Author Topic: Is belief a choice?  (Read 517 times)

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Offline Lectus

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Is belief a choice?
« on: March 04, 2014, 09:49:47 PM »
How can God send someone to hell if the person CAN'T believe in him?

Do you think belief is a choice or does it happen automatically?
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 09:59:54 PM »
It probably depends on when the folks who want to instill beliefs get ahold of you and how good they are at inculcating you.

We probably have no choice about having beliefs. Accurate renditions of reality are not available to humans, so we have to fill in a lot of blanks. Which is something beliefs can do pretty good. But I think all but the most heinously brainwashed probably have some choices. Lets just say I wouldn't want to be the person responsible to introducing reality to the people of North Korea if their leadership is suddenly overthrown and freedom is brought to their country. Because their beliefs are fucked up big time and most have not dared think contrary thoughts. If the world ever has the luxury of helping those poor people, we'll find out a whole lot more about beliefs. More than we ever wanted to know.
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Offline junebug72

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 12:17:10 PM »
How can God send someone to hell if the person CAN'T believe in him?

Do you think belief is a choice or does it happen automatically?

Why do you believe God will send someone to hell for not believing in God?  I believe in God and I don't believe that.

Joy,

JB
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline JoeNobody

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 02:08:53 PM »
I don't think belief is a choice. I can't bring myself to believe something when I don't think it's true. Maybe for other people it is, but not for me.

I'm also confused by the notion of a entity being hurt by lack of belief.

I mean, I care about my fellow human beings. If I give to a charity help starving children in another country, and one of those kids doesn't believe I exist, so what? Why would I care what they believe? The important thing is the help they receive, right?

Offline bertatberts

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 02:20:47 PM »
If a person has never encountered a god concept, then and only then, can he make a free choice to become a believer.  most people are either inculcated, indoctrinated, or influenced. But even then the guy who never encountered the concept may be unduly influenced, once he had come to know of it, especially if he never learnt about it for himself. So it may never be a free choice.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 02:22:15 PM »
I think I will believe in Zeus today, next week I'm going to believe in Mithras.

Haha
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 02:23:37 PM »
Belief is as much a choice as sexual orientation. Trust me on that.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 02:27:34 PM »
Belief is as much a choice as sexual orientation. Trust me on that.

So I need to choose a sexy god?
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Offline Boots

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 04:21:45 PM »
Belief is as much a choice as sexual orientation. Trust me on that.

So I need to choose a sexy god?

You called?
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Offline Mooby

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2014, 08:51:42 PM »
I don't think belief is a choice, but I think faith is.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2014, 09:15:55 PM »
I don't think belief is a choice, but I think faith is.

How are you differentiating between the two?
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Offline Mooby

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2014, 12:42:38 PM »
The religious define faith as trust in a belief (some even go as far as to use the definition "A relationship with God based on trust.")  Merely having a belief is not faith.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2014, 12:48:52 PM »
The religious define faith as trust in a belief (some even go as far as to use the definition "A relationship with God based on trust.")  Merely having a belief is not faith.

So faith is a gamble on belief?

I believe a horse will win a race so I have faith to bet on it. I can agree with that.

There are of course compulsive gamblers.

« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 12:57:24 PM by Foxy Freedom »
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Offline Mooby

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2014, 08:28:08 PM »
I don't consider faith a gamble, no.  I doubt many believers would, either.

A gamble implies someone is playing odds, which would really only apply for a believer who's believing for the sake of Paschal's Wager.  Which theists such as myself would argue isn't really faith, either.

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Offline johnrain

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2014, 11:38:11 PM »
John 3:16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Offline SevenPatch

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2014, 11:49:40 PM »
John 3:16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

.... and your point is .... ?
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2014, 12:50:28 AM »
John 3:16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

I don't get it. I don't believe, so I'm told I'm going to hell, but the above verse says that I shall perish, which I wouldn't do if I went to hell, so how am I supposed to know what isn't going to happen to me if you guys can't keep it straight so I'll know what not to believe.

This is so confusing.

