Belief, choice and education

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Comments

  • RussRuss Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Positing religion as truth has cased great harm over the millennia. It causes harm now.
    Pretending the phrasing is the same is missing how we communicate.

    Seems like you're wanting to categorize religious belief as something different in kind from all the other beliefs that people hold ?

    That may be right. But you've not done any of the work to establish what the differences are and how we can tell whether a particular belief is of one type or the other.

    So you're coming across as merely prejudiced.

  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    I am sorry you have interpreted my remark about Jonathan Sachs in that way. I was responding to particular comments in a particular post. To take it that that means my comment would cover all posts in all discussions here is not correct.

    I spoke about Jonathan sachs in particular not because he is a Rabbi, but having heard him speak many times (on radio) for many years, I have found him to be someone with a rather too high opinion of himself who expects deference. That is of course an entirely personal opinion and does not apply to other Rabbis or to his religion in general.

    It is hard to square that with what you originally wrote, in response to a quotation which I posted, which was:
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    Even if I agreed with part of his descriptions, I would not accept them as a whole since he is a senior cleric in his religion and has a firm belief in the Abrahamnic God.

    You did not “ speak about Jonathan Sacks in particular”, you responded to a quotation from his work that I posted.

    In your response you wrote that you would not accept his statements in the quotation because:
    - “He is a senior cleric in his religion” (i.e. (former Chief) Rabbi)
    - Who “has a firm belief in the Abrahamic God”

    These are completely clear general statements about characteristics he shares with many others, one or other of which will include many people here.

    You are now seeking to totally change your position to say that it is his personality, based on his radio broadcasts (in which he somehow indicates that he “expects deference”, in your opinion) that forms the basis of your evaluation. You may be surprised to hear that your new basis for judging someone’s work (i) is as inappropriate as your original version, and (ii) reads rather like a politician’s desperate obfuscation after saying something indefensible - and being called on it.


  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    @lilbuddha

    "Believe" just means "that which I hold to be true." I believe the sun is a mass of incandescent plasma where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees. Not from indoctrination (well a little) or laziness. You, like @SusanDoris, have this idea of dividing human thoughts into belief, which is irrational and the result of indoctrination, and knowledge, which comes from science and stuffs. Just a little reading in epistemology would blow that absurdity out of the water.
    Positing religion as truth has cased great harm over the millennia. It causes harm now.
    Pretending the phrasing is the same is missing how we communicate.

    Note the previous comments regarding truth and belief. If you believe something you take it to be true. If you have religious beliefs you take them to be true. If you have beliefs about the harm caused by religion, you take them to be true.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Religion is what you get when a lot of people get together and do faith/spirituality together. Humans are a communal/social species. If faith/spirituality is inherent in our species, then so is religion.

    To a degree, that's true. But doing faith/spirituality together seems to be very prone to schisms and divisions. Take two comparisons familiar to me: model railway clubs and writing groups. In both of those there is commonality inasmuch as all those in the model railway club are either interested in or modelling some kind of railway and all those in the writing group are doing some kind of writing, or aspire to.

    But in both groups there will be a big range of subject matter and approaches. Some railway modellers want nothing more than to 'model the railways I remember from my youth' and others choose exotic prototypes from around the world and from history and all are working in a variety of scales from the chunky to the minuscule. Similarly, all those writers are working in different genres and with different ambitions. And yet in both kinds of group there is tolerance and people get along.

    With religious groupings it seems the boundaries on what you can believe and how you practise that belief seem much more rigid and those who transgress those boundaries are either forced out of the group or punished. I've even found those boundaries in atheist groups.

    That exclusivity seems to be counter to your idea that religious groupings are a result of humans being a communal/social species
  • I haven't a clue how you got--whatever you're arguing against--out of what I wrote. Read more carefully next time. The first HUGE clue should have been when I lowercased "god" twice, which should tell you I'm not putting forth some argument about which is the true God. The second clue should have been the common gender-neutral "their", used ungrammatically by a grammar purist(ish)--which again should have told you something, when "he/his/him" was so near at hand. Finally we get a true plural in the second-to-last sentence, and if nothing else, that should have told you that I was addressing the general class of objects known as gods, as opposed to whatever randomness you thought I was addressing.

