Poll: Is "belief" a choice
Yes. Belief is a choice.
No. Belief is not a choice.
I dont know
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Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
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10-03-2016, 08:20 AM
RE: Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
I'm in JennyBee's camp here in that of course belief is a choice. I hear two stories from children after seeing a broken window and baseball on the ground. One tells me a story that they were playing catch and the ball was thrown too high and hit the window and he's sorry. The other says, it was like that when we got here. I choose to believe the first kid. Now, later on, if I find out the first kid was lying to cover for another friend and was taking the blame and that it was indeed true that the window was broken when they got there, I will THEN believe the other child. I am choosing one story over the other, hence my choice was to believe A over B.

I can see people getting all meta on this but that's bullshit. You have a brain and it choose what is more credible to you. It's a choice.

Check out my now-defunct atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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Atheism promotes critical thinking; theism promotes hypocritical thinking. -- Me
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10-03-2016, 08:22 AM
RE: Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
I think that it may appear that we don't choose our beliefs because it is the end result of a process. We certainly do make choices during that process. We choose the criteria that must be present before we accept an idea. For instance I have made the choice not to accept anything on faith. Therefore if someone asks me to take his claims on faith I will always balk.

Belief is the degree to which we accept a proposition as true and it can range from very tentative to almost certain. I certainly decide the degree to which I place my confidence in a proposition.

Knowledge is conceptual and the conceptual faculty does not work automatically. We must first choose to focus our attention. We are fully capable of evading or refusing to see when we want to.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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10-03-2016, 08:25 AM
RE: Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
(10-03-2016 07:55 AM)morondog Wrote:  Assume God exists and is omnipotent etc as described in the Bible. Then indeed he should know how to convince an atheist that he exists. The fact that he does not do so - the fact that atheists exist in this world-with-God-too, then implies that he does not *want* to convert them. i.e. the Calvinists are correct, God has chosen his elect to go to heaven and punishes the rest for not believing in him, when he has made such a belief an impossibility for a rational person.

I am stepping in what you are laying down. Many theologians have have sought to answer this problem. One possible explanation was given by Thomas Aquinas where he basically says that belief is a gift of grace. That an unbeliever who begrudgingly prays and asks God for belief will be given "saving grace". This "saving grace" is simply where God will open your heart to allow yourself to believe. I personally don't know how I feel about this explanation though.
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10-03-2016, 08:28 AM
RE: Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
(10-03-2016 08:05 AM)DLJ Wrote:  So this is not related to an actual Debate You've Had With Theists?

If it's generally about belief vs. knowledge, it belongs in the Philosophy section.

But I suspect it will be more about the nonsensical notion of being 'saved' - or more specifically, convincing oneself that something is true out of fear - so it belongs in the Atheism/Theism section. Thread moved.

A notion to which I can only say: I'm already saved.

Thanks, though.



This is a debate that I have had with many Christians that ultimately turns in to a topic about predestination and the elect. But I differ to your judgement on this issue. If you think this topic should be moved, I am fine with that. Thank you.
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10-03-2016, 08:30 AM
RE: Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
(10-03-2016 08:20 AM)WillHopp Wrote:  I can see people getting all meta on this but that's bullshit. You have a brain and it choose what is more credible to you. It's a choice.

Ok, prove it. Choose to believe in god for the next 10 minutes.

If you choose your beliefs that should not be unreasonable, correct?

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10-03-2016, 08:34 AM
RE: Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
(10-03-2016 08:30 AM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  
(10-03-2016 08:20 AM)WillHopp Wrote:  I can see people getting all meta on this but that's bullshit. You have a brain and it choose what is more credible to you. It's a choice.

Ok, prove it. Choose to believe in god for the next 10 minutes.

If you choose your beliefs that should not be unreasonable, correct?
I would have to say that I agree with this post. I think that for many unbelievers, to believe that God exists is like trying to believe the device you are currently using to read this post does not exist.
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10-03-2016, 08:36 AM
RE: Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
(10-03-2016 08:05 AM)jennybee Wrote:  My vote should be no. I voted yes because I think I initially misunderstood your question. Sorry no coffee yet Wink. I think belief is a choice in the sense that everyone can decide how to live their lives and what to believe/ not to believe whether a god (or gods) exist or not. So in that sense, yes belief is a choice. I don't believe in the biblical version of free will though so in that sense, I would say no. I also think people can be brainwashed into religious belief, indoctrinated, before they even have a chance to think for themselves. So in that sense belief is not a choice necessarily either. I don't believe a magical deity gives us the choice to believe or not believe.
I like your new profile picture.
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10-03-2016, 08:37 AM (This post was last modified: 10-03-2016 08:45 AM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
Always an interesting concept. In my opinion one is able to believe in a concept, or not. Based on many contributing factors of course. I do not think it is a choice one can...and I hate using this word....truly make. One can say one believes in a concept, speak it, preach it, and even wear it on a t-shirt, but deep down inside they don't or they are battling internal doubt on if it is actually true. This is the cornerstone of my position that all people infected with faith have inner doubt to some degree or another. They may be in denial, but it is there.

Which is why the Pascal's wager is such a BS concept. One cannot just decide to believe in something. One either does, or does not.

Some good reading on this philosophical mind rape:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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10-03-2016, 08:39 AM
RE: Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
Belief is only an (active) choice if you plan to be intellectually dishonest (with yourself). Otherwise its just the result of processing the avaliable information/experience, and that is not arbitrary.

Explanation:
You gain knowledge and your brain will process it. Your brain will automatically match possible beliefs with the availiable information. Ok, the brain is not particularly good at it, so we have to take care about various fallacies and biases.
but
Overall you want to be honest with yourself, right? So you are going to believe what matches your availiable information/evidence, etc. Evolution has already guaranteed that the people who believe weird, arbitrary stuff that contradics their experience...well, most of the time they got eaten or smashed by a heavy rock or so, because their beliefs didnt matched the reality they experienced.
So, no need or will to "select" what you believe, thats my claim.

Only if you "need" to believe what contradicts your experience (be intellectually dishonest with yourself) is when you have to "choose" to believe. This is the case with religious indoctriniated peaople of the 21st century, who do have access to a lot of information (they almost cant avoid it), but need to believe otherwise (or keep believing otherwise), based on their previous indoctrination.

Of course there are the people who are intellectually dishonest with others, so they "profess" their beliefs, very openly so. But thats something different.
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10-03-2016, 08:40 AM
RE: Is "belief" a choice?...lets talk about that.
(10-03-2016 08:37 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  Always an interesting concept. In my opinion one is able to believe in a concept, or not. Based on many contributing factors of course. I do not think it is a choice one can...and I hate using this word....truly make. One can say one believes in a concept, speak it, wear it on a t-shirt, but deep down inside they don't or are battling internal doubt on if it is true. This is the cornerstone of my position that all people infected with faith have inner doubt to some degree or another. They may be in denial, but it is there.

Which is why the Pascal's wager is such a BS concept. One cannot just decide to believe in something. One either does, or does not.

Some god reading on this philosophical mind rape:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/
I agree. Pascal's wager is a flawed concept.
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