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 NowSucksLess
Joined: 2/4/2010
Msg: 2
How can I believe in - Page 1 of 2    (1, 2)

There was a thread in which someone was upset because their daughter chose not to believe in God. I suggested that "belief" is not voluntary, but an unconcious response. I was accussed of not wanting to take personal responsibility for my beliefs. I can't say I ever remember DECIDING to believe anything. I think it happes over time. A suficient amount of what I would call evidence accumlates, and at some tipping point, I say "I believe this" . Meaning - I think it is true.

Is this different for you? Can you willfully decide to believe something? Or in something? Or not believe it for that matter?

What am I missing?


You are not missing anything.

If I could *choose* what to believe, I would construct myself into one awesome fantasy world. Alas...maybe a few people can choose what to believe in but most people can't.
 az109
Joined: 7/3/2010
Msg: 3
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/23/2010 3:00:03 PM
Maybe you're missing the distinction between knowing and believing. It could be a vocabulary thing.

I know some things, and that's all I do. I don't believe anything because there is no point. The only purpose served by belief is when you can't know something is true but you want it to be true anyway. Then you believe, but cannot know, it is true. To me, if you can't know, just leave it there. So far I have not suffered any from knowing that I didn't know something was true, or benefited from believing anything was.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 4
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/23/2010 3:16:38 PM

Can you willfully decide to believe something? Or in something? Or not believe it for that matter?


Why not? Who says beliefs are 'bred in the bone'?

Every time you are faced with a proposed "truth," you are given the choice to believe it or not. That includes but is not limited to, for example, the question of guilt or innocence in a criminal case, the existence of God, or the proposition of whether or not we are the product of a lengthy process of biological evolution or that of the instantaneous creation by some deity. To name just a few.

Some people rely on cultural upbringing or their own experience, either through thorough investigation or an immediate decision to either accept or reject the proposition placed before them.

Perhaps if people took more responsibility for what they believed, they might take more responsibility in what they do with that belief.
 motown cowgirl
Joined: 6/30/2010
Msg: 5
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/23/2010 3:27:22 PM
belief is not necessarily and unconscious response. although it is true, sadly IMO, that many people believe things merely because that's the way they were raised to believe (a.k.a. indoctrinated) and because they just never took the time to consider if another point of view made more sense. that's why most people are democrats, or republicans, or racists, or catholics, -- typically because mommy & daddy were democrats, republicans, racists, or catholics.

belief can either be indoctrination, or the voice of god that only you can year, or a personal insight that is in fact true, but as yet unproven by science. i give you the benzene ring as an example.... discovered through the impetus of a dream of a snake biting its own tail.
 NowSucksLess
Joined: 2/4/2010
Msg: 8
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/23/2010 4:18:54 PM

Why not? Who says beliefs are 'bred in the bone'?

Every time you are faced with a proposed "truth," you are given the choice to believe it or not. That includes but is not limited to, for example, the question of guilt or innocence in a criminal case, the existence of God, or the proposition of whether or not we are the product of a lengthy process of biological evolution or that of the instantaneous creation by some deity. To name just a few.

Some people rely on cultural upbringing or their own experience, either through thorough investigation or an immediate decision to either accept or reject the proposition placed before them.

Perhaps if people took more responsibility for what they believed, they might take more responsibility in what they do with that belief.


Are you friggin kidding me!?!

Go ahead. CHOOSE to believe that you can fly over a cliff and make the leap. Yeah, ignorance fought. Darwin +1.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 9
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/23/2010 4:24:45 PM

Are you friggin kidding me!?!

Go ahead. CHOOSE to believe that you can fly over a cliff and make the leap. Yeah, ignorance fought. Darwin +1.


I see the concept of personal responsibility - mixed with a healthy dose of common sense - is lost on some.
 chrono1985
Joined: 11/20/2004
Msg: 10
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/23/2010 4:30:53 PM
I don't believe than anyone believes in something purely out of blind faith. Even when someone says "just because" there is always a reasons why they choose to believe that particular thing once you dig down deep enough, be it unconscious choice or not. An unconscious choice is still a choice that you make, comes about from the very same mechanisms that will allow you to make a conscious choice, gathering subjective facts (meaning facts that may or may not be true but seem true to you) and weighing them until one side is tipped beyond dispute.
 WalksOnWater2
Joined: 5/19/2009
Msg: 11
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/23/2010 4:39:26 PM
Most belief is result of successful indoctrination.
If you search among your beliefs, you will find that the strongest of your beliefs, are logically unfounded, and based on the fact that 'it must be true, because so-and-so said so".

You can decide to accept something as true, depending what you know from experience.
Belief in God has been debated over the ages, and both sides never came up with any proof.