    My point was simple. Having a god--any freaking god--tends to cramp one's personal freedom. Gods of any religion tend to be interferers. Witness Zeus, Vishnu, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (and his strange touchy-ness with those noodly appendages), gods in general. That's all.

    I may have this wrong, but what you're describing sounds a lot like a personification of conscience. Not that I'm diminishing what you're saying at all, but personifying conscience would make that voice harder to ignore when we knowingly do wrong or fail to do right.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    It seems to me that many people on this thread are objecting to 'truth' when what they mean is 'certainty'.
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Rublev wrote: »
    It's the other way around, surely? Truth is the ultimate reality. Belief is the quest in search of it.
    Not even close. Belief exists from indoctrination. From laziness, from bias, etc. Only occasionally does it exist from any quest for truth. And some of those quests are too flawed from the start, so are disqualified.

    No, this is not the truth. My belief in God doesn't come from laziness, or from indoctrination. Far from it. It comes from experience. I am offended by the prejudice and generalisation which comes across in this post.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Not even close. Belief exists from indoctrination. From laziness, from bias, etc. Only occasionally does it exist from any quest for truth. And some of those quests are too flawed from the start, so are disqualified.

    The trouble is, if Belief exists from indoctrination. From laziness, from bias, etc. then it also applies at least partially to my atheistic beliefs.

    It may be that what we believe in and the degree to which we believe in it, is the result of factors outside our control (such as our culture and upbringing) and factors outside our consciousness (innate biases, etc.) but it tends to reduce any discussion about differences in belief to the level of whether strawberry ice-cream is better than chocolate ice-cream.
  • I haven't a clue how you got--whatever you're arguing against--out of what I wrote. Read more carefully next time. The first HUGE clue should have been when I lowercased "god" twice, which should tell you I'm not putting forth some argument about which is the true God. The second clue should have been the common gender-neutral "their", used ungrammatically by a grammar purist(ish)--which again should have told you something, when "he/his/him" was so near at hand. Finally we get a true plural in the second-to-last sentence, and if nothing else, that should have told you that I was addressing the general class of objects known as gods, as opposed to whatever randomness you thought I was addressing.

    My point was simple. Having a god--any freaking god--tends to cramp one's personal freedom. Gods of any religion tend to be interferers. Witness Zeus, Vishnu, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (and his strange touchy-ness with those noodly appendages), gods in general. That's all.

    I may have this wrong, but what you're describing sounds a lot like a personification of conscience. Not that I'm diminishing what you're saying at all, but personifying conscience would make that voice harder to ignore when we knowingly do wrong or fail to do right.

    From your point of view that's a fair characterization, yes. It would be harder to ignore it if you believed it to be something external and powerful. Though I was also including in my remarks gods that could in no way be taken as personifications of any internal process--amoral or immoral gods, who functioned in believers' lives more like a really overpowered divine tiger might--as in, "Stay out of the way!"

    From my own point of view, I suppose I should add that I'm well aware of the difference between my conscience and God, and find that the two are in conflict fairly often. This is the phenomenon known as "over-scrupulosity," and it is a major pain in the ass. But once the dynamics of the situation are grasped, it does at least have this going for it--it prevents the sufferer from ever again believing that God and conscience are one.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    To me, God is as real as the computer I'm using. Saying so is allowed, without my being accused of pride. It is simply the truth as I see it.

    Your computer is objectively real. Its reality is easily demonstrated. So in what other way is God real to you?
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    It seems to me that many people on this thread are objecting to 'truth' when what they mean is 'certainty'.

    Yes, I agree with you. That appears to be the gripe. Of course, only certainty over religious propositions.

