Is belief a religious term?
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02-10-2017, 01:16 PM
Is belief a religious term?
Folks,

Sometimes we talk about the word ‘belief’ as if it were owned by the religions. However, in my study of philosophy I think first of belief as epistemological and only secondary as a descriptive term for the religious.

The kind of belief I think first of is (for example) whether I remembered to put my car keys in the drawer. I believe that I have, but don’t know for sure until I open the drawer and see them there.

So the question is: How has the term ‘belief’ become so wedded to religious dogma, as in the epithets ‘believer’ and ‘unbeliever’. Is it because religions are so in our faces and philosophy so marginal in our modern world?

D.
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02-10-2017, 01:31 PM
RE: Is belief a religious term?
I'm struck by the difference in the way the word believe is used in the context of religion and casually.
In the context of religion it's typically used to denote certainty. "These are my beliefs".
To denote something unshakable.
Casually the word belief is less strong.
I "believe" ....
Is less strong than I "know"....
Religion stresses faith and faith is belief without evidence.
So they elevate belief beyond it's typical usage.
They need to do this.
It is perhaps the first slippery little trick that they engage in.

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02-10-2017, 02:24 PM
RE: Is belief a religious term?
(02-10-2017 01:16 PM)Dworkin Wrote:  So the question is: How has the term ‘belief’ become so wedded to religious dogma, as in the epithets ‘believer’ and ‘unbeliever’. Is it because religions are so in our faces and philosophy so marginal in our modern world?

Religions indoctrinate, and they do it in part through loaded language. Atheists often avoid using the same words because we do not wish to indoctrinate.
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02-10-2017, 02:53 PM
RE: Is belief a religious term?
Used religiously: An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof. "Their belief in the Christian god, or the Holy Bible"

Used non-religiously: Trust, or confidence in something. "Their belief in democratic politics, or the laws of the land"

I can't see any reason to get overly-involved with what amounts to mere semantics.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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02-10-2017, 06:41 PM
Is belief a religious term?
It has its classic philosophical connotations, as the elaborate Justified "true" belief idea of epistemological criteria.

I do as well think about the religious notion and how oddly overtaken it is, but I think it might also be a western notion.

It's such a Christian thing to care so much about what you believe for odd reasons. That is a modern take over of the term and how silly it is, is why I often disregard the idea of the do you believe in god question. Because the implication that it matters is bizarre.

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02-10-2017, 06:41 PM
Is belief a religious term?
It has its classic philosophical connotations, as the elaborate Justified "true" belief idea of epistemological criteria.

I do as well think about the religious notion and how oddly overtaken it is, but I think it might also be a western notion.

It's such a Christian thing to care so much about what you believe for odd reasons. That is a modern take over of the term and how silly it is, is why I often disregard the idea of the do you believe in god question. Because the implication that it matters is bizarre.

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02-10-2017, 06:48 PM
Is belief a religious term?
It has its classic philosophical connotations, as the elaborate Justified "true" belief idea of epistemological criteria.

I do as well think about the religious notion and how oddly overtaken it is, but I think it might also be a western notion.

It's such a Christian thing to care so much about what you believe for odd reasons. That is a modern take over of the term and how silly it is, is why I often disregard the idea of the do you believe in god question. Because the implication that it matters is bizarre.

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02-10-2017, 07:43 PM
RE: Is belief a religious term?
No, just another word co-opted and perverted by theists, much like the word "faith." Note in your example that the thing you believed was in a certain spot was a tangible object that you knew had to be SOMEplace, your car keys, and you believed they were in a plausible location, the drawer. You drew from direct personal knowledge and came to a conclusion based on that knowledge. That's a far cry from the theist's use of the word. Why does Jenny Jesusfreak believe in her god? Well, someone told her about him and backed it up with an ancient club handbook.

This leads us back to the theist's abuse of the word "faith." For example, consider these two phrases:

1. "I have faith in my belief that my wife would never cheat on me. I've known her for years, I feel I know her character well, and I feel I know her well enough to trust her."

2. "I have faith that if I was married, my wife would never cheat on me because she'd be my wife and women just don't do that, especially if they're married!"

The first sentence denotes believing in and having faith in someone that you know quite well. Contrast that with the second statement, one based on zero experience with a someone the speaker hasn't even met yet. The first statement is an expression of reasonable faith, the second an expression of religious-type faith.

In short, both the words "belief" and "faith" have pretty much the opposite meaning when applied to religion.
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02-10-2017, 08:20 PM
RE: Is belief a religious term?
(02-10-2017 01:16 PM)Dworkin Wrote:  Folks,

Sometimes we talk about the word ‘belief’ as if it were owned by the religions. However, in my study of philosophy I think first of belief as epistemological and only secondary as a descriptive term for the religious.

The kind of belief I think first of is (for example) whether I remembered to put my car keys in the drawer. I believe that I have, but don’t know for sure until I open the drawer and see them there.

So the question is: How has the term ‘belief’ become so wedded to religious dogma, as in the epithets ‘believer’ and ‘unbeliever’. Is it because religions are so in our faces and philosophy so marginal in our modern world?

D.

When the religious use the word "belief", what they typically actually mean is "faith". The two are not synonymous, strictly speaking. E.g., "knowledge" can be defined as "justified true belief", whereas "faith" is "belief without evidence, or in the face of contrary evidence".

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Dr H

"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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03-10-2017, 01:49 AM
RE: Is belief a religious term?
(02-10-2017 07:43 PM)CosmoMcKinley Wrote:  No, just another word co-opted and perverted by theists, much like the word "faith." Note in your example that the thing you believed was in a certain spot was a tangible object that you knew had to be SOMEplace, your car keys, and you believed they were in a plausible location, the drawer. You drew from direct personal knowledge and came to a conclusion based on that knowledge. That's a far cry from the theist's use of the word. Why does Jenny Jesusfreak believe in her god? Well, someone told her about him and backed it up with an ancient club handbook.

This leads us back to the theist's abuse of the word "faith." For example, consider these two phrases:

1. "I have faith in my belief that my wife would never cheat on me. I've known her for years, I feel I know her character well, and I feel I know her well enough to trust her."

2. "I have faith that if I was married, my wife would never cheat on me because she'd be my wife and women just don't do that, especially if they're married!"

The first sentence denotes believing in and having faith in someone that you know quite well. Contrast that with the second statement, one based on zero experience with a someone the speaker hasn't even met yet. The first statement is an expression of reasonable faith, the second an expression of religious-type faith.

In short, both the words "belief" and "faith" have pretty much the opposite meaning when applied to religion.

Cosmo,

Your post clarifies very well. I like your connection with 'belief' and 'knowledge' which is how philosophers look at the meanings. As mentioned, 'faith' is a different beast.

If someone said to me "I believe that my wife is honest with me" I wouldn't be surprised, but if someone said "I have faith that my wife is honest with me" I would be a bit worried for them. Huh

D.
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