Is believing a choice?
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24-01-2013, 06:05 PM
Is believing a choice?
I was listening to Dogma Debate with David Smalley. His guest was Dr. Barry Creamer a Dallas preacher. It was said by Creamer that believing is a choice. I had never heard of this. I don't feel I chose to just become an atheist over choosing not to believe in Christ. If Christians just choose to have faith and become "Christians" this way, what does that mean? How can they then say they believe? As you can tell, I'm totally confused. Also is this why Christians seem to hate us so? They think we just chose to not follow their way? Thanks for any input.
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24-01-2013, 06:30 PM
RE: Is believing a choice?
Christians seem to hate us because the existence of atheists is a direct threat to their belief that God is real and should be obvious to everyone. The fact that it's easy for some to brush off their way of thinking makes them have to think. And thinking tends to create cognitive dissonance in their minds. Christians don't like this. Therefore challenges to the faith must be resisted.

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24-01-2013, 09:08 PM
RE: Is believing a choice?
It's an indoctrination.

You aren't going to believe in a Raven, or Cow, or Carpenter, or Warrior, or Xenu god unless you were exposed to it.

An indoctrinated person has a warped sense of reality and can't imagine thinking in any another way. So in this sense, it's not a choice for a "real" religious person.

There are casual religious people who say they believe in a raven, or warrior god because everyone else does. And if everyone changed their mind one day, they would too. They don't have a belief, but say they do. They don't "believe", but just go with the flow.
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24-01-2013, 09:12 PM
RE: Is believing a choice?
Technically, it is a choice.

More often than not, though, it is a heavily guided choice, with one choice being pointed to as the "right" one. That is the process of indoctrination. Full a child's brain full of crap, tell them it's true, reinforce their beliefs and practices, monitor their behavior, scold them for not being "Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Hindi/insert religion here" enough in response to certain behaviors, reserve all praise for making the "right" choice, and on and on and on.

Keep in mind, this is all done before the child has any way of grappling with abstract concepts, and when they entrust full authority in their parents. That's all just the modern artery of religious dissemination.

When Europeans wanted to indoctrinate an entire nation of newly discovered ethnicities, they utilized conversion by the sword. Yeah, that was still a choice, technically, but if one of the options invokes a threat to biological preservation, in practical terms, not by a fucking long shot.

Indoctrination and force have been the driving tools for religious growth. Religion wouldn't be as widespread today if it weren't for those factors.

So yes, it is a choice.....assuming you are born into a family which doesn't have an interest in making a controlled investment in your choices. Even then it still is a choice, but then it's the choice of conformity or making life a living hell.

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24-01-2013, 09:25 PM (This post was last modified: 24-01-2013 09:35 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: Is believing a choice?
Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.

Yes it's a choice, on whether or not a bit of information is true.

However growing up is a process where you rely on your parents to do the thinking for you, until you can eventually make the shift to independent thought. That is to say that you regard the majority of what your parents tell you as truth until a later date.

Breaking child hood truths is a hard thing to do, but it can be done, and must be done to think critically.

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24-01-2013, 09:56 PM
RE: Is believing a choice?
(24-01-2013 09:08 PM)poolboyg88 Wrote:  It's an indoctrination.

You aren't going to believe in a Raven, or Cow, or Carpenter, or Warrior, or Xenu god unless you were exposed to it.

An indoctrinated person has a warped sense of reality and can't imagine thinking in any another way. So in this sense, it's not a choice for a "real" religious person.

There are casual religious people who say they believe in a raven, or warrior god because everyone else does. And if everyone changed their mind one day, they would too. They don't have a belief, but say they do. They don't "believe", but just go with the flow.


"Belief in belief" - Dennett
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25-01-2013, 05:36 PM
RE: Is believing a choice?
Thank you all for all the information. Having not been raised with any religion so to speak I am amazed at what I'm finding out on The Thinking Atheist podcast and Dogma Debate, etc. I'm grateful every day I was raised the way I was.
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25-01-2013, 10:25 PM
RE: Is believing a choice?
It's a decision to abandon reason. That is no choice, a rational person has.
Also in THEIR system it's no choice :
"No one shall come to me unless the Father draw him" (John 6:44),
"Many are called but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14)
etc etc. I think there are a few more quotes, but faith was a considered a gift, or "virtue", (according to St. Paul), one of the "gifts of the Spirit", so no, according to their own system, it's no choice.
Looks like Creamer needs to go back to Sunday School. Weeping

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Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (KJV)

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26-01-2013, 03:25 AM
RE: Is believing a choice?
It's not a choice for me.

A year ago at this time I was engaged to an amazing woman who happened to be Mormon. Very Mormon. I live in Salt Lake City, the capital of the Mormon church, so I know a lot of Mormons, but I was continuously blown away by her extreme adherence to Mormon stuff I didn't even know about before. Eventually she realized that she couldn't marry me because I was not Mormon. I knew I would never talk her out of her faith and it would be wrong to try and she knew she'd never talk me into her faith and it would be wrong to try. So she called off the marriage.

During that time I examined my beliefs pretty hard. I knew the Mormon stuff was crazy, crazier than most any other religion I could think of. But I seriously considered it. Going to church, doing the rituals, baptism, prayer, magic underwear, the whole schmear.

Could I convert myself?

I really wanted to. I wanted to hang onto this wonderful woman. But it didn't take long to realize that I could never convert myself. I know that the LDS religion is a scam. I'll still hold out a teensy bit of skeptical reserve that there might be a god, somewhere, but if that turns out to be true, the Mormons are way way way far off from even that improbability.

I could choose to go through the motions. I could chose to learn the dogma, scriptures, doctrines, and covenants. I could even choose to live by them. I could choose to go to church, do the rituals, baptism, prayer, magic underwear, the whole schmear,, but I would never actually believe it.

I just can't make myself believe in something. Not even for her.

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26-01-2013, 03:52 AM
RE: Is believing a choice?
Freewill is problematic for me.

I want to believe in choice. But thoughts arise before I even realize I have thoughts. They come inexplicably to my narrow awareness and I have no idea why. If I was hooked up to the right technology, some of my actions could be accurately predicted before I even know what I am going to do. It's not fate. Just chemistry and physics that I will probably never understand.

"The problem with faith is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason why you do not have to give reasons for what you believe." - Sam Harris
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