  • Dafyd wrote: »
    It seems to me that many people on this thread are objecting to 'truth' when what they mean is 'certainty'.
    I'm objecting to use of the truth for belief because it implies certainty. And that implied message is often the one transmitted.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    @lilbuddha

    "Believe" just means "that which I hold to be true." I believe the sun is a mass of incandescent plasma where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees. Not from indoctrination (well a little) or laziness. You, like @SusanDoris, have this idea of dividing human thoughts into belief, which is irrational and the result of indoctrination, and knowledge, which comes from science and stuffs. Just a little reading in epistemology would blow that absurdity out of the water.
    Positing religion as truth has cased great harm over the millennia. It causes harm now.
    Pretending the phrasing is the same is missing how we communicate.
    Clearly that’s what you believe. I think you’re belief is mistaken. If religion hadn’t existed the harm-doers would have found some other justification.
    That humans will be shitty regardless of religion is something I've said in defence of religion more than once. Humans are the cause of shitty behaviour.
    However, religion is one tool used to facilitate shitty behaviour. And that is something that need to change about religion. And part of that change is removing the "I'm RIGHT and your are WRONG" mentality.

  • ECraigR wrote: »
    Dafyd wrote: »
    It seems to me that many people on this thread are objecting to 'truth' when what they mean is 'certainty'.

    Yes, I agree with you. That appears to be the gripe. Of course, only certainty over religious propositions.

    I don't think that's correct. Some people are certain Trump is a racist moron. Others are certain he's chosen by God. Some are certain the moon landings never happened and/or 9/11 was a government conspiracy. Other are certain they are wrong.

    Some people are certain God is real because their experience leads them to that belief. Others are certain God is not real because they cannot see any rational way God could be real.

  • ECraigR wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    @lilbuddha

    "Believe" just means "that which I hold to be true." I believe the sun is a mass of incandescent plasma where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees. Not from indoctrination (well a little) or laziness. You, like @SusanDoris, have this idea of dividing human thoughts into belief, which is irrational and the result of indoctrination, and knowledge, which comes from science and stuffs. Just a little reading in epistemology would blow that absurdity out of the water.
    Positing religion as truth has cased great harm over the millennia. It causes harm now.
    Pretending the phrasing is the same is missing how we communicate.

    Note the previous comments regarding truth and belief. If you believe something you take it to be true. If you have religious beliefs you take them to be true. If you have beliefs about the harm caused by religion, you take them to be true.
    One can think one's beliefs to be the most likely explanation/viewpoint/etc without the narrow POV of true.

  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Rublev wrote: »
    It's the other way around, surely? Truth is the ultimate reality. Belief is the quest in search of it.
    Not even close. Belief exists from indoctrination. From laziness, from bias, etc. Only occasionally does it exist from any quest for truth. And some of those quests are too flawed from the start, so are disqualified.

    No, this is not the truth. My belief in God doesn't come from laziness, or from indoctrination. Far from it. It comes from experience. I am offended by the prejudice and generalisation which comes across in this post.
    How is that generalisation? I did not say exclusively. And it is not limited to religion, it is simply the way humans work. We are not rational creatures, but creatures with the ability to reason. And we often ignore that ability.
  • I believe I have the ability to be a decent writer, but I'm not certain and it certainly isn't true. At best, belief seems to be hope based on limited evidence.
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    Dafyd wrote: »
    It seems to me that many people on this thread are objecting to 'truth' when what they mean is 'certainty'.

    Yes, I agree with you. That appears to be the gripe. Of course, only certainty over religious propositions.
    Right. :rolleyes:

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Not even close. Belief exists from indoctrination. From laziness, from bias, etc. Only occasionally does it exist from any quest for truth. And some of those quests are too flawed from the start, so are disqualified.

    The trouble is, if Belief exists from indoctrination. From laziness, from bias, etc. then it also applies at least partially to my atheistic beliefs.

