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Author Topic:   Choosing to believe
Member (Idle past 3454 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006

Message 1 of 2 (392354)
03-30-2007 1:57 PM

In this and other forums, when athiesm is discussed, theists often use the phrase "choose to believe" or "choose not to believe", usually with reference to their god.
I find these phrases puzzling. I would suppose that one believes a proposition (or not) when one encounters satisfactory evidence for its truth (or falsity). How can one choose to believe something, or to disbelieve it? Can one choose to believe something one knows is false?
An example:
Suppose you are standing by a marsh, and you see a moose (it's hard to mistake a moose!). Could you disbelieve in the presence of the moose by any effort of will whatever?
Suppose you are sitting in a bar in town and your friend tells you there is a moose in that swamp right then. You know that neither you nor your friend have any way of knowing if a moose is there or not. How could you believe that either it is there, or not, by any effort of will?
Something one can decide to do is to profess a belief, regardless of whether one holds the belief or not. Do some religious people confuse holding a belief and professing one?
Edited by Woodsy, : grammar correction

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