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Thread: Is belief a choice?

  1. #11
    SWED Missle Command Champion johnflesh's Avatar
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    Some might find the idea of a God better than the idea of there not being a God, accepting that they don't know either for certain.

    That isn't in direct context to the link, but is to the title of the thread.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Remember Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? I think most human adults have a "spiritual" side. The urge to come up with the meaning of life, decide what you think is moral and immoral, etc.

    And unless you live under a rock on a deserted island, this also involves considering the religious beliefs you are hectored to adopt.

    In the West, that's most likely some form of Christianity.

    So, asking seems normal. What you ask and how you ask seems like a choice.

    But belief? In the Christian versions of religion? Can you choose to actually believe that?

    I don't think so. But you can choose to pretend you do.
    I've met people who were "saved" so to speak an it's a pretty amazing thing. Of course I don't know what their beliefs were as a child, but they suddenly and overwhelmingly felt the presence of God at sometime in their life (come to Jesus moment, if you will) and I have no doubt of their sincerity.

    But I am curious what believers mean when they direct others to believe as well. Like it's a choice. Like you could easily will yourself to believe things you've always thought were illogical. I would think someone like Chaffetz would balk at anyone trying to tell him aliens are real and he must believe in them. The linchpin in salvation is belief. Since God knows what's in your heart, it can't be faked but yet other believers seem convinced that one can reach a state of grace through willful acceptance of the existence of God.

    And then I wonder about kids who are raised to believe, but do they really? How many people who say they believe are actually lying?
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    My issues of "Freethought Today"* frequently feature essays from those who have given up on their religion, explaining how and why they made their decision. So on the surface, it appears to be possible.



    * The newsletter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation
    I would think discovering disbelief is a more likely mental process than the reverse. If you look around there's a lot more evidence that God does not exist IMO.
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  4. #14
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueneck View Post
    I would think discovering disbelief is a more likely mental process than the reverse. If you look around there's a lot more evidence that God does not exist IMO.
    Depends on your idea of God. I'm a Deist; to me, a purring kittah is proof God exists.

    But God does not have a running dialogue with humans, or even notice them. At all. That's not the nature of divinity.

    I did not choose Deism. It's the only possible answer to my questions about religion for me.
    Last edited by Madeline; 1st March 2018 at 07:36 AM.
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  5. #15
    SWED Missle Command Champion johnflesh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueneck View Post
    I would think discovering disbelief is a more likely mental process than the reverse. If you look around there's a lot more evidence that God does not exist IMO.
    How about the afterlife? It doesn't necessarily require a God and is acceptable in the form of reincarnation to some.
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  6. #16
    Veteran Member Devil505's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnflesh View Post
    Some might find the idea of a God better than the idea of there not being a God......
    Same is true of Santa Claus and the Tooth-fairy....about which there is the same lack of evidence of existence.
    Last edited by Devil505; 1st March 2018 at 08:03 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnflesh View Post
    How about the afterlife? It doesn't necessarily require a God and is acceptable in the form of reincarnation to some.
    As to the promise of heaven for obeying the tenets of a religion, I have always wondered how the decision making process for who qualifies and who doesn't would be tricky for any deity. Same with hell as punishment. And then there's the loophole of last minute redemption, even for the most evil. Doesn't seem fair.

    Reincarnation makes more sense to me if you believe in the idea of people having souls that can enter and leave the body.
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  8. #18
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Using a tragedy to proselytize ... what a dick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blueneck View Post
    If you don't believe G-d exists, how can you just decide to believe he does?
    I do not believe (!) one can. One can study and think about it, but one does not just say to oneself "I think I'll start believing in G-d and Jesus." There is always some precursor leading up to that (or any other religious) belief.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blueneck View Post
    Or is it a "fake it till you make it" thing?
    That can actually work, as in the case of a 12-Step Program. But when I say it "works," I mean to say it enables one to work through those steps successfully. That is the essence of Step 2 (which is dealt with extensively in the book Alcoholics Anonymous).
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  9. #19
    Bizarroland Observer Thx1138's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueneck View Post
    I saw this headline:

    Chaffetz: Florida school shooting survivors 'need a belief in God and Jesus Christ'


    If you don't believe God exists, how can you just decide to believe he does?

    Or is it a "fake it till you make it" thing?
    I knew a girl who liked to be the first one to proclaim "Hallelujah!" in the circle of Christian friends.

    Sounds like the same thing, trying to get a pat on the back from Christians, but for real ideas is an empty vessel.

    Thx
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  10. #20
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thx1138 View Post
    I knew a girl who liked to be the first one to proclaim "Hallelujah!" in the circle of Christian friends.

    Sounds like the same thing, trying to get a pat on the back from Christians, but for real ideas is an empty vessel.

    Thx
    I think I will take up shouting "Hallelujah!" rather than saying "thank you".

    Should liven up my dining out experiences considerably.

    LOL.
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