    It may be that what we believe in and the degree to which we believe in it, is the result of factors outside our control (such as our culture and upbringing) and factors outside our consciousness (innate biases, etc.) but it tends to reduce any discussion about differences in belief to the level of whether strawberry ice-cream is better than chocolate ice-cream.
    We are more influenced by outside factors than we prefer to acknowledge. Understanding that is part of the process of using reason to affect our behaviours and beliefs.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    We are more influenced by outside factors than we prefer to acknowledge. Understanding that is part of the process of using reason to affect our behaviours and beliefs.

    Yes. But if one is influenced to favour rationality, logic, and reason, over the emotional response then it is very hard to reason one's way to belief in anything outside of reason. It's the wrong tool for the job.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    I believe I have the ability to be a decent writer, but I'm not certain and it certainly isn't true.
    If you think it certainly isn't true then you don't believe it.
    Belief is distinguished from other intentional attitudes such as wishing or hoping or intending by being the intentional attitude that holds the intentional object to be true.
    One could probably define true in terms of belief: being true is that relationship between intentional attitude and world that beliefs ought to have, but I suspect it would be circular, neither notion being more primitive than the other.

    (Just to be clear that I'm not being utterly eccentric here I've checked the dictionary: we have as modern senses of the word: 'to give intellectual assent to, to accept the truth or accuracy of (a statement, doctrine), give credence to'.
    Then: 'to consider to be true, to have as an opinion, to think'.
    There are some other usages that do not refer directly to the making of a statement, for example, believing in, and therefore don't use the word 'true' directly, rather using the phrase 'actual existence or occurence'.
    The OED is unaware of any usage of the word 'belief' that excludes holding to be true.)

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    We are more influenced by outside factors than we prefer to acknowledge. Understanding that is part of the process of using reason to affect our behaviours and beliefs.

    Yes. But if one is influenced to favour rationality, logic, and reason, over the emotional response then it is very hard to reason one's way to belief in anything outside of reason. It's the wrong tool for the job.
    We do not naturally favour reason or logic. I'm not pushing objectivism or that any non-verifyable thing is therefore hokum. What I am advocating is a better evaluation of what we believe and the acceptance that our "reality" is not everyone else's.
    Religion/faith/belief as Truth™®© is not conducive to acceptance.
  • Dafyd
    Regarding the dictionary definitions: I have sometimes asked on forums what people see as the difference between 'believe' and 'believe in' and usually find that the question is ignored! I cannot remember whether I was accustomed to using 'believe in' when younger, but I don't think so. In any case, I do not use it now.

    I would be interested to hear your opinion about the difference and how you would use the two verbs. I was going to say the two alternatives, but I actually do not see them as alternatives really.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    ECraigR wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    @lilbuddha

    "Believe" just means "that which I hold to be true." I believe the sun is a mass of incandescent plasma where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees. Not from indoctrination (well a little) or laziness. You, like @SusanDoris, have this idea of dividing human thoughts into belief, which is irrational and the result of indoctrination, and knowledge, which comes from science and stuffs. Just a little reading in epistemology would blow that absurdity out of the water.
    Positing religion as truth has cased great harm over the millennia. It causes harm now.
    Pretending the phrasing is the same is missing how we communicate.

    Note the previous comments regarding truth and belief. If you believe something you take it to be true. If you have religious beliefs you take them to be true. If you have beliefs about the harm caused by religion, you take them to be true.
    One can think one's beliefs to be the most likely explanation/viewpoint/etc without the narrow POV of true.

    So you don’t think your beliefs are true? Do you entertain the possibility that your beliefs regarding sexism, racism, and transphobia could be wrong? You’ve certainly never argued like you entertain any possibility of their falseness, nor would I expect you to.

    Furthermore, we all assume the truth of plenty of run of the mill beliefs that are nowhere near as fancy as religious or ethical beliefs. We believe our doctors ran our blood tests correctly and so govern our behavior by the results we believe to be true. We believe that we’ll be alive next year and so plan a trip for next August, etc etc etc. Truth, and the assertion of truth, is a fundamental component of belief.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    'Believe in' is followed by a noun. 'Believe that' is followed by a clause.

