Is Belief a Choice?

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The Dude
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Post by The Dude »

Who Knows wrote:Ok. I see what you're saying.

I just have a problem when i see an apologist say "you chose your beliefs" or "you just chose not to believe". I think that's extremely misleading, it's HIGHLY oversimplifying things, and is said just to get a dig in at the critic/exmo.


Right. It makes us defensive. The normal reaction is for the critic to vehemently deny making a choice, because we remember that we are held accountable for our choices (according to LDS belief). Then we veer into the "evidence" that makes belief impossible for us, and the apologist counters with how that evidence isn't a problem for him according to his irrational tool of faith. What quickly gets lost is there is a real choice, but it's not the choice to believe or not. It's the choice to use faith as a truth-finding tool, or not.

When they say "you just chose not to believe," we should correct them with "I chose not to use faith as a truth-finding tool."

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Post by Runtu »

The Dude wrote:
Who Knows wrote:Ok. I see what you're saying.

I just have a problem when i see an apologist say "you chose your beliefs" or "you just chose not to believe". I think that's extremely misleading, it's HIGHLY oversimplifying things, and is said just to get a dig in at the critic/exmo.


Right. It makes us defensive. The normal reaction is for the critic to vehemently deny making a choice, because we remember that we are held accountable for our choices (according to LDS belief). Then we veer into the "evidence" that makes belief impossible for us, and the apologist counters with how that evidence isn't a problem for him according to his irrational tool of faith. What quickly gets lost is there is a real choice, but it's not the choice to believe or not. It's the choice to use faith as a truth-finding tool, or not.

When they say "you just chose not to believe," we should correct them with "I chose not to use faith as a truth-finding tool."


That's an excellent point. The problem is that faith is not a good tool for finding truth because faith can lead one in any number of directions that are not necessarily true.
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Post by Who Knows »

The Dude wrote:Right. It makes us defensive. The normal reaction is for the critic to vehemently deny making a choice, because we remember that we are held accountable for our choices (according to LDS belief). Then we veer into the "evidence" that makes belief impossible for us, and the apologist counters with how that evidence isn't a problem for him according to his irrational tool of faith. What quickly gets lost is there is a real choice, but it's not the choice to believe or not. It's the choice to use faith as a truth-finding tool, or not.

When they say "you just chose not to believe," we should correct them with "I chose not to use faith as a truth-finding tool."


Very well said. Thanks Dude, and everyone else, for your comments.
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Sam Harris
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Re: Is Belief a Choice?

Post by Sam Harris »

Who Knows wrote:Well, is it?


I think to an extent, yes. People do choose what they believe. Even when pressured or coerced, people still make the choice to give into that pressure.

I like seeing my belief as a choice, because then I'm free to believe as I wish. I once told someone on the old FAIR boards who had emailed me privately that I didn't want my life and religion dictated by a fear of what would happen to me when I died if I didn't adhere to some man's religous standards. I've exercised my choice.

There are some who would believe that it is somehow chemically inherent in some people to gravitate towards certain belief systems. To an extent, yes. But, using the example of fundamentalists with low self-esteem who need to be "God's chosen" to feel special, at some point they chose to sit with that self-hatred. No one is forcing them.

Everything is a choice. Not choosing is a choice. So yes, belief is most definitely a choice.
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. -Ghandi

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Re: Why we worship

Post by desert_vulture »

The Dude wrote:
Gazelam wrote:In every culture in the world are found people worshiping a God of one kind or another. The reason for this is simple....


Gazelam, I'm having a hard time seeing how your just-so-story engages the topic of this thread: Is belief a choice?

Faith is a choice. I talked with Juliann about this concept, and thanked her for introducing it to me. You may choose to have faith in many things, in view of conflicting evidence. Faith in creation. Faith in evolution. Faith in aliens. Faith in Mormonism. Faith in scientology. Faith in infallible logic. Faith in the USA. Faith in capitalism. Faith in deism. Faith in your spouse. Faith in your children. Faith in the sun rising tomorrow. Faith in global warming. Faith in science. Faith in the Big Bang theory. Faith in corrupt politicians. Faith in God. Faith in the Virgin Mary. Faith in the system. Faith in George Bush.

