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Author Topic:   Choosing to believe
Member (Idle past 4734 days)
Posts: 598
From: Pocomoke City, MD
Joined: 11-03-2004

Message 20 of 90 (393350)
04-04-2007 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by anastasia
04-04-2007 12:56 PM

Choice? or not.
anastasia writes:
You CAN choose to believe to some extent.
If we both saw tracks and the evidence for the species which left them was inconclusive, we could both choose to believe that they were made by two different animals.
Is it really a choice or a conclusion based on your interpretation of the evidence?
The situation with theists and atheists is similar. We are looking at tracks left by nature or by God, or by both. The more there are purely natural answers the more we feel all is by nature. We still have those who believe that nature and God are One and The Same. There are then, other factors that must be present for a person to believe in God. We obviously don't need to. The 'gaps' are getting smaller every day. Looking at two sets of tracks and having different asnwers is an intuitive process I suppose. The physical evidence is the same in both cases. The individual has to dig into their own memory to pull out 'clues'. Not scientific, no. Just belief. If you tell me your thoughts and I tell you mine, and we weigh them. I can still 'choose' to believe one or the other when the evidence for either is the same.
That's the problem. These are merely examples of drawing conclusions from evidence, past experiences and what we already believe. If the "evidence" doesn't point to a particular conclusion in and of itself, then the "belief" doesn't happen.
If I had never seen moose tracks before (except the ice cream) and someone pointed to some large tracks and said they were moose tracks, I would be inclined to believe them.
That's because the outcome of believing her is unimportant. The most that could happen is I would look silly to a knowledgeable woodsman when I pointed to bear tracks and said a moose has gone by.
Secondly, we tend to be trusting people even when the outcome is relatively important. How else do con men pull off good cons?
You believe in a form of the Christian God. You didn't just decide one day to believe in him out of the blue. You had evidence. You may not have recognized it as evidence. Maybe it was your parents going to church with you. Bible reading at home. Rosary usage in times of stress. Stories told to you throughout your childhood. Lots of little things that colored your glasses to interpreting your experiences as God's influences.
From a Christian point of view, deciding whether to follow Christ (requiring a belief in the Christian God) is THE MOST IMPORTANT decision a person can make. Many, other than Christians, also recognize it as an important decision. They don't believe though, despite the importance or even their desire for it to be true. The evidence is weighed in their mind and it is not pointing to God.
Can you decide to believe even though your interpretation of the evidence contradicts what it is you are trying to believe? Can you even change your interpretation of the evidence without new evidence?
My position is that belief in God is not a choice. It is something of which you become convinced, just like everything else the you conclude is true.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by anastasia, posted 04-04-2007 12:56 PM anastasia has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by Woodsy, posted 04-04-2007 3:47 PM LinearAq has not replied

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