    'Believe in' either asserts the existence of the entity the noun refers to, or that the speaker has confidence in that entity, or both.
    Hence, as an instance of the first sense, from the OED:
    Charles Darwin: I believe in Nat. Selection, not because, I can prove in any single case that it has changed one species into another, but because it groups & explains well (as it seems to me) a host of facts in classification, embryology, morphology, rudimentary organs, geological succession & Distribution.

    Examples of the second sense from the OED: people believe in exercise (that is, that exercise has a good effect), believe in universal suffrage (that is, that universal suffrage would be a good thing), or believe in the roast beef of old England (a sense of patriotic conservatism probably), or believe in bicycles (that they are a good thing), or believe in the telephone (that it makes life better); believe in human nature (that people on the whole will behave well when it counts); believe in enjoying life.

    The second sense is recorded earlier.
  • That exclusivity seems to be counter to your idea that religious groupings are a result of humans being a communal/social species

    We must have very different understandings of "communal/social species" then. My understanding doesn't include all-embracing, never-schismatic, never-discriminatory communality. That seems impossible for human beings. I'm not sure why you think it should be possible, or part of the definition, or why indeed you even brought it up.

  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Raptor Eye wrote: »
    To me, God is as real as the computer I'm using. Saying so is allowed, without my being accused of pride. It is simply the truth as I see it.

    Your computer is objectively real. Its reality is easily demonstrated. So in what other way is God real to you?

    I'm not going around the track with you again on this, Martin. We've agreed to disagree.

    I'll be scrolling past @lilbuddha from now on too.

    You believe what you think is the truth. I believe what I think is the truth. It is not for either of us to accuse the other of ignorance, or a lack of the use of reason, or to write off the others' experiences or their interpretation of them as lies or delusions.
  • @Dafyd

    Would you say that belief-in could be seen as shorthand way of encapsulating a belief-that, or set of beliefs-that? For example, I believe that the Christian God exists, loves us, behaves in thus-and-such ways, and is worthy of worship; in short, I believe in God. I believe that through a process of mutation and selection, life on this planet has evolved from a few simpler forms to the vast array of complex organisms we see today; in short, I believe in Evolution. And so on.

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Would you say that belief-in could be seen as shorthand way of encapsulating a belief-that, or set of beliefs-that?
    My feeling is that belief-in or something of the sort is more fundamental than belief-that, but I'm not sure how I'd unpack that.
    That is, it seems to me that pre-linguistic children have to be aware of their family members and the objects around them and believe-in the things around them before they can learn the language and conceptual ability to form beliefs-that about the things around them. Beliefs-that depend on a substrate of beliefs-in even in adults. But I'm not sure how I'd go about showing that dependence.
    It's also possible that it's misleading to assimilate the infants' apprehension of the things around them to the kinds of mental attitude we express as belief-in.
  • "Belief that" tends to be cognitive, as the object means you are considering a certain proposition for its truth value ("I believe that the keys are in the refrigerator, dear").

    "Belief in" is more fuzzy, less limited to a particular proposition, and more likely to imply assent to a whole cloud of propositions (e.g. "I believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God,..." and etc.) and in particular, allows for the whole emotional trust thing to be included.

    I'm pretty sure this is mainly a linguistic phenomenon. Other languages no doubt handle it differently.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Raptor Eye wrote: »
    To me, God is as real as the computer I'm using. Saying so is allowed, without my being accused of pride. It is simply the truth as I see it.

    Your computer is objectively real. Its reality is easily demonstrated. So in what other way is God real to you?

    I'm not going around the track with you again on this, Martin. We've agreed to disagree.

    I'll be scrolling past @lilbuddha from now on too.

