Belief
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03-05-2013, 05:27 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2013 05:34 PM by CompletelySolo.)
Belief
I realize it can get confusing in a place like this, but "Believe" isn't really a bad word. Atheists "believe" lots of things. We just don't believe in the same sense religious people mean when they say they "Believe the bible."

Dictionary definition:
Quote:verb (used without object)
1. to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so: Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully.

verb (used with object)
2. to have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, etc.); give credence to.

3. to have confidence in the assertions of (a person).

4. to have a conviction that (a person or thing) is, has been, or will be engaged in a given action or involved in a given situation: The fugitive is believed to be headed for the Mexican border.

5. to suppose or assume; understand (usually followed by a noun clause): I believe that he has left town.

Notice none of these presuppose unsubstantiated faith. (Even definitions 1. and 2.)

For example:

Defintion 1: Trusting in existence requires one to believe. I trust that what I perceive exists, that I do not live a soliptic dream inside my head. I have no proof of this, but there seems no point to constantly questioning if the world around me is real.

Definition 2: I believe the latest sports news on ESPN. I have no reason not to, and I don't care enough to do a detailed investigation.

Definition 3: I believe the scientific premises touched on in Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." I have to take Hawking's word as legitimate, because I am not a scientist or mathematician and cannot do the research myself.

Definition 4: I believe my inlaws are planning to come visit next weekend.

Definition 5: I believe my children are downstairs watching TV right now. I hear a kid's show on the television. I might be wrong, but it seems like a good assumption.


I've seen people jump on the word believe or belief negatively, because it can be misconstrued and treated to mean things we don't want it to mean by morons who like to use semantics to define the world the way they like. "You have beliefs just like I have beliefs. Everyone has religion." Bullshit. Yeah, but the bullshit isn't in the word belief. The bullshit is when he compares the nature of belief...
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03-05-2013, 05:32 PM
RE: Belief
There is a school of thought that says that 'know' is a subset of 'believe' (e.g. Matt Dillahunty, Atheist Experience)

Meaning that we believe loads of shit and some of this we actually know to be true.

Implication... agnosticism is a subset of atheism.

Solo, I agree with you.
Depending on the context, 'belief' is not a problem for me. It's 'faith' that has me rolling my eyes and shaking my head.

Smile

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03-05-2013, 05:41 PM
RE: Belief
(03-05-2013 05:32 PM)DLJ Wrote:  There is a school of thought that says that 'know' is a subset of 'believe' (e.g. Matt Dillahunty, Atheist Experience)

Meaning that we believe loads of shit and some of this we actually know to be true.

Implication... agnosticism is a subset of atheism.

Solo, I agree with you.
Depending on the context, 'belief' is not a problem for me. It's 'faith' that has me rolling my eyes and shaking my head.

Smile

Even beyond that, there's the rigidity of religious belief.

I believe that the Theory of Evolution best explains how we came to exist as a species on Earth...i'm no biologist, but I trust that science really is the pursuit of knowledge and it's not a massive conspiracy to undermine the bible. I read what I can understand, and it makes sense.

If people were to unearth an ancient spaceship that crashlanded on earth and documented our origins as being the decendants of the beings that crashed here, well, I would be pretty amazed, but if the scientific community accepted it, I would change my belief to match what they now accepted. See, that's the beauty of science...science is wonderfully skeptical. All scientific investigation exists to disprove things. That's how science progresses.

Religion? They need the facts to be smacking them in the face for several centuries before they'll ever change. "Beliefs" based on science rely on investigation, and change is good. Religious "beliefs" are based on dogma, and cannot easily change...revelation by the divine is undermined by change.
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03-05-2013, 07:49 PM
RE: Belief
Quote:Contemporary analytic philosophers of mind generally use the term “belief” to refer to the attitude we have, roughly, whenever we take something to be the case or regard it as true. To believe something, in this sense, needn't involve actively reflecting on it: Of the vast number of things ordinary adults believe, only a few can be at the fore of the mind at any single time. Nor does the term “belief”, in standard philosophical usage, imply any uncertainty or any extended reflection about the matter in question (as it sometimes does in ordinary English usage). Many of the things we believe, in the relevant sense, are quite mundane: that we have heads, that it's the 21st century, that a coffee mug is on the desk. Forming beliefs is thus one of the most basic and important features of the mind, and the concept of belief plays a crucial role in both philosophy of mind and epistemology.

From good ol' plato.

So, no, I ain't got no problem with the term. I used to, then I got educated. Tongue

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03-05-2013, 08:58 PM
 
RE: Belief
Everyone functions on beliefs.
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03-05-2013, 09:19 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2013 09:59 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Belief
(03-05-2013 08:58 PM)Egor Wrote:  Everyone functions on beliefs.

I don't believe it.

(03-05-2013 05:27 PM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  I realize it can get confusing in a place like this, but "Believe" isn't really a bad word. Atheists "believe" lots of things. We just don't believe in the same sense religious people mean when they say they "Believe the bible."

The problem as I see it is they've co-opted and perverted the term so that now I find it pejoratively confused with "faith" as DLJ points out. And it's a superfluous concept I don't need anyway.

(03-05-2013 05:27 PM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  Defintion 1: Trusting in existence requires one to believe. I trust that what I perceive exists, that I do not live a soliptic dream inside my head. I have no proof of this, but there seems no point to constantly questioning if the world around me is real.

Bah, no trust required, everything just goes smoother as long as I pretend like I do. Solipsism is an excellent example of something I can't find myself to believe nor disbelieve, it is beyond belief. But you're right, no need to navel-gaze on it. ... Bills to be paid, work to be done, chop chop.

(03-05-2013 05:27 PM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  Definition 2: I believe the latest sports news on ESPN. I have no reason not to, and I don't care enough to do a detailed investigation.

I expect you can find the latest sports news on ESPN.

(03-05-2013 05:27 PM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  Definition 3: I believe the scientific premises touched on in Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." I have to take Hawking's word as legitimate, because I am not a scientist or mathematician and cannot do the research myself.

I trust the specialists to be, well specialists.

(03-05-2013 05:27 PM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  Definition 4: I believe my inlaws are planning to come visit next weekend.

I hope my inlaws ain't coming over this weekend.

(03-05-2013 05:27 PM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  Definition 5: I believe my children are downstairs watching TV right now. I hear a kid's show on the television. I might be wrong, but it seems like a good assumption.

Sounds like the kids are downstairs.

I see no need to believe in "belief".

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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04-05-2013, 03:03 AM
RE: Belief
I don't have much problem with belief as a term. Christians and other religions can be obfuscatory though.

E.g. "Do you believe in evolution ?"... this is one of those WTF questions you hear often. Yes. I believe that evolution is the theory that best fits the data. But to a Creationist it's like there's two competing explanations, both equally valid, and I happen to have chosen the one over the other.

One does not *choose* to believe... another concept a lot of the religious seem to have trouble with.
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