Do we believe what we want?
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21-06-2016, 02:31 PM
Do we believe what we want?
Hi,

I have come to suspect that people sometimes (maybe often) choose a set of political, moral or religious beliefs based on the way they would like things to be.

A few years back my brother in law died. He had been a life long atheist, regularly voicing harsh views against theists. At the end of a long illness he was quiet on the subject. At his funeral I was surprised to find that he had chosen Christian passages and music, including “My father’s house has many mansions.”

Had there been a change in his beliefs in the last months? Maybe he felt that one of those mansions would be available for him? Who knows. However, this example illustrates my suspicion, that perhaps the theist wants the succour and benefits of God, the socialist wants the common security of the state, the conservative wants private property above all. The chosen set of beliefs reflects the wants of the person.

Could there be some truth in this?

D.
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21-06-2016, 02:47 PM
RE: Do we believe what we want?
Another option: Maybe someone else picked out the passages and music after he died.
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21-06-2016, 02:50 PM
RE: Do we believe what we want?
I partly disagree. I don't doubt that some people might pretend to believe something, or believe in something they really want to be true, but usually we are convinced of something.

For the right or the wrong reasons, we are convinced about our belief. I'm not talking about what you may tell others, you can always lie. I mean, what you know to be true to yourself: you must be convinced.

I cannot suddenly go back to believe in Santa Claus or Baby Jesus delivering gifts on Christmas Eve, because I couldn't possibly convince myself of the veracity of such claims, and the same applies to religious beliefs. Back then I was convinced of god's existence, right now I'm not anymore, but I didn't just "choose" to switch off my belief, I was convinced by rational arguments, reasoning, and so on.

孤独 - The Out Crowd
Life is a flash of light between two eternities of darkness.
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21-06-2016, 03:02 PM
RE: Do we believe what we want?
(21-06-2016 02:31 PM)Dworkin Wrote:  The chosen set of beliefs reflects the wants of the person.

Could there be some truth in this?

Could be that we are genetically predisposed to different wants. Epigenetics triggers it.

#sigh
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21-06-2016, 03:08 PM
RE: Do we believe what we want?
We all believe what we wish to believe. 100% of the time.It is part of free will or the lack of it whichever you want to believe. But I don't believe in God because I don't want to. My mother for instance when I was talking logic to her said "I prefer to hang onto my beliefs," I answered telling her that was her privilege, No matter what brought you to your beliefs you hang onto them because you want to. Full Stop. Are you afraid of the dark? It is because you wanna be. Do you refuse to eat meat? It is because you want to do that.
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21-06-2016, 03:44 PM
RE: Do we believe what we want?
I think we do not choose what we believe because we believe whatever we are convinced of. That means we we can be convinced by bad information to believe in false things or true things. Now I do think that one can profess to believe something that they really aren't convinced of but only they would really know if they are lying. This is different than actually believing something that you aren't convinced of.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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21-06-2016, 04:20 PM
RE: Do we believe what we want?
Maybe he just wanted your father in law to have a huge house.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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21-06-2016, 04:47 PM
RE: Do we believe what we want?
I don't believe in God because I don't want to follow his rules.

fuck

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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22-06-2016, 03:42 AM
RE: Do we believe what we want?
(21-06-2016 02:47 PM)pablo Wrote:  Another option: Maybe someone else picked out the passages and music after he died.

pablo,

I wondered about that, but my wife tells me it was him.

D.
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22-06-2016, 03:58 AM
RE: Do we believe what we want?
Hi,

Apologies, I don't know how to quote from different posts in a reply.

Born Again Pagan says - "We all believe what we wish to believe. 100% of the time."

The Organic Chemist says - " I think we do not choose what we believe because we believe whatever we are convinced of."

OK, my example wasn't up to much, but at least the OP brought out a clear debating point. IMHO there is truth in both of the above claims. Yes, there is wishful thinking, there is denial (lying to oneself) and there is being convinced. The interesting thing is how these psychological states bear onto a person and if we are able to discover or sense what is going on with someone else, or even (Cartesian?) with ourselves.

Maybe the hardest thing to unravel is self deception, which would fit with wishful thinking, but there is also the intersection between rational conviction and conviction of faith, which seems highly problematic to me, at least in a debate.

D.
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