    You believe what you think is the truth. I believe what I think is the truth. It is not for either of us to accuse the other of ignorance, or a lack of the use of reason, or to write off the others' experiences or their interpretation of them as lies or delusions.
    I did not accuse you of ignorance and only you know how much reason you use when evaluating your beliefs.
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    ECraigR wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    @lilbuddha

    "Believe" just means "that which I hold to be true." I believe the sun is a mass of incandescent plasma where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees. Not from indoctrination (well a little) or laziness. You, like @SusanDoris, have this idea of dividing human thoughts into belief, which is irrational and the result of indoctrination, and knowledge, which comes from science and stuffs. Just a little reading in epistemology would blow that absurdity out of the water.
    Positing religion as truth has cased great harm over the millennia. It causes harm now.
    Pretending the phrasing is the same is missing how we communicate.

    Note the previous comments regarding truth and belief. If you believe something you take it to be true. If you have religious beliefs you take them to be true. If you have beliefs about the harm caused by religion, you take them to be true.
    One can think one's beliefs to be the most likely explanation/viewpoint/etc without the narrow POV of true.

    So you don’t think your beliefs are true?
    That is a binary approach and life just isn't. I believe what I believe, same as you. What I am arguing against is the certainty inherent in calling belief truth.
    ECraigR wrote: »
    Do you entertain the possibility that your beliefs regarding sexism, racism, and transphobia could be wrong? You’ve certainly never argued like you entertain any possibility of their falseness, nor would I expect you to.
    Those are things which have data and actual points to discuss. Not the same as religion.
    ECraigR wrote: »
    Furthermore, we all assume the truth of plenty of run of the mill beliefs that are nowhere near as fancy as religious or ethical beliefs. We believe our doctors ran our blood tests correctly and so govern our behavior by the results we believe to be true. We believe that we’ll be alive next year and so plan a trip for next August, etc etc etc. Truth, and the assertion of truth, is a fundamental component of belief.
    Perhaps because I've been almost dead more than once and have had bad medical decisions made by doctors* I do not have those sorts of trust.
    But, yes, most people take much on faith. And that is both good and bad.

    God is real and I believe in God can mean the same thing, but they have a different feel. They are a different presentation. I am not asking you, or anyone, to doubt their faith, but to understand that it is just faith and is no better (or worse) than any other faith.** It is blind certainty that fuels contentions.

    *And some fantastic ones.
    **Most other faiths anyway, I am sure one or two can be found that are just worse.
  • Blind certainty! Lilbuddha, you have no idea what you're talking about here. Or how bizarre, and ironic too, it is to hear you ordering us to "understand that it is just faith and is no better (or worse) than any other faith." You are dismissing a world of experience you have no knowledge of--and you believe with certainty that that world does not exist.

    I beg you to consider the faint possibility that you may be mistaken.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Rublev wrote: »
    It's the other way around, surely? Truth is the ultimate reality. Belief is the quest in search of it.
    Not even close. Belief exists from indoctrination. From laziness, from bias, etc. Only occasionally does it exist from any quest for truth. And some of those quests are too flawed from the start, so are disqualified.
    No, belief usually comes from knowledge, from experience. I suppose you can call education "indoctrination" if you like - and some of it certainly is - but the urge to learn is part of any quest for truth, and those quests are far more common than you want to (if I may) believe.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Blind certainty! Lilbuddha, you have no idea what you're talking about here. Or how bizarre, and ironic too, it is to hear you ordering us to "understand that it is just faith and is no better (or worse) than any other faith." You are dismissing a world of experience you have no knowledge of--and you believe with certainty that that world does not exist.

    I beg you to consider the faint possibility that you may be mistaken.
    Thank you, @Lamb Chopped. Since I believe in the possibility of miracles, I shall cling to the hope that @lilbuddha may someday admit to being wrong about something.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    I believe what I believe, same as you. What I am arguing against is the certainty inherent in calling belief truth.

    And what I, and apparently many others of us are arguing against, is that linking of "truth" and "certainty". I believe that it is true that God exists, but I hold out the possibility that I might be wrong. Certainty and believing something to be true are not in any way logically equivalent. They often travel together, to be sure. Maybe you just have no experience of them traveling separately.