Faith is definitely a choice. You can choose to have faith in anything or anyone. And you can also choose not to have faith in anything or anyone. Faith in yourself is defintely a good choice. Faith in others can be a good choice as well.

-DV

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Re: Why we worship

Post by Sister Mary Lisa »

desert_vulture wrote:
The Dude wrote:
Gazelam wrote:In every culture in the world are found people worshiping a God of one kind or another. The reason for this is simple....


Gazelam, I'm having a hard time seeing how your just-so-story engages the topic of this thread: Is belief a choice?

Faith is a choice. I talked with Juliann about this concept, and thanked her for introducing it to me. You may choose to have faith in many things, in view of conflicting evidence. Faith in creation. Faith in evolution. Faith in aliens. Faith in Mormonism. Faith in scientology. Faith in infallible logic. Faith in the USA. Faith in capitalism. Faith in deism. Faith in your spouse. Faith in your children. Faith in the sun rising tomorrow. Faith in global warming. Faith in science. Faith in the Big Bang theory. Faith in corrupt politicians. Faith in God. Faith in the Virgin Mary. Faith in the system. Faith in George Bush.

Faith is definitely a choice. You can choose to have faith in anything or anyone. And you can also choose not to have faith in anything or anyone. Faith in yourself is defintely a good choice. Faith in others can be a good choice as well.

-DV


I have faith in DV. He never disappoints.

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Post by truth dancer »

Hi DV...

Faith is a choice. I talked with Juliann about this concept, and thanked her for introducing it to me. You may choose to have faith in many things, in view of conflicting evidence. Faith in creation. Faith in evolution. Faith in aliens. Faith in Mormonism. Faith in scientology. Faith in infallible logic. Faith in the USA. Faith in capitalism. Faith in deism. Faith in your spouse. Faith in your children. Faith in the sun rising tomorrow. Faith in global warming. Faith in science. Faith in the Big Bang theory. Faith in corrupt politicians. Faith in God. Faith in the Virgin Mary. Faith in the system. Faith in George Bush.


What is the dfn of faith in your view?

If you are suggesting faith is having confidence or trust in someone, then yes this would be a choice, and your comment makes sense.

If however you are suggesting faith is a belief not based on proof then I do not understand your post.

I understand how people can choose to believe anything and everything when there is no proof, no experience, and no sense of it.

But I disagree one can choose to believe something that their experience, knowledge, and understanding tells them clearly, based on experience and evidence, is untrue.

When someone tells me that can choose to believe the sun is made of green jello and really honestly believe it, then I will believe we choose what we want to believe. Until then... I do not think we can arbitrarily believe whatever we want.

:-)

~dancer~
"The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it destroys the world in which you live." Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Post by Gazelam »

I don't think Faith is a choice, I think it is ingrained in every intelligent being. How we choose to excercise that faith is a choice.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. - Plato

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Post by desert_vulture »

truth dancer wrote:Hi DV...

Faith is a choice. I talked with Juliann about this concept, and thanked her for introducing it to me. You may choose to have faith in many things, in view of conflicting evidence. Faith in creation. Faith in evolution. Faith in aliens. Faith in Mormonism. Faith in scientology. Faith in infallible logic. Faith in the USA. Faith in capitalism. Faith in deism. Faith in your spouse. Faith in your children. Faith in the sun rising tomorrow. Faith in global warming. Faith in science. Faith in the Big Bang theory. Faith in corrupt politicians. Faith in God. Faith in the Virgin Mary. Faith in the system. Faith in George Bush.


What is the dfn of faith in your view?

If you are suggesting faith is having confidence or trust in someone, then yes this would be a choice, and your comment makes sense.

If however you are suggesting faith is a belief not based on proof then I do not understand your post.

I understand how people can choose to believe anything and everything when there is no proof, no experience, and no sense of it.

But I disagree one can choose to believe something that their experience, knowledge, and understanding tells them clearly, based on experience and evidence, is untrue.

When someone tells me that can choose to believe the sun is made of green jello and really honestly believe it, then I will believe we choose what we want to believe. Until then... I do not think we can arbitrarily believe whatever we want.

:-)

~dancer~


Hi dancer,

Let's skip faith in George W Bush, or faith in aliens. I was wondering if we could discuss faith in the context of faith in a supreme being, a Deity, or God as a prime example of faith.

