18. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    Maybe this is just a matter of semantics, but the way I see it, belief should be withheld until after we have been convinced by the evidence, so it is a two-step process: (1) look at evidence, and (2) believe or don't believe.
    No, there isn't.
     
  19. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    What do you suppose causes that time lag (i.e. step lag)?
     
  20. Left Coast

    Left Coast Active Member
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    No issue, except that the convincing is not by choice. We don't choose to be convinced, it just happens.
     
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