    I take "true" to mean (quoting Webster's unabridged), "conformable to fact : in accordance with the actual state of affairs : not false or erroneous : not inaccurate"

    And "certainty" is the noun form of "certain" which means: "given to or marked by complete assurance and conviction, lack of doubt, reservation, suspicion, or wavering through or as if through infallible knowledge or perception; firm and assured as though practiced : without hesitation, wavering, or diffidence."

    Can't see how those are equivalent in any way, shape, or form. I can believe something is true without feeling certain. Indeed, that is the case with well over half of my beliefs.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I believe what I believe, same as you. What I am arguing against is the certainty inherent in calling belief truth.

    And what I, and apparently many others of us are arguing against, is that linking of "truth" and "certainty".
    But that is exactly what calling belief true lends itself to.
    mousethief wrote: »
    I believe that it is true that God exists, but I hold out the possibility that I might be wrong.
    That whole sentence is fine. The more abbreviated, the less so.
    mousethief wrote: »
    Certainty and believing something to be true are not in any way logically equivalent. They often travel together, to be sure. Maybe you just have no experience of them traveling separately.
    I experience people. And people work the way I describe more often than the way you imply. It is why we have the political divisions we have.
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Rublev wrote: »
    It's the other way around, surely? Truth is the ultimate reality. Belief is the quest in search of it.
    Not even close. Belief exists from indoctrination. From laziness, from bias, etc. Only occasionally does it exist from any quest for truth. And some of those quests are too flawed from the start, so are disqualified.
    No, belief usually comes from knowledge, from experience.
    Sometimes, yes, but not usually. At best it is a mixed thing.
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    I suppose you can call education "indoctrination" if you like - and some of it certainly is - but the urge to learn is part of any quest for truth, and those quests are far more common than you want to (if I may) believe.
    I think they are few less common than you would prefer to believe. We want to think that our beliefs, behaviour and POV are rational, but at best they are a mix of cultural and familial inculcation and experience. Humanity has the desire to learn, to explore, to know; humans much less so.

  • Blind certainty! Lilbuddha, you have no idea what you're talking about here. Or how bizarre, and ironic too, it is to hear you ordering us to "understand that it is just faith and is no better (or worse) than any other faith." You are dismissing a world of experience you have no knowledge of--and you believe with certainty that that world does not exist.
    Faith is not only Abrahamic or even religious and you make assumptions.
    Ordering. No. Vigorous discussion on a board meant for this.
    I beg you to consider the faint possibility that you may be mistaken.
    I always think I might be wrong and am virtually certain that I am wrong on more than I'd like to think.
    Believe what you will.
  • ...like to admit
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Blind certainty! Lilbuddha, you have no idea what you're talking about here. Or how bizarre, and ironic too, it is to hear you ordering us to "understand that it is just faith and is no better (or worse) than any other faith." You are dismissing a world of experience you have no knowledge of--and you believe with certainty that that world does not exist.
    Faith is not only Abrahamic or even religious and you make assumptions.

    {rubs eyes] You are on some weird kick about Abrahamism with me. Why, I don't know. I haven't raised the subject. What the hell is this about? It's the second time you've brought it up in such a way that it looks for all the world as if you thought I was discussing it. What posts are you reading? They aren't mine.
  • Dafyd

    thank you for your reply. I think that, at this stage in my life, there are almost no occasions when I am unsure of whether I believe something or not, so prefer to use the 'believe that' rather than the 'believe in', and find nowadays that I hesitate before writing I believe …!!
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    "Believe in" is used in two different senses.

    Belief in angels, the Loch Ness monster, or the Illuminati is belief that these things exist.

    Belief in democracy, free trade, subsidiarity or capital punishment is belief that these are good (just or effective) ways of organising a society.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Raptor Eye wrote: »
    To me, God is as real as the computer I'm using. Saying so is allowed, without my being accused of pride. It is simply the truth as I see it.

    Your computer is objectively real. Its reality is easily demonstrated. So in what other way is God real to you?

    I'm not going around the track with you again on this, Martin. We've agreed to disagree.