Maybe you should read 'Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance'

 x_file
Joined: 6/25/2006
Msg: 12
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/23/2010 5:49:47 PM

Is this different for you?


It is, but I can't quite explain it.



Can you willfully decide to believe something?


Sure. What's important, however, is the process taking place prior to the belief formation.

My beliefs are generally the end result of reason. And I reason deliberately.



What am I missing?


I'm not sure how a person is supposed to take responsibility for their beliefs, or what that means.

There are several ways you can form a belief, an one of those ways is voluntary. Perhaps what's what you are missing.

For example, after proving the Pythagorean theorem, I formed the belief that it is true - that was done willingly, deliberately, and under the scrutiny of reason.
 daynadaze
Joined: 2/11/2008
Msg: 13
view profile
History
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/23/2010 10:40:18 PM
Before I decided I didn't believe, I did a lot of studying and going to different churches and studying with clergy, etc., I figured I can't not believe in something I don't know a thing about. I came to atheism after spending many years trying to figure religion out, and no there's no way I could fake believing hoping to fake it til I make it. Lots of people say they'd rather believe than take the chance, well if there is a god like the one they talk about, I think it could figure out the fakers pretty quickly, and I wouldn't want to be one of them.

The thing with religion is that most people in the USA have grown up hearing about it, it's ingrained so it's pretty easy to have some core impression that there must be a god so the only real decision is what god do they believe in and of course since so many do not at all follow what they say they believe in, they also question it but only so far. I know a ton of people who say they believe in god but not religion, I guess they made up a god then shifted things around to fit their needs. You know, where everyone else goes to hell but them LOL I always love that one.
 hyoid
Joined: 5/12/2009
Msg: 14
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/24/2010 5:54:50 AM
Most of what we "know" comes from personal experience.
Such as grabbing that hot pan will raise a blister or investing in stocks will make you broke. Even when our interpretation of our experience is incorrect (some people get rich playing stocks)we are confident of our ability to demostrate the phenomena whenever we chose.
When we haveacquired knowledge, we become authorities.

Our beliefs, on the other hand, are transmitted from authority. Whether it's mom and dad, the reverend, Fox news, the president-so long as their message doesn't conflict with our knowledge or previously established beliefs, we will accept their pronouncements until experience proves otherwise. Often the choice between two conflicting authoritarian messages is simply a matter of who speaks first.

When questioned about my atheism, I have always responded that I've never felt the presence of god. Where some feel a rainbow is proof of god, to me it's proof of the physics of light and the biology of vision. And no less awesome because of it.
 motown cowgirl
Joined: 6/30/2010
Msg: 15
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/24/2010 5:59:16 AM
I know a ton of people who say they believe in god but not religion, I guess they made up a god then shifted things around to fit their needs.


but religion is nothing more than putting a god on the altar and then finding 100 different ways to decorate the temple. so to my mind, it's perfectly reasonable to want to dispense with the useless formalities and just go straight to the source. otherwise known as "spiritual but not religious". this is the essence of gnosticism. otherwise known as, the people religious zealots set out to wipe from the face of the earth.

most people have a really basic desire to believe in something bigger than themselves. that's why communism is so fundamentally evil, because when the communists come along and say stuff like religion is the opiate of the masses, it's really because they want to elevate the state (otherwise known as The Chosen Few) to the level of a god. they were just substituting one kind of social control and exploitation for another.... namely, their own.

i say if you want to believe in something bigger than yourself, it should at least be something so grand, so transcendental, so extra-dimensional and inscrutable that nobody else can possibly begin to define it FOR you by becoming It, or by inserting themselves between You and It.

i believe in something bigger than me too (i have to say "believe" because "It" cannot be known through direct sense perception; otherwise we'd all be able to dissect it), i just choose not to define "It" or cloak "It" in a mythology and then get so caught up in the story that i mistake the myth for the reality. so whatever "It" is, "It" will just have to define me instead of verse visa. plus, i am just visiting this planet. lol.
 Island home
Joined: 7/5/2009
Msg: 16
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/24/2010 6:34:22 AM
^^ Well said motown

I believe, I believe.

I also believe
the degree I choose to question my beliefs
and how I question my beliefs
Will influence how I change my beliefs
 JosephTF
Joined: 9/20/2010
Msg: 17
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/24/2010 12:09:04 PM
I say to you SoldAsIs

You fail to understand your mind. I'm some what I've an expert. Post-Scitzo yet never so. I have a demon. I've had a few by now, and This is fact :

You do in a sense have to come by your opinion.
But failing to believe and being faithful is more a choice.

If you haven't come across the truth, your sadly exempt.
though none of you are exempt.

