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Author Topic:   Choosing to believe
Stile
Member (Idle past 128 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 10 of 90 (393166)
04-03-2007 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Woodsy
03-30-2007 1:57 PM


Learning to believe
Woodsy writes:
How can one choose to believe something, or to disbelieve it? Can one choose to believe something one knows is false?
I agree with your intuition, here. Although, I'm only agreeing with my own intuition Personally, I believe things that I have learnt have a high possibility of being true. Of course, I find myself in disbelief sometimes when these same things still turn out to be false every now and then...
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?
I found this illustrated itself easiest if I thought about different friends telling me this story. Some friends (whom I trust), I would believe. Other friends (known to, well... embellish stories), I would be rather sceptical of.
This seems to me to indicate that what we believe comes from what we learn. If we learn that someone is to be trusted, we will believe them. If we learn that someone is usually wrong, we will not believe them.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Woodsy, posted 03-30-2007 1:57 PM Woodsy has not replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 128 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 14 of 90 (393290)
04-04-2007 8:58 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Woodsy
04-04-2007 8:16 AM


Woodsy writes:
Theists find it hard to believe that athiests really do not believe in gods, and athiests suspect that theists do not really believe in them.
I'm not too sure how deep this goes. I'm sure you could find people from both camps who think this way. But I'm also sure you could easily find people from both areas who think that people believe what they say they believe.
I'm an atheist, and I think that anyone who professes to believe does actually believe in the existance of their God(s).

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Woodsy, posted 04-04-2007 8:16 AM Woodsy has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by truthlover, posted 04-25-2007 11:44 PM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 128 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 42 of 90 (397502)
04-26-2007 9:37 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by truthlover
04-25-2007 11:44 PM


God helps through people
truthlover writes:
I have noticed that *many* Christians strongly profess belief in the Bible and God but act like they don't believe. For example, one Christian minister assured a teenage friend of mine that if he prayed for financial help with a need that had arisen that God would provide. He then gave my wife some money to give to the boy, in case the promised provision didn't show up. Most Christians really don't expect their prayers to be answered, and if there's opportunity, they'll try to help God out with the answer to their prayer (that may be subconscious).
I'm not sure if this minister giving money to your wife for the boy is evidence of him not believing. I agree it's evidence in him not believing in "the power of prayer". But not against him believing that God exists, or even is there to help people.
One of my favourite modern-parables:
------------------------
There's a town built below a dam. The dam is getting old and about to collapse. The mayor sent out a town-wide warning and everyone moved out except for the pastor. The pastor believed God would save him so didn't leave his church. The damn broke and the pastor was forced onto the church roof. But he wasn't worried, he knew his God would save him. The townsfolk got a rescue helicoptor together and sent it out to retrieve the pastor. The pastor refused the helicoptor saying he had faith in God, and God would save him. After a few days, the waters were still high yet had calmed somewhat. The townsfolk put a rescue boat together, with some food and provisions and again went out to the pastor. The pastor refused the food, and refused to get on the rescue boat. He again professed his faith in God and that God would save him because he was faithful.
Well, the flooding continued and the pastor drowned. He then meets St. Peter in the afterlife.
"Why didn't God save me? I was faithful and prayed and was loyal to God. Was that not enough?"
St. Peter replies:
"God tried to save you, he sent the mayor's warning, he sent you a helicopter, he even sent you food and a boat if you needed it. You refused all of God's help. Your elevator going down is waiting...".
------------------------
My point is, this minister giving your wife money may very well believe that God works through people. And that the boy asking him for help, and the minister providing the money was God's way of providing the help the boy seeked.
To me, this is just people helping people. But I do think that certain people do believe that it is God working through these people and doing the providing. That is, the fact that they boy needed something, and the minister was even able to provide it, was God providing for the boy. To certain believers, at least, anyway.
I think many Christians don't really believe. They hope. And they fight for their hope that their faith is true much more strongly than if they really believed, because really believing would give them a confidence that would make much of their battling for their faith unnecessary.
I agree with this, yes.
Although I do still think there are those who actually do believe, even if they are just attributing mundane occurances to supernatural causes... I still think they actually believe God is behind it all, or "providing".