Faith in God is common on the planet. Usually it is tied to religious belief, but not always. Is faith in God rational? Is it possible for human language to define a creator or a supreme being? Possibly. Is the concept of a creator or a supreme being rational? Possibly. Is the concept of life evolving over billions of years without a creator rational? Possibly. Could a supreme being have played a role in the evolution of the all of the life forms on the planet? Possibly. Is there definitive evidence that God never existed or that the supreme intelligence has always existed? Who knows. Is intelligent design a more productive or accurate model than evolution and natural selection? Possibly. Is the existence of a supreme being a fallacy for the irrational and religiously deluded masses? Possibly.

Many of these questions form the basis of humanity's complex theories of philosophy and spirituality. Yet the paradox of life largely remains unanswered. Evidence and counter-evidence exists to support or deny the existence or non-existence of deity. Many people have spiritual experiences or near-death experiences that they claim as support for the existence of a supreme being. Many others points to advances in science and the theory of evolution as a superior model that is more grounded in rational actuality than in mystical belief. What is the answer? There may be no satisfactory answer.

If someone tells me that the sun is made of green jello and really honestly believes it, does that constitute faith or an unrealistic belief? I think it constitutes an unrealistic belief on the basis that it is not supported by any scientific data. Any faith should be supported by quantifiable data, if available. If I choose to believe that the sun is a tremendous fusion reaction, where hydrogen is burned into helium, in a furnace many million times the size of any engine produced by the smartest of scientists, and that the sun has burned at a constant steady rate for thousands, if not millions of years, at the precise distance from the earth to sustain life, and exerting the precise amount and type of energy to cause photosynthesis in all plant life, would that be an unrealistic belief? Possibly. Would it be unrealistic to believe that some type of supreme being was the creator of this engine that was capable of supporting life?

Here's what scientists attribute to "mother nature" in regards to the sun: "Nature has written a wonderful mystery. The plot continually changes and the most important clues come from seemingly unrelated investigations. These sudden and drastic changes of scientific scene appear to be Nature's way of revealing the unity of all fundamental science.

The mystery begins in the middle of the nineteenth century with the puzzle: How does the sun shine? Almost immediately, the plot switches to questions about how fast natural selection occurs and at what rate geological formations are created. The best theoretical physics of the nineteenth century gave the wrong answer to all these questions. The first hint of the correct answer came, at the very end of the nineteenth century, from the discovery of radioactivity with accidentally darkened photographic plates.

The right direction in which to search for the detailed solution was revealed by the 1905 discovery of the special theory of relativity, by the 1920 measurement of the nuclear masses of hydrogen and helium, and by the 1928 quantum mechanical explanation of how charged particles get close to each other. These crucial investigations were not directly related to the study of stars.

By the middle of the twentieth century, nuclear physicists and astrophysicists could calculate theoretically the rate of nuclear burning in the interiors of stars like the sun. But, just when we thought we had Nature figured out, experiments showed that fewer solar neutrinos were observed at earth than were predicted by the standard theory of how stars shine and how sub-atomic particles behave.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we have learned that solar neutrinos tell us not only about the interior of the sun, but also something about the nature of neutrinos. No one knows what surprises will be revealed by the new solar neutrino experiments that are currently underway or are planned. The richness and the humor with which Nature has written her mystery, in an international language that can be read by curious people of all nations, is beautiful, awesome, and humbling."

This account of the scientific properties of the sun was taken from Nobelprize.org at this site:.http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/articles/fusion/index.html Could the factor that scientists call "Nature", possibly also be called a supreme being, or God, or intelligent design, or some form of intelligence? Possibly. There seem to be no right or wrong answers, only beliefs and theories.

This is where I finally answer your question: What is the definition of faith, in your view? Here is my definition of faith, in the context of faith in God. Faith in God, is the ability to extrapolate all scientific information, factor in all personal spiritual experiences, and take an honest appraisal of the value of each component, under a subjective test, and decide whether the preponderance of the evidence points toward, or against, the existence of a supreme being. In other words I ask myself the question, subjectively, does the majority of evidence that I have experienced, and that humanity has experienced, point toward the existence of Deity? When my scale tips toward an answer, and 51% of the evidence points in that direction, I think that faith is the ability to take that computation, and determine that a belief in a supreme being is justified by the evidence. So, therefore I choose to have faith, in view of the lack of a concrete answer, based on the calculation I described above. Likewise, if the evidence, from all of the sources came up 49%, I believe that faith that no supreme being exists would also be justified. For me, the scale of my spiritual evidences combined with the physical evidences I see in the world, tips the scale in favor of there being a Supreme being, so I choose to have faith in that Being.