Otherwise, your point is… ?
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Offline Jesuis

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2014, 12:58:50 AM »
How can God send someone to hell if the person CAN'T believe in him?

Do you think belief is a choice or does it happen automatically?

When we get the Choice - Red pill or blue pill it was already told to us if one wanted to know more one should follow the white rabbit. Its the Question that lead one to the choice.  Once one has heard the message from Morpheus one chooses. 
According to Theists: Theists know God, Atheists don't.

Offline Astreja

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2014, 01:08:04 AM »
In the past, when I tried on various religions for size, I've attempted to believe things on purpose.

It doesn't work.  At all.  Not even "fake it till you make it" or "Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief."  Every single time, I've ended up split in two:  While one half of My brain performs a religious ritual, the other hemisphere remains aloof and unconvinced.

Not only do I not know how to change this, but I no longer want to change it.  It takes a real-world experience to convince Me of anything, and I'm okay with that.
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Offline Jesuis

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2014, 01:28:15 AM »
If a person has never encountered a god concept, then and only then, can he make a free choice to become a believer.  most people are either inculcated, indoctrinated, or influenced. But even then the guy who never encountered the concept may be unduly influenced, once he had come to know of it, especially if he never learnt about it for himself. So it may never be a free choice.
True never a free choice but influenced from birth.
Everyone is born to parents.
Parents have a duty to bring up their children in a moral ethical way.
If one cares about ones children they would realise they are innocent bystanders observing them.
They are the moral ethical authority.
What they say and do influences the innocent child.

If the parent does not follow a moral ethical authority of the self then the child see no reason to either- its has no authority of its own learning process to pass on as an authority.

The indoctrination is when parent, teacher, political or monarchical authority does not do what they should do but tells others lower down the consciousness bracket what they should do.  Such positions of power should be made aware of their negative influence on the innocent.

People ignoring the presence of the innocent is less aware of their influence and the direction they are taking humanity in.

It is always good to have a authority of higher morals if we want peace in the world and peaceful co existence. It is what the Theists promote by saying God said.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2014, 05:29:20 AM »
I don't think belief is a choice, but I think faith is.

Know what?  I agree with this.  It does of course modify Lectus' question, and we need to clarify does god send people to hell for having no belief, or having no faith?

But yes - I agree with Mooby, at least so far as I would understand the terms.  Belief is something uncontrollable.  Faith is something somewhat different, and implies that "although I don' believe a man can fly, I am going to try to suspend my disbelief and act and speak as if I DO believe it".  Not quite where I'm coming from, but getting close.

Similar, say, to watching a Spider-Man film.  Nobody believes that a radioactive spider bite will give you super-strength - but we don't sit through the film shouting "nonsense!" at the screen.  We suspend disbelief, and we have faith that Spider-Man exists, at least while we watch the film.

I'm still not quite expressing it correctly.  But yes - I agree with Mooby's quote here.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Mrjason

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2014, 06:25:22 AM »
Similar, say, to watching a Spider-Man film.  Nobody believes that a radioactive spider bite will give you super-strength - but we don't sit through the film shouting "nonsense!" at the screen.  We suspend disbelief, and we have faith that Spider-Man exists, at least while we watch the film.

I'm still not quite expressing it correctly.  But yes - I agree with Mooby's quote here.

I think faith is satisfying yourself that your belief is correct.

Using the spiderman analogy, you believe that radioactive spiders don't give you superpowers and have faith in that belief despite the evidence to the contrary presented on the screen in front of you.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2014, 07:15:07 AM »
Similar, say, to watching a Spider-Man film.  Nobody believes that a radioactive spider bite will give you super-strength - but we don't sit through the film shouting "nonsense!" at the screen.  We suspend disbelief, and we have faith that Spider-Man exists, at least while we watch the film.

I'm still not quite expressing it correctly.  But yes - I agree with Mooby's quote here.

I think faith is satisfying yourself that your belief is correct.

Using the spiderman analogy, you believe that radioactive spiders don't give you superpowers and have faith in that belief despite the evidence to the contrary presented on the screen in front of you.

