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Author Topic:   Choosing to believe
Member (Idle past 6037 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006

Message 17 of 90 (393327)
04-04-2007 12:56 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Woodsy
03-30-2007 1:57 PM

Woodsy writes:
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.
To be fair, it is not only theists who do this. We theists are also accused of 'choosing to believe in a lie or falsehood' etc.
If there is such a thing as choosing to believe, none of us are exempt from the possibility that we are doing so.
Woodsy writes:
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?
That's not belief. That is knowledge.
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?
You can't. You need something. Tracks, dung, a moosey noise.
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?
Absopositively! All the time. I daresay some atheists do as well. Maybe not here, but there are definitely folks who feel that atheism is the way to go simply because they have not put their beliefs into coherence yet, or have not found that the particular God of their upbringing speaks to them.
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.
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.
Edited by anastasia, : No reason given.

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

Replies to this message:
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 Message 20 by LinearAq, posted 04-04-2007 2:26 PM anastasia has not replied

Member (Idle past 6037 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006

Message 18 of 90 (393336)
04-04-2007 1:18 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Utopia
04-04-2007 12:51 PM

Utopia writes:
Maybe it's my faith , let's say, that moose are by nature attracted to moisture -so the "why" for me as to what this moose is doing in the marsh is already set for me.
I realize that this is a poor example because whether or not moose are attracted moisture can be tested and proven one way or the other. I'm just trying to illustrate HOW faith and belief come into play in real life situations.
Right. If someone tells you about a moose, and you believe, it is blind faith. If you know something about moose, about where they go, what they do, and that they have been seen in the marsh before, you can be willing to accept that moose are indeed there. The situation remains unproven, but has leapt suddenly to the probable rather than the extremely discordant. If I heard there was a moose in MY yard, or in the middle of Hawaii, I would choose not to believe based on the same lack of evidence for previous moose activity.
I guess that is why I feel that atheism is somewhat of a faith based thing. It is possible that a moose would somehow be in my yard. It is less likely one would be in Hawaii. I try to remind that when we talk about God we are not talking about something we know to be extremely implausible, but rather a thing that is more or less likely based on where one's 'backyard' is.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Utopia, posted 04-04-2007 12:51 PM Utopia has not replied

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