This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by truthlover, posted 04-25-2007 11:44 PM truthlover has not replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 128 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 44 of 90 (397506)
04-26-2007 10:02 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by ikabod
04-26-2007 8:02 AM


Talking and walking.
ikabod writes:
What we are also dealing with is the desire for the "false" to be true even if we know its not
Yes, I think we can choose what we want to profess because of our desires.
further each person also puts different weighting on any evidence, some will choose the belive their family above and beyond so scientist in a different country.
I'm still not convinced that one can actually choose what they believe. I just think some do not understand how objective and repeatable evidence carries more weight in describing the truth of this existance rather then subjective anecdotal experiences. Without that understanding, subjective experiences can be seen as equal or even greater than objective evidence. Yet, I still don't see how this is a choice. More... just the way it is for certain people. Leaving their beliefs as unchosen and still "just the way they feel".
a good examlpe is how sports fans belive in the ability of their teams to win way beyond an infomation provided by past results
My NFL team is the Miami Dolphins. I know they havn't been too great for years now. I know they haven't made playoffs in years now. I choose to profess that they will win every game. I choose to profess that they are the greatest team in the NFL.
I even chose to profess that they actually won the Superbowl on their bye-week this year even though it was still months before the superbowl was even going to be played and, since it was their bye-week they weren't even playing a game.
Yet, I never did believe that they'ed actually win the superbowl. I never did believe they would have a perfect season this year. I never did believe they would not have a touch-down scored against them all year.
I would profess all those things. Adamantly. Even after they had happened. Yet I never did actually believe in them.
My beliefs were unchosen. I couldn't choose to actually believe that they were significantly better than they really were. I certainly chose to profess that they were, yet I couldn't believe in it.
Perhaps I am odd, and not reflective of anyone else. But I haven't seen anything that would convince me that I am not representative of rest of our population in this matter.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by ikabod, posted 04-26-2007 8:02 AM ikabod has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by ikabod, posted 04-26-2007 10:48 AM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 128 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 46 of 90 (397524)
04-26-2007 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by ikabod
04-26-2007 10:48 AM


The Jugular
ikabod writes:
these seem to treat evidence differently to the research scientist, evidence has to be personal, not second/third person...
Agreed.
Yes, it all seems to stem from upbringing / past experiences / what we've learnt.
Now for the hard part:
How can you possibly objectively show someone that their life's experiences have led them down a slippery slope if the very reason they resent any other view is because it's based on objectivity?
Perhaps you can't. Perhaps there is a subjective method to begin the process of aligning another's thought process towards being open to a more reliable system?
I've often pondered that maybe that was religion's purpose in the very beginning. Although nothing's coming to mind right now... I often run into 'chapter and verse' that seems more like helpful tips in the direction of critical thinking rather than support for the supernatural. It certainly would be ironic.
Oh, sorry, don't mind me, I've started to ramble horribly off-topic

This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by ikabod, posted 04-26-2007 10:48 AM ikabod has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 47 by ikabod, posted 04-27-2007 8:46 AM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 128 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 48 of 90 (397692)
04-27-2007 9:54 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by ikabod
04-27-2007 8:46 AM


The Hard Part
ikabod writes:
is it not that the "belive" function IS different for everyone, the way in which the action of beliving is carried out is a method build up by each individual, from life experince, education, training et al. Beliving is not a simple single process, but a complex action, that is made up of many parts all competeing with each outer to make the whole "belive" function.
I agree with all of this for the most part. I'm a bit sceptical of the "many parts all competing with each other" aspect. Not that I don't think it's true, but I think that's a general statement and I'm not sure if I agree with your specifics about it or not. Probably do, and for the purpose of moving forward I'll just say I agree with it.
might it be possible to brake down the "belive" function into components and thus see how each person version of the "belive" function is made up?
Yes, I do think this would be possible. And I think it's even practical when dealing with someone who's open minded about objectively looking at their beliefs or feelings.
But I don't think this is very practical with those who have a grudge against being objective. These people resist looking at why they have their thoughts and feelings. They find the idea of "breaking down" and examining their beliefs revolting, and sometimes even blasphemous to what they believe. This is what I was trying to refer to as "the hard part" in my previous message.
How can you break down someone's "belief" function into components to show them anything when it's their very belief function that's actually telling them that such breaking down examination is horribly immoral to do?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by ikabod, posted 04-27-2007 8:46 AM ikabod has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by ikabod, posted 04-27-2007 10:20 AM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 128 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 50 of 90 (397704)
04-27-2007 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by ikabod
04-27-2007 10:20 AM


Re: The Hard Part
ikabod writes:
i think it is also important to realise that such poeple are also found in the research scientist community
Yes. Religion certainly does not have a monopoly on such people. I'm sure that given the right circumstances, I too am like this. I just hope that I'm able to open my eyes when given the opportunity to learn.
arh but no one said life was going to be easy my son
Agreed. I said "the hard part", not "the impossible part"
I still wonder if perhaps there may be anything worthwhile from attempting a subjective method to breaking down someone's belief function (if it can even be done subjectively...) when they refuse adamantly against objective rationale.
I think this will be my next conundrum to mull over on sleepless nights

This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by ikabod, posted 04-27-2007 10:20 AM ikabod has not replied

  
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