Sorry to be so long-winded, truth dancer, but it was a tough question. Hopefully, I explained myself well enough to be understood. I wonder sometimes if the written word isn't the weakest form of communication. I think it is. Ah well.

-DV

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Re: Why we worship

Post by desert_vulture »

Sister Mary Lisa wrote:
desert_vulture wrote:
The Dude wrote:
Gazelam wrote:In every culture in the world are found people worshiping a God of one kind or another. The reason for this is simple....


Gazelam, I'm having a hard time seeing how your just-so-story engages the topic of this thread: Is belief a choice?

Faith is a choice. I talked with Juliann about this concept, and thanked her for introducing it to me. You may choose to have faith in many things, in view of conflicting evidence. Faith in creation. Faith in evolution. Faith in aliens. Faith in Mormonism. Faith in scientology. Faith in infallible logic. Faith in the USA. Faith in capitalism. Faith in deism. Faith in your spouse. Faith in your children. Faith in the sun rising tomorrow. Faith in global warming. Faith in science. Faith in the Big Bang theory. Faith in corrupt politicians. Faith in God. Faith in the Virgin Mary. Faith in the system. Faith in George Bush.

Faith is definitely a choice. You can choose to have faith in anything or anyone. And you can also choose not to have faith in anything or anyone. Faith in yourself is defintely a good choice. Faith in others can be a good choice as well.

-DV


I have faith in DV. He never disappoints.

Thanks! Ah, shucks, Sister Mary Lisa, now you've got me blushing.

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Post by truth dancer »

Hi DV... thanks for your thoughts and insights.

Actually, I think we sort of agree here... in a way. :-)

I think people can indeed have faith in those things that are yet unknown or that are not fully known, or even things they want to believe but are as of yet unsure.

But this is different than just choosing what one believes.

If belief was just about a choice then you could indeed choose to believe the sun was made of green jello, whether it is an irrational belief or not.

My assertion is that, our beliefs are complex and based on numerous things including personal experience, collective understanding, rational thinking, sensory awareness etc. etc. etc. etc.

There are plenty of beliefs I find completely irrational that others find completely true and real. I just can't chose to believe what goes against or is in opposition to, everything that has given me my beliefs. (The sun is made of green jello for example). It is too ridiculous for me to be able to believe it.

Does this make sense?

In other words, those who have faith in something that is unknown, from my observation ALWAYS believe it can be true and that it is NOT an irrational belief, whereas others can not have faith because it is irrational and impossible in their minds.

It seems we can only have faith in that which seems possible. And why would anyone have faith in something that seems impossible... I mean this would be horrible for all sorts of reasons. :-)

In sum, I think we can have faith in the unknown and can chose to believe that which is unknown (to the individual) but I do not think one can arbitrarily chose to believe that which is in opposition to one's experience, reality, and understanding. And I think to have faith that one's world is not what is their reality or experience is very dangerous.

:-)

~dancer~
"The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it destroys the world in which you live." Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Post by desert_vulture »

truth dancer wrote:In other words, those who have faith in something that is unknown, from my observation ALWAYS believe it can be true and that it is NOT an irrational belief, whereas others can not have faith because it is irrational and impossible in their minds.
I totally agree. However, some people's spiritual experiences seem irrational to everyone except themselves. Does that make their faith irrational? I'm not sure about the answer to that one. I am now in the process of comparing my experiences with people in other belief systems, and have found some amazing similarities.

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Post by wenglund »

The Dude wrote:Or someone could teach you about irrational truth seeking: FAITH.

Irrational truth seeking says: "You don't need to drive to the ocean and see it, and seeking such a sign might actually lead you away from the truth. Just think about it and read what others have said, and pray a lot to know it's blood red. And if your eyes or other people try to tell you it's blue, don't worry about it, because that's just the plan of the evil one to lead you astray."

You may choose rational truth seeking -- or irrational truth seeking. You end up with beliefs.


