why do you believe what you believe

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by gooduser07, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. gooduser07

    gooduser07 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    hello all,

    in effort to know truth, and to understand how humanity has ended up with the myriad of beliefs extant today, I thought a poll would be in order.
    feel free.

    abie
     
  2. dauer

    dauer New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    3,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    If we use this paragraph from wikipedia:

    "Idea, in is some forms of philosophy, is excepted as the opposite of belief. Often a belief is some thing excepted as, by the believer, a truth, and therefore resists change. Idea is a thought that, while still being excepted by the thinker, is not held to such truth as belief, and can be changed, molded, or added onto with improvements or suggestions."

    Belief - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I don't hold many beliefs at all, just a lot of ideas that I may or may not feel strongly about. I believe that all of our experiences of the world contain some degree of subjectivity and that, because of this, we have no way to verify anything as Truth. I believe that what we all generally agree is objectively True is more likely to contain at least a hint of Truth but that this isn't necessarily the case. I believe that all experiences, if not True, are at the very least real for the individual. Those beliefs, much like many other people's, I hold because of my life experiences. A lot of my ideas about the world spring from them.

    I probably feel most strongly about my central idea regarding ethics, that the guiding principle for how we ought to act is probably contained within the many permutations of the golden rule but that the best way to act in a given moment is dependant on the time and place, both the individual event and the people involved as well as the larger society. It is, however, something I would willingly modify or change given the evidence.

    Dauer
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    20,307
    Likes Received:
    1,197
    I think I believe what I believe because it works, its comfortable...not to say it doesn't challenge me at times...but I am often at peace and in other systems I felt out of sorts...not challenged out of sorts but befuddled uncomfortable out of sorts...

    I believe that is why we have so many....we are told this is the road to whatever and we don't see whatever and don't appear to be getting close to whatever so we either try another path or someone tells us about another path...and it appears to be getting us closer to wherever whatever is...so we stay...now some of us have other comfort zones....ie social implications, the family is here, the party is good, so we don't take another path despite we aren't getting where we wanna go...because we stay for the accouterments or the family who doesn't want to go on...
     
  4. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Messages:
    5,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe nothing. So according to Cyberpi I have infinite beliefs!! Cool!
     
  5. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,924
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm with Dauer. I have a lot of ideas, but no solid beliefs. It's important to me to entertain and hold a lot of different and differing ideas; to try to see things from as many different sides as possible. The more information I can amass without short circuiting the process by forming beliefs the better hypothesis I can construct and reconstruct from that information.

    Chris
     
  6. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,437
    Likes Received:
    3
    To keep myself busy.
     
  7. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    Reason, observation, discussion, study, life experience, and being true to myself.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  8. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Messages:
    5,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    Because I'm told to. And you better do too if you know what's good for you!!:mad::D
     
  9. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Messages:
    3,786
    Likes Received:
    43
    Namaste all,

    i always think this is a good question.. to be followed by the equally important question "Are you sure?"

    in any event, i believe what i do due to my life experiences, my personal outlook upon life and my religious paradigm.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  10. greymare

    greymare New Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    I dont exactly have a belief, I dont think. I used to be indecisive, now I'm not sure (haha). I do believe that you should live until you die.
    And, if today was a bad one, the sun will rise tomorrow and you can start all over again. love the grey
     
  11. Neemai

    Neemai that's my Boss in the pic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would say:

    1) Personal experience,
    2) Logical reasoning,
    and 3) Other people's personal testimonies.

    i.e - I don't know the earth is a sphere, but when I look from the top of a high mountain the horizon does look kind of spherical in the distance. It makes logical sense (what other shape would work?); and there are people who have travelled round it, or taken photos from space and brought them back.

    Same goes for the soul, reincarnation and existence of God, only without the photos. ;)


    ... Neemai :)
     
  12. Operacast

    Operacast Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hi --

    I suppose I've been kind of in penance for a while for having lost my temper with a fellow poster, and so I've not felt like posting here, having been rather upset with myself. I'm delighted, though, to see that the poster I fought with is still posting here constructively, so that's perhaps one up side in all this.

    The OP in this thread is well worth addressing, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to give my two cents on this. It may be that I've already spelled out elswehere on this forum(?) my reasons for believing what I believe today. If so, I'll understand if the moderators choose to delete this posting; but it does seem relevant here, and I also look forward to reading additional answers from others in the coming days. Anyhow, here goes:

    I suppose I’d describe myself as a “provisional theist”, which may scandalize all camps!...