Regard

You choose to not resolve your beliefs.
Atheist are those you don't come to terms with their own beliefs,
or those who find it hard to accept religions.
That's all.
When someone says they believe in science, That si to say -
They've heard someone else stopped trying to figure it out and chose to do the same = By agreeing with a theory they don't feel compelled to solve. Instead of solving anything at all.
 JP1111
Joined: 4/13/2008
Msg: 18
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/24/2010 12:18:05 PM
If you ask me you are right on the money! I am the most realisticm person in the world so, if I am to believe in something, I want proof of it being real and factual. This is why I don't believe in God. To me proof needs to be tangible and provable and I;m sorry but simply believing in something that was written does not qualify as proof to me.

So believing in something is 100% voluntary if you ask me because, in order to believe in something, you will want something to make you believe it's true and short of that happening, you simply will not believe.

So if you ask me, you did not miss anything and what you need to do know is build up you self esteem as to why you don't.
 CallmeKen
Joined: 9/4/2009
Msg: 20
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/24/2010 3:28:39 PM

if I am to believe in something, I want proof of it being real and factual.

The absence of proof is not the proof of absence. If God Almighty were to come screaming out of the Heavens on a fiery chariot, I have no doubt that someone would ask to see His driver's licence.

I was taught that belief (and not the belief that my roommates are eating my peanut butter when I'm not home) is a highly private, personal issue. As long as you're not sacrificing kittens (inhumanely), you are free to believe in - or not believe in - whatever you choose. I enjoy attending different worship ceremonies from a cultural standpoint, and have been to Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Islamic and yes, even athiest gatherings. Just once, I'd like to view a Wiccan fertility festival, but those are difficult to be invited to.

However, those that say that I'm not logical, not rational, have low self esteem, are mentally retarded, are a terrorist (I love that one) or just plain stupid because I believe in God need to peruse the First Amendment again. If you can't justify your beliefs without insinuating that those with other beliefs have an emotional problem, well ... who really has the problem?
 Delete_Me_Please
Joined: 11/10/2009
Msg: 21
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/24/2010 3:46:47 PM

many people believe things merely because that's the way they were raised to believe (a.k.a. indoctrinated) and because they just never took the time to consider if another point of view made more sense. that's why most people are democrats, or republicans, or racists, or catholics, -- typically because mommy & daddy were democrats, republicans, racists, or catholics.


I agree with this completely.

Of course we have control over our beliefs and those beliefs may change as additional information is provided to us (or as the existing information is refuted). I believed in Santa as a kid because the most trustworthy sources I knew-- my parents-- told me he existed. Now I no longer believe in Santa and respond to every assertion by my parents with, "If that is indeed the truth, you bastions of dishonesty!!"

I believed in God until my 20's then decided if there really is a God, he's kind of an ***hole. And in the absence of compelling evidence of his existence, I came to the conclusion there isn't a God or, at least, the ruler of the universe is not as religions have described him.

These changes in my beliefs were not unconscious but the result of new information and/or consideration and analysis of the old information.
 *Just Jim*
Joined: 7/6/2007
Msg: 22
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/24/2010 5:15:41 PM

I believed in God until my 20's then decided if there really is a God, he's kind of an ***hole. And in the absence of compelling evidence of his existence,


God is not the answer hon,he is the question,,,I hope that helps......

& freedom of choice.....peace
 Island home
Joined: 7/5/2009
Msg: 23
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/25/2010 5:27:19 AM
salamander000

this thread reminds me of this song runs through my mind with frequency

How can I go forward when I don't know which way I'm facing?
How can I go forward when I don't know which way to turn?
How can I go forward into something I'm not sure of?
Oh no, oh no
How can I have feeling when I don't know if it's a feeling?
How can I feel something if I just don't know how to feel?
How can I have feelings when my feelings have always been denied?
Oh no, oh no

You know life can be long
And you got to be so strong
And the world is so tough
Sometimes I feel I've had enough

How can I give love when I don't know what it is I'm giving?
How can I give love when I just don't know how to give?
How can I give love when love is something I ain't never had?
Oh no, oh no

You know life can be long
You've got to be so strong
And the world she is tough
Sometimes I feel I've had enough

How can we go forward when we don't know which way we're facing?
How can we go forward when we don't know which way to turn?
How can we go forward into something we're not sure of?
Oh no, oh no


Would you know what the title of this song is and where I may gain a copy so that I can hear it preferably on the web?
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 24
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/25/2010 5:38:49 AM
Maybe I should ask it this way - is knowing the same thing as believing?
And is "knowing", whatever that means to you, voluntary as well?


Well, some will tell you they "know" there is a God. They'll tell you they "know" that ghosts are real. They'll tell you they "know" that blacks are inferior to whites. They'll tell you they "know" that women should have their clitoris excised in order to keep her faithful to her husband.