This is the second time on this thread where you have called faith "irrational". And, not that I wish to argue the point, but could it be that the kind of "faith" you personally experienced in your past was irrational (which may explain why you have chosen to abondon it for what you now consider to be "rational truth seeking"), and not faith in general? I ask because, to me, my experience with faith has been quite rational.

Regarding the subject of this thread, though, I think choice is involved on a number of levels with beliefs. We choose what to investigate or not. We choose how deeply we wish to investigate or not. We choose how to weight and interpret the data. We chose what sources to trust or not, and which we deem authoritative or not. We choose to compare and contrast competing beliefs, or not. We choose the criteria for deciding between competing beliefs, etc. etc.

And, believe it or not (pun intended), one can even chose to believe things that their minds, or the minds of others, may consider unbelievable, and also chose not believe things that to their minds, or the minds of others, are very believable. Some of both of these take the form of "mental illness', and others take the form of genius and creativity.

Many of us believe that man is able to fly (having myself flown hundreds of thousands of miles from places to place all around the US), while such a thought would have been thought absurd or insane no less than several centuries ago.

Yet, even with as advanced as we humans have become, technologically, I still ponder in awe and amazement at the human eye and sight (which I have increasing grown to appreciate as I have begun to loose it in the last several years), and doubt that it, like procreation and mortal birth and other things I chose to attribute to divine creation, will ever come close to being rivaled by human innovation.

But, perhaps that just a belief of my choosing. ;-)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

marg

Post by marg »

Truth dancer, here are some articles from Skeptical Inquirer you might find interesting addressing the function of beliefs as a survival mechanism.

Why Bad Beliefs don't Die (Nov/Dec 2000 issue)
http://www.csicop.org/si/2000-11/beliefs.html

Voodoo Science and the Belief Gene (issue sept 1,2000)

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-67691836.html

And another article,

The Belief Engine (May/June 1995 issue)

http://www.csicop.org/si/9505/belief.html
Last edited by marg on Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by truth dancer »

Hi DV...

I totally agree. However, some people's spiritual experiences seem irrational to everyone except themselves. Does that make their faith irrational? I'm not sure about the answer to that one. I am now in the process of comparing my experiences with people in other belief systems, and have found some amazing similarities.


I know quite a few people who have beliefs that others find completely irrational.... and I'm quite sure some of my beliefs sound irrational to others. Peoples through the ages had beliefs that, today look irrational but to them they made perfect sense. And, I have worked with a few people who have delusion disorder... they completely believe their "reality" is the true one and everyone else is not "getting" it.

The thing is... we all have beliefs that make sense to us. We believe what seems possible and true (at least to us).

One of the things that bothered me so much as a believer, trying to make sense of "stuff" was that people all over the world have all sorts of spiritual experiences that are as powerful as any LDS spiritual experience. Those of other religions believe just as strongly, have just as amazing experiences, have similar healings, feel the spirit (or spirits) in deeply powerful and life altering ways.

So... I think there is much more to choosing what one beliefs... it just seems to me to be much more complicated than that.

:-)

At least this is a rational belief to me! LOL!

~dancer~
"The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it destroys the world in which you live." Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Post by wenglund »

truth dancer wrote:But I disagree one can choose to believe something that their experience, knowledge, and understanding tells them clearly, based on experience and evidence, is untrue.

When someone tells me that can choose to believe the sun is made of green jello and really honestly believe it, then I will believe we choose what we want to believe. Until then... I do not think we can arbitrarily believe whatever we want.
~dancer~


I think what you are suggesting is that one cannot necessarily choose to believe something that their prior choices of beliefs thoroughly reject and/or contradict.

I think in many cases you are correct. However, major paradigm shifts are known to occur--for good or ill. And, certain chemical imbalances and psychological trauma's that are reacted to in maladaptive and dysfunctional ways, can cause distortions of reality such that the mind may see as real, things that otherwise would be considered imagined or absurd.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by truth dancer »

Hi Wade... :-)

I think in many cases you are correct. However, major paradigm shifts are known to occur--for good or ill.


Absolutely! I just don't think beliefs change because of a choice. :-)

And, certain chemical imbalances and psychological trauma's that are reacted to in maladaptive and dysfunctional ways, can cause distortions of reality such that the mind may see as real, things that otherwise would be considered imagined or absurd.


