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What Exactly Is Belief?


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Dictionary.com describes belief as:

 

1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.

2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.

3. confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.

4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.

 

Is belief only a brain function? If it is, than why is it so important that we have to believe the right way? Why would a god/supreme being/diety be so concerned that certain areas of our brains function in a certain "correct" way?

 

In order to get to heaven, an individual must first be introduced to concepts and ideas. Then the individual must believe those concepts and ideas. An emotional response to prove an "experience" is proof that these ideas and concepts are true. They must associate with others who also accept these same concepts and ideas, so that if the individual is introduced to opposing concepts and ideas they have many others who will reinforce the original concepts and ideas.

 

However, if a person has heard these concepts and ideas and chooses not to believe them, believes other concepts and ideas, or rejects them entirely, they are going to hell when they die.

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Interesting questions!

 

I tend to think that "belief" is a cultural function rather than a biological one. Looking at the first definition, the words "opinion" and "conviction" are used--both of which are formed by the cultural environment to which we are subjected. In this case, to talk about what is "correct" is really a relatively arbitrary designation based upon perceptions which have been proven to shift over time.

 

I find it interesting that the word "faith" is given as a synonym. Faith in and of itself demands a certain element of "unknowingness" in order for it to operate, which would make it impossible for anyone to claim that having faith is the same as knowing with certainty, or even close to it.

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However, if a person has heard these concepts and ideas and chooses not to believe them, believes other concepts and ideas, or rejects them entirely, they are going to hell when they die.

 

I was thinking this exact same thing today. Funny how, once you become far-removed from the religion, ideas like this become so ludicrous that they're laughable.

 

You must think like the group, march in step, toe the party line, be a member of the club - or else.

The creator of the universe has nothing better to worry about than each human being's thought process.

 

Don't dare question. Don't dare think for yourself or investigate or be skeptical.

 

Eternal hell awaits the person who dares to challenge the faith establishment.

 

:rolleyes:

 

Right.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Belief is not rooted in culture, religion, opinion or anything along those lines. Believing in something is merely thinking that something is a certain way. Without belief knowledge would not be possible.

 

Belief is entirely seperate from faith; faith is unfounded. Every time I have taken a step on solid ground my foot has hit something hard and I have been supported by that ground so I believe that the next step I take on perceived solid ground will also be supported. There need not be anything supernatural or irrational about belief.

 

While you must have belief to have faith, the reverse is not true.

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Is belief only a brain function? If it is, than why is it so important that we have to believe the right way? Why would a god/supreme being/diety be so concerned that certain areas of our brains function in a certain "correct" way?

 

Well, if you believe that you're going to walk in a lovely pasture but you're really walking off a cliff, it's pretty important to believe the right way.

 

In order to get to heaven, an individual must first be introduced to concepts and ideas. Then the individual must believe those concepts and ideas. An emotional response to prove an "experience" is proof that these ideas and concepts are true. They must associate with others who also accept these same concepts and ideas, so that if the individual is introduced to opposing concepts and ideas they have many others who will reinforce the original concepts and ideas.

 

Emotional responses have nothing to do with proving an experience. Emotions are just reactions to events. Conceptualization through reason is how you go about proving an idea true. And it really has nothing to do with whether or not other people accept these ideas, especially if you live in a society where everyone is irrational but you (hypothetically).

 

So...in your paragraph here, you're falsely applying knowledge to the committing of two logical fallacies:

 

1. Emotional appeal.

2. How many people believe something is true

 

I'm not sure if you meant that to be the case, but I thought it was prudent to point it out.

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Interesting questions!

 

I tend to think that "belief" is a cultural function rather than a biological one. Looking at the first definition, the words "opinion" and "conviction" are used--both of which are formed by the cultural environment to which we are subjected. In this case, to talk about what is "correct" is really a relatively arbitrary designation based upon perceptions which have been proven to shift over time.

 

I find it interesting that the word "faith" is given as a synonym. Faith in and of itself demands a certain element of "unknowingness" in order for it to operate, which would make it impossible for anyone to claim that having faith is the same as knowing with certainty, or even close to it.

 

 

Interesting question and a very reasonable response here. Belief and faith exist only in the mind.

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Interesting question and a very reasonable response here. Belief and faith exist only in the mind.

 

It's true that beliefs can only exist in the mind, but they are seperate from faith. You didn't say that, of course, but lots of people confuse them.

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