Yeah, I thought my analogy wasn't saying it right.  Either that or we're looking at totally different definitions!

Okay, try this.  You may know the old "fall back, and I will catch you" trust exercise.  Imagine that you had tried it several times with different people, and ALL of them had let you fall.  Then another guy steps up and says "try again, I'll catch you".

Your belief is that you will not get caught.  You can't change that belief.

But you could have faith that he would catch you, and let yourself fall.

I think that is what Mooby means when he differentiates faith/belief?  And I would agree.  Its like when your friend lets you down time after time.  You may have the resigned belief that he will never ever be there for you, but you might still give him another chance.

I'm still not articulating, not least because the believer will say that their god IS there for them, time after time.  Hmm.  Tying myself in knots here.  Think I'll stop.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Mrjason

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2014, 07:49:28 AM »
Yeah, I thought my analogy wasn't saying it right.  Either that or we're looking at totally different definitions!

Okay, try this.  You may know the old "fall back, and I will catch you" trust exercise.  Imagine that you had tried it several times with different people, and ALL of them had let you fall.  Then another guy steps up and says "try again, I'll catch you".

Your belief is that you will not get caught.  You can't change that belief.

But you could have faith that he would catch you, and let yourself fall.

I think that is what Mooby means when he differentiates faith/belief?  And I would agree.  Its like when your friend lets you down time after time.  You may have the resigned belief that he will never ever be there for you, but you might still give him another chance.

I'm still not articulating, not least because the believer will say that their god IS there for them, time after time.  Hmm.  Tying myself in knots here.  Think I'll stop.

The problem is faith is such a vague word.
The best belief v faith analogy I've heard is; you believe that your postman exists (all evidence points towards his existence) but you have to have faith that he's going to deliver your letters and not throw them in the bin to skive his job.

Of course in this type of faith you are taking for granted that the postman exists. I talked to someone (skeptic I think) about the varying degrees of faith based on the reasonableness of the proposition.
To place your faith in someone/something you must have a reasonable belief that they/it exists or I would say that your faith is misplaced.

edit: I also agree with mooby, belief isn't a choice. If I don't get post for a few days I will still believe in the postman and have faith in him. If I don't get post for a few months, or my birthday cards containing money don't arrive, I may begin to doubt my faith in his integrity but I will still believe in him
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 08:16:31 AM by Mrjason »

Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2014, 08:47:54 AM »
I don't consider faith a gamble, no.  I doubt many believers would, either.

A gamble implies someone is playing odds, which would really only apply for a believer who's believing for the sake of Paschal's Wager. Which theists such as myself would argue isn't really faith, either.

I did not say that belief was a gamble. I said faith was a gamble on belief. I also added that the gamble can be compulsive.

Theists usually do know that there is a bet involved. How often do theists say that faith is a good bet? How often do you hear theists say "what if you are wrong?"

I will repeat my metaphor for the reader. You believe a horse is going to win and you have faith to bet on it.

« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 09:02:32 AM by Foxy Freedom »
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Offline Lectus

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2014, 09:18:11 PM »
I don't think belief is a choice, but I think faith is.

If belief is not a choice, why Christians try to convert people and send those who don't believe to hell?

It's not fair that Jesus will judge people based on something out of control such as a belief system.
Religion: The belief that an all powerful God or gods created the entire universe so that we tiny humans can be happy. And we also make war about it.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Is belief a choice?
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2014, 08:08:26 PM »
Theists usually do know that there is a bet involved. How often do theists say that faith is a good bet? How often do you hear theists say "what if you are wrong?"
I don't see that as a gamble, I see that as an argument from consequences.

If belief is not a choice, why Christians try to convert people and send those who don't believe to hell?
While belief isn't a choice, things can influence that unconscious belief.  For instance, a person from a tribal society might not believe in things such as video games or cars, but that belief may change under the right conditions (say, riding in a car or playing a video game.)

So the apologist's purpose seems to be to instill belief, at which point the person can choose to have faith and be saved according to them.  Though I do not profess the five solaeWiki, so you might want to ask someone who does.
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