    I'll be scrolling past @lilbuddha from now on too.

    You believe what you think is the truth. I believe what I think is the truth. It is not for either of us to accuse the other of ignorance, or a lack of the use of reason, or to write off the others' experiences or their interpretation of them as lies or delusions.

    What track? God is not real the way your computer is. At all. That cannot be disbelieved. It cannot be believed in any meaningful way that He is.

    If He is real in some other completely different way, then He is not just the ground of your computer's being, but of His own. See infinite loop. Real is the wrong word. But it'll have to do.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    That exclusivity seems to be counter to your idea that religious groupings are a result of humans being a communal/social species

    We must have very different understandings of "communal/social species" then. My understanding doesn't include all-embracing, never-schismatic, never-discriminatory communality. That seems impossible for human beings. I'm not sure why you think it should be possible, or part of the definition, or why indeed you even brought it up.

    I was only noting that religious groupings seem to me to be unusually prone to exclusivity. I suspect that might be written in the nature of religion: not for nothing is the first commandment Thou shalt have no other God but me.

    It seems that religious social groupings simultaneously draw people together and exclude any that the group decides doesn't fit, whereas in most social groupings it's okay to be a member of two or more different groups without anyone pointing the finger and saying you are being disloyal to any one of them. The only similar instance I can think of with the same kind of exclusivity is followers of a football club where you can't be a fan of Chelsea and Arsenal without your loyalty to either being questioned.
  • True, to me, means absolutely true. Verifiably true. True from all viewpoints. True at all times.

    Example:
    The bathroom light is either on or off. It's status can be checked by opening the bathroom door. If we assume a continuous power supply and no degradation, it will remain on or off forever.

    "I am certain I switched the bathroom light off" refers to my certainty that I switched the light off but it in no way affects the true status of the bathroom light. My degree of certainty makes no difference to the actual truth.

    "I believe I switched the bathroom light off", for me anyway, suggests an element of doubt. I'm not "certain" and admit the possibility I may have failed to switch the light off.

    So. My belief that there is no God does not describe the truth or even get close to doing so. My certainty that racism and sexism are wrong also doesn't stand up as absolute truth, no matter how much I want it to, because many societies across history believed that discriminating between the sexes and between races was morally correct and it would be an act of monumental hubris to believe that my morals are better than theirs.

  • I don't think there are many people who are members of multiple political parties, and I know my employer would take a very dim view if I took a job with one of its competitors.
  • Dave W wrote: »
    I don't think there are many people who are members of multiple political parties, and I know my employer would take a very dim view if I took a job with one of its competitors.

    That's my point. A religious grouping seems to require loyalty in a way that many social groupings don't. It's like saying that if you're a fan of Star Wars you can't be a fan of Star Trek.

    The employer example is interesting because self-employed people are employed by any number of people whereas an employer tends to claim sole rights on your labour. I'm less convinced by the political parties thing as I can easily imagine being a member of the Lib-Dems and the Greens.
  • No, your point (according to you) was that you couldn’t think of any other social groupings prone to exclusivity. I just gave you two more. (Self-employed people are employed by themselves - hence the name.)

    And if you wanted to be a “fan” of multiple religions, nobody’s stopping you. .
  • Dave W wrote: »
    No, your point (according to you) was that you couldn’t think of any other social groupings prone to exclusivity. I just gave you two more. (Self-employed people are employed by themselves - hence the name.)

    And if you wanted to be a “fan” of multiple religions, nobody’s stopping you. .

    I did mention football fans as a social group prone to exclusivity. I also don't think of the employer-employee relationship as a social grouping.

    I'm not sure your last point is accurate. I was made to feel very unwelcome on an atheist group because my interest in numenism meant that I wasn't atheist enough. Also a number of religions take a dim view of people with a foot in two or more beliefs.

    I meant no offence by my use of the word "fan". I simply don't have experience of following anything with the kind of loyalty that apparently fills many followers of belief. I'm not sure that kind of loyalty exists in me.
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