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Is belief a choice?
Posted: 18 June 2012 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Occam. - 18 June 2012 12:31 PM

I think a bit of confusion among the posts is that some are thinking of choice as immediate and others as long term.  I agree that I and probably almost all people can’t say in one paragraph, “I have my belief system about the existence of a giod.  Whoops, I’ve changed my mind.  Now I believe just the opposite.”

Yes, it’s interesting. People often think that for it to be a choice they need to be able to make a different choice minutes later. They will then go on to demonstrate the difference by choosing tea and then choosing coffee for example. This doesn’t make much sense because lots of choices we make aren’t like that.
Stephen

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Posted: 18 June 2012 05:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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What I found more interesting was that, when asked why she believes in God (or was it heaven?), she said “because I choose to” as if that’s a good reason…

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Posted: 18 June 2012 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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From my point of view as a strong atheist, that’s about the only honest answer a theist can give.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 18 June 2012 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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PEOPLE HAVE CHOICES.

One can believe nothing.
One can believe something.

Or one can head toward the truth instead.

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Posted: 18 June 2012 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Well, you really don’t have a choice not to bother to debate, do you?

Don’t I?

One of the choices I made was to ignore the philosophical discussions because they strike me a lot like the freethinkers version of the “How Many Angels Can Dance On The Head Of A Pin?” debate so beloved by the theistic crowd. From my own perspective, it looks mighty like a lot of effort is going into overthinking the problem and blowing away a lot of time argueing the point with no resolution in sight.

I suppose somebody might hoot at me as being too simple minded (And maybe they’re right) but the question left hanging in the wind is this: Why bother trying to persuade somebody when…if we can’t make choices…there’s clearly no point in doing so?

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Posted: 18 June 2012 10:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 18 June 2012 10:15 PM

I suppose somebody might hoot at me as being too simple minded (And maybe they’re right) but the question left hanging in the wind is this: Why bother trying to persuade somebody when…if we can’t make choices…there’s clearly no point in doing so?

Because it isn’t true that if we don’t choose our beliefs that the persuasion can’t make the difference between whether we believe or not.

Stephen

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Posted: 18 June 2012 10:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I think we’re missing something here, Stephen. If one can’t make choices, if one cannot decide, then any attempt at presuasion is pointless.

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Posted: 18 June 2012 10:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 18 June 2012 10:24 PM

I think we’re missing something here, Stephen. If one can’t make choices, if one cannot decide, then any attempt at presuasion is pointless.

It would need to be possible for persuasion to change someone’s mind but not necessarily through choice.

Stephen

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Posted: 19 June 2012 04:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 18 June 2012 10:24 PM
I think we’re missing something here, Stephen. If one can’t make choices, if one cannot decide, then any attempt at presuasion is pointless.

It would need to be possible for persuasion to change someone’s mind but not necessarily through choice.

Stephen

I think there’s a difference between one who’s mind is open to persuasion and one who’s mind is closed to any suggestions in any form. Ex. The truth is what I have been taught to believe and I trust that person/institution to supply me with information needed to guide me through life. So far I ‘be weathered the storm using these guidelines so you can’t persuade me to question them. I’m afraid to peer behind the curtain and see the facts. It takes a bold individual to break away and question a belief system.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 19 June 2012 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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SeanJesuis - 18 June 2012 10:15 PM

Or one can head toward the truth instead.

Not really. Truth can be often difficult to find. Bible codes, OTOH, will satisfy even the simplest mind.

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Posted: 19 June 2012 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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George - 19 June 2012 05:23 AM
SeanJesuis - 18 June 2012 10:15 PM

Or one can head toward the truth instead.

Not really. Truth can be often difficult to find. Bible codes, OTOH, will satisfy even the simplest mind.

For an example, please see SeanJesuis’s recent post in the Philosophy of Religion thread.

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Posted: 10 July 2012 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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ExMachina - 17 June 2012 09:41 PM

I recently have seen the movie Prometheus, and one of the major ideas that it was trying to impress on the viewer was that the protagonist chose her beliefs in God/Christianity. This has been something that I have been arguing (in my mind) against for a while now. I figured it would be a good idea to bring it up to the CFI boards and see what others thought just in case I might be missing something. I’m not sure if my question is too ambiguous, so I’ll clarify by saying belief in the sense of what we believe to be true or untrue.

ie.

“I believe/do not believe a God exists”
“I believe/do not believe UFO’s exist”
“I believe/do not believe Chupacabra exists”

Please give your answer and an explanation as to why. Any input regarding this question would be appreciated.

I think we are ethically responsible to believe things because the evidence and reason supports them, so in that sense I am ethically opposed to belief-by-choice, i.e., I believe that belief-by-choice is unethical.

To answer the above questions, I do not believe a god exists: there is no evidence for such. There is no question that UFOs exist but there is no evidence they are alien spaceships - they are unidentified, hence the name UFO. I do not believe Chupacabra exists because I do not know what it is.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 10 July 2012 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 18 June 2012 05:09 AM

I’m not sure why, but there’s a range among people of how we use our reason.  At times we start with a premise and compare it with observad data and probabilities to determine whether we add it to our belief system.  Other times we start with our belief and work backwards to try to develop a “logical” framework to validate our belief.  Some of us use the first system more frequently, but many people use the second system almost exclusively.

Believers, theists, whatever you wish to label them are taught to use the latter, and yes I was one of them. One hymn comes to mind here “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus you must trust and obey”. We were programmed as children to turn off our critical thinking and follow what our parents, guardians, etc. wanted us to think. Take a closer look at cults if you want and example of this thought pattern. With that setting, when we were finally faced with the concept of critical thinking in school we were ready to fit the framework of validation. And now, reading further into Harris And others I wonder if There is a “belief gene”. Any thoughts?

Cap’t Jack

I was “one of them” too and distinctly remember blocking thoughts - i.e., not allowing myself to think them - because I was told that the very thinking of them was sinful. Looking back on it, it’s easy to see where that came from.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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