But are these things actually true?

Real knowledge - that the sun will comes up, the truth of the pythagorean theorum, that the Earth is round, General Relativity - is all accepted because it is demonstrable time and time again. Real knowledge is confirmed, verified, unbiased.

Belief, on the other hand, can be had whether there is demonstrable truth to the proposition or not.
 x_file
Joined: 6/25/2006
Msg: 26
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/25/2010 10:07:57 AM

To me, believing something is real, is synonymous with knowing it to be real. Knowing - meaning the evidence has reached the tipping point that in my mind that I call "knowledge".


Do you know who Gettier is?

He wrote 3 pages in philosophy - that was the whole of his contribution to philosophy. And he showed how a "true justified belief" cannot be knowledge.

Make sure you call a thing by its right name.


From what I read, it seems most people use the term more in the sense of thinking something is "likely" to be real.


Basically.


For example - we are waiting at a bus stop. Someone asks "is the bus coming soon?"
Being familiar with history and schedules, I might say "I believe it is". Because that is my "guess". A "probable" outcome. Obviously - it's not certain. If pressed, I might admit that I don't know if it will be soon.


Well explained.


That's the thing - in my vocabulary I say I "know" the Pythagorean theorem is true. I've done the math, and done it enough times that the tipping point of evidence has been reached. Not only that, but I challenge you to believe it is NOT true. If it is VOLUNTARY, you should be able to decide it is not true.


I know what the problem is.

By voluntarily, you mean something like: I have a belief and a "truth-switch" to that believe and I can flip the switch "as I please".

That's ALL true. But only from the "ability or power to do so" perceptive.

Here is the punch line: The rational mind DOES NOT allow for such "as I please" changes to a belief - such a mind has the nagging awareness that by changing a belief "as it pleases" it commits an error. Lunatics do not have this limitation/advantage.

Before I can flip the truth-switch of a belief I require reason. Therefore, even though I voluntarily reason, and voluntarily flip the switch AFTER I reason, I do so in order... I first reason, then flip the switch. And thus I cannot "just flip the switch" as I please.

Now this is NOT always true. Meaning, I do find myself in circumstances where I must do as the lunatic - just flip the switch. The thing is, by this point, I am in a land where reason can no longer serve me. And perhaps at this point, the only difference between me and a lunatic is that I'm aware of what I'm doing.

It is also not truth in another sense. For example, when I do thought experiments, I "set" the beliefs or flip their switches, and THEN reason. I have no problem doing so because reason guards the entire process... for it was reason that began it.
 Island home
Joined: 7/5/2009
Msg: 27
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/25/2010 7:18:27 PM

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq7jLEnZw6s

You'll recognise it immediately, I am sure.


The recognition was vague
The written words aided the appreceation
Thanks
 lateā„¢
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 28
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/25/2010 10:40:39 PM

...personal responsibility for my beliefs....


The point of that other thread wasn't that a certain belief (or non belief) was claimed, it was that it was arrived at without reason.

As far as "beliefs" are concerned, ...how they are arrived at says more about those who hold them (or not), than whether the belief is approved of or not.

I thought this was obvious.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 29
view profile
History
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/26/2010 1:11:55 AM
Sounds to me as though you ran into a combination of semantic misunderstanding, and religious fervor.
As for my own experience with belief, I have carefully looked myself over, and having been brought up in a scientific world, by VERY logical parents, I parse out what is belief, and what is provable knowledge, into two separate categories. I would tend to agree more with you, that I do not CHOOSE to believe something, at least not out of the blue. I can DISCOVER that I believe something. It's actually very much like love, in that respect...I can't CHOOSE to love someone, or to be attracted to someone, I can only DISCOVER that I am.
I can only choose what I want to DO about what I feel. I think the same is true about religious beliefs.
I didn't see whatever forum interchange you describe, but what you say about it sounds like a semantic argument getting out of hand. The daughters would more accurately have been said to have DECLARED that they did not believe, rather than that they DECIDED NOT TO. You were trying to suggest that as the case, but the way you put it made it sound as though you were the VICTIM of nonbelief, rather than that you came to RECOGNIZE that you were not a believer. That set off the folks who accused you of refusing responsibility, which was NOT the case at all, you just expressed yourself in a way that sounded like that to them.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 30
view profile
History
How can I believe in -
Posted: 9/26/2010 1:38:12 AM
x file: I read the Gettier paper, and I think you misrepresented it slightly. He didn't prove that " a "true justified belief" cannot be knowledge," he was showing that the COINCIDENCE of two actually unrelated things being true, did not mean there was a logical connection between them, and that one 'proved' the other. I personally thought he did this rather badly, as he was using words like "justified" , and "knowing," without an agreed upon definition of those words being established first.
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