    By way of explanation, let me start by suggesting that humanity is a species that partly depends for its evolution upon socialization. Granted, there are individual drives related to each autonomous organism, but there are also group patterns of behavior that are selected for as well. Hence, socialization. Through the millennia, those group patterns have yielded such things as villages, then towns, then states, then nations, then international alliances, etc. Each of these structures are geared to interdependent living, ultimately. And as the structures grow in complexity, the portion of the human family being mutually cared for should theoretically grow simultaneously. If that doesn’t happen, growing resentment and social upheavals eventually topple a unit (whether a culture, a state, or whatever) into anarchy, and the evolution of the unit is stunted and eventually dies. If this process happens on a huge enough basis, the species itself is in jeopardy.

    Since, frankly, I view the urges for growing social cohesiveness as being fully as biological and as intrinsic to evolution as the urge to sleep, or have sex, or eat, that means that I find the ways in which those innovative and altruistic urges (leading to more and more successfully inclusive socialization) manifest themselves critical to understanding how the biological evolution of our species proceeds in the first place. This is why the dynamics of social reform and altruism seem essential in understanding the evolution of the human species as a whole, not just the survival of individual humans.

    It's been easy to find a number of manifestations of those essentially heterodox urges (for their time and place) toward greater social inclusiveness, but those are often in tandem with equally heterodox understandings of deity (for their time and place) that have frequently aroused the dangerous ire of orthodox religious authorities -- and some secular authorities as well. At the same time, such combined heterodox takes on both deity and social mores always seem to come from theists, however heterodox.

    Now, surely, there is nothing more heterodox than a path-breaking atheism or even agnosticism? How come, then, the pioneering atheists down through history (that is, pioneering for their time and place) do not show a similar pattern of concurrent heterodox notions of unprecedented (for their time and place) social inclusiveness? I started out a decade or so back fully expecting to find precisely such figures who would be heterodox in both respects, both nonbelief and social inclusiveness. Instead, it disappointed me (being a skeptic at the time) when I only found atheists who were either original and truly altruistic in their social ethics but never original in their atheism, applying a ready-made philosophy of atheism from some other contemporary thinker or from a thinker of a generation or so earlier; or they would be truly pathbreaking (for their time and place) in their atheism but not innovative, even when extremely ethical, in their social thinking. So they never displayed this symbiotic pattern of concurrently heterodox views in both areas typical of pioneering heterodox theists.

    I recognize that plenty of atheists have died horrible deaths and that many, many such figures have had their writings destroyed. So the historical record is probably not complete. But much of the first millennium B.C.E. displays a more tolerant spirit - not throughout, obviously, but still markedly more tolerant than most other eras - in which ultimately a higher frequency of skeptical thinking - even respected skeptical thinking - has survived than from any other era until our own day, which is finally as freewheeling as then, even though it hasn’t lasted as long. The absence of the type of innovative atheist who is heterodox (for the atheist’s time and place) - in both one’s take on the cosmos and one’s social values - from even the relatively inquiring and freewheeling eras remained especially disappointing to me.

    Now, theists who are plainly heterodox in both their take on deity and their take on more inclusive social values are self-evidently risking the ire of their communities - and have garnered it all too frequently. So it’s not necessarily a courage gap that we’re dealing with here when we see the absence of such figures among genuinely ground-breaking atheists. Could something else be going on, tied more directly to a heterodox understanding - and visceral awareness - of deity that in turn emboldens the risking of life and limb for innovative/heterodox social reform as well?

    Anyway, that is what has occurred to me, and it’s what’s made me conclude that, given the apparent symbiosis between heterodox theist views (for their time and place) and heterodox ethical/social views (for their time and place), these recurring patterns on the ground may point to natural human evolution being inextricably tied to a visceral awareness of deity in an often heterodox context as well that is frequently countercultural -- dangerously so for the pioneer in question.

    There is admittedly one essential assumption/presumption that I make here at the outset, and if that is debunked, my whole argument clearly founders: I assume/presume that humanity’s natural evolution is as much tied to the steady expansion of social mores as it is tied to the individual drives for food, sex and sleep, etc. - an entirely natural process in which whatever is symbiotically tied to expanding social mores is just as natural as the evolving mores themselves - making deity just as real a presence in this equation as evolution itself. If I’m wrong in the asumption that the growing expansion of generous social mores is as biologically intrinsic to our species as the drives for food, sex and sleep, then I’m wrong in everything else.