Yes, beliefs can and do change all the time... new insights, new brain chemistry, new knowledge, new discoveries, etc. etc. etc. all impact how we experience the world, and alter what we believe about life. Absolutly beliefs change.

:-)

~dancer~
"The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it destroys the world in which you live." Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Post by wenglund »

truth dancer wrote:Yes, beliefs can and do change all the time... new insights, new brain chemistry, new knowledge, new discoveries, etc. etc. etc. all impact how we experience the world, and alter what we believe about life. Absolutly beliefs change. :-) ~dancer~


Consider, though, how it is that those belief's happen to change. Aside from chemical imbalances and trauma to the brain, I don't see how choices would not be inherently involved in the process in a number of ways (some of which I previously deliniated).

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by truth dancer »

Hi Wade...


Consider, though, how it is that those belief's happen to change. Aside from chemical imbalances and trauma to the brain, I don't see how choices would not be inherently involved in the process in a number of ways (some of which I previously deliniated).


I don't think people just arbitrarily choose to believe something that goes against their awareness, but, if they get new information, experience something new, learn a new idea etc. etc., then they see the world differently and therefore beliefs may change.

I just have yet to know someone who could truly believe something that was directly contradicted by their experience of reality and truth.

For example... lets go back to a time when everyone thought the world was flat. They held this "truth" as reality because there was nothing to tell them otherwise. But... when the understanding came into the consciousness of humans through research, experience, etc. etc., people were able to adopt this new information into their reality thereby creating different beliefs. The old ideas were released as new knowledge and experience came into being.

Now, obviously there were those who refused to believe the world was round (there are still such folks - smile), but overall, as the information and experience came into the world, it became harder and harder for people to believe the world is flat, because it completely is in opposition to one's reality.

I don't think anyone who has the experience and understanding of a round earth can just choose to believe the earth is flat.

Does that make sense?

~dancer~
"The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it destroys the world in which you live." Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Post by Runtu »

It's interesting that Wade adopts a Kuhnian approach to changing belief without accepting one of Kuhn's major premises: that it is an unexpected change in the way the world is perceived that triggers a paradigm shift. It's not a choice to deal with anomalous information, but the choice involves how you deal with it. The belief must change, of necessity, in the event of anomaly.
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Post by desert_vulture »

truth dancer wrote:Hi DV...

I totally agree. However, some people's spiritual experiences seem irrational to everyone except themselves. Does that make their faith irrational? I'm not sure about the answer to that one. I am now in the process of comparing my experiences with people in other belief systems, and have found some amazing similarities.


I know quite a few people who have beliefs that others find completely irrational.... and I'm quite sure some of my beliefs sound irrational to others. Peoples through the ages had beliefs that, today look irrational but to them they made perfect sense. And, I have worked with a few people who have delusion disorder... they completely believe their "reality" is the true one and everyone else is not "getting" it.

The thing is... we all have beliefs that make sense to us. We believe what seems possible and true (at least to us).

One of the things that bothered me so much as a believer, trying to make sense of "stuff" was that people all over the world have all sorts of spiritual experiences that are as powerful as any LDS spiritual experience. Those of other religions believe just as strongly, have just as amazing experiences, have similar healings, feel the spirit (or spirits) in deeply powerful and life altering ways.

So... I think there is much more to choosing what one beliefs... it just seems to me to be much more complicated than that.

:-)

At least this is a rational belief to me! LOL!

~dancer~

Hi dancer!

Have you ever heard of Daniel Tammet? He is a British man that is a whiz at mathematical calculations. He sees numbers as colors, shapes, and patterns, where sequences of numbers form a landscape in his mind. He says that he sees the numbers 1 through 10,000, each having a different shade or color. He can perform incredibly difficult mathematical calculations in seconds, using only his mind. He is a savant, but has very few limiting characteristics that are typical of savants. I'm sure there were a few people in his life who thought his mathematical methodology was irrational too, until he memorized pi to 22,500 decimal points, and recited it in 5 hours at Oxford University. It's funny but people who have a different way of thinking seem irrational, until they prove themselves, then we call them geniuses. :) Here's a couple video clips of Daniel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoNcmQydD7U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Vs6R5YZQ3c

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