    But the main reason why I term myself a “provisional theist” is because, even though I’ve studied the pioneering atheists down the millennia rather extensively, there is still an outside possibility that I may yet come across some pioneering atheist (pioneering for that atheist's time and place) who atypically introduces, at the same time, some new ethical paradigm (new for that time and place) after all. I haven’t found that yet, which is why I’m now a theist. But if I do find it, I guess I’d become an agnostic - which is what I was before embarking on my layman’s study of the history of pioneering atheists.

    As I say, my two cents,

    Operacast
     
  13. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Messages:
    3,633
    Likes Received:
    43
    It may sound like a silly answer but it is because it feels right. Something inside me says "this feels right, go with it". :eek:
     
  14. Operacast

    Operacast Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    4
    [Regrettably, a posting has somehow disappeared from this page. Since I still have it in my Inbox, I'm taking the opportunity to restore it here without additional comment.]


    LeoSalinas22

    first off, i don't believe in God.... i know God exists. now on to the question. the reason my hope rests in God is because this world's way has failed time after time after time and again...failed! nothing is working. science and art just isn't cutting it! all i ever hear is who died, why did they die, earthquakes, wars, famines. never any good news. when will the day come when i watch the news and see, " suffering and death have ended! news at 11!" when? when does the war against war begin? i used to believe in man. now i don't. this is why my faith is in God. now and until i return to the dust of the earth.... and even after that! way after that.
     
  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    20,307
    Likes Received:
    1,197
    Namaste Leo,

    Last one first...

    The war against war has gone on forever and will never work...you can't solve war with war or hate with hate. Peace and love my brother, turn the other cheek, and love your enemy...tis the only way. And I believe that because it works for me.

    Suffering and death ended? It is all part of life? Nothing is working? It is all working in my world.

    In order for you to have a flower on your table how many critters have to toil, how many have to die for the food on your plate? G!d created it all and said it was good....who are we to say otherwise?

    I know that my earthly unknowing self has issues as I cannot see the big picture...I know I tear over lost souls...but I also know it is all part of a plan that is not for me to understand. I know when the tree dies and falls in the forest thousands of animals, millions of insects and billions of microbes will thrive...and then when they die and move on more trees will grow....and it is good.

    My life is the same...one day this body will be fertile ground...and it is good...whenever and however it comes.

    Why do I believe that way....because I sleep soundly at night, resting in the bosom of my faith.
     
  16. LeoSalinas22

    LeoSalinas22 merely a shadow...

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    719
    Likes Received:
    0
    thank you so much for that operacast! i don't know how you had this post in your inbox but you did and here it is. i got really frustrated when i found out yesterday that all of my posts were gone because of some technical thing over the weekend. i really poured out my heart on some of those posts. thanks again and God bless you, man.
     
  17. LeoSalinas22

    LeoSalinas22 merely a shadow...

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    719
    Likes Received:
    0
    hello wil,

    so you don't think that God is using evil to show us that our way isn't working. that the only way is His way? that of justice and righteousness? i understand what you are saying, but what about the rest of this planet. sure you and i live a comfortable life, but people are dying as we speak. dying needlessly. doesn't that bother anyone? it bothers me so much just thinking about it. i know God has His reasons, but still, it is frustrating. thanks for responding to my post. peace be upon you...
     
  18. Operacast

    Operacast Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    4
    Was glad to do it. I only regret that a much shorter post following yours was also lost and never arrived at my Inbox at all (I'm set up so I can receive alerts when there are new additions to threads where I participate; hence, my luck with yours; not sure why I never got a copy of the smaller follow-up, though [from whom I can't recall; perhaps that poster is reading this and can reproduce it for us].

    I can say that I share some of the frustration expressed by others here at the two-steps-forward two-steps-back pattern that human civilization seems trapped in. Sometimes I even wonder if our very species might be in jeopardy.

    During the '90s, crises like Bosnia, Rwanda, et al, and the international community's dithering over them, got me profoundly discouraged, probably because I had allowed myself to be sold too much on a general euphoria at the time (in some quarters) that had been generated by the end of the Cold War, of the Soviet Union and of the Berlin Wall, etc. So the Bosn./Rwan. crises et al were too rude an awakening for my fragile psyche to take:). The hope that we might really be looking at a future in which war would really be no longer in nations' interests got me fired up. In my private life, I at first became a happier man, I decided to get married, make a life, stop being caught up in every Presidential election cycle, and so on. I have never regretted getting married, and I do not regret the happy life I have today.

    At the same time, the endless addiction, on my part, to staying abreast of continual crises on the evening news gradually started returning by the mid-'90s, and that proved unreasonably upsetting for me.

    I couldn't help wondering if our very species might be in jeopardy. Where was the promised consensus that society would finally acknowledge the equal worth of every human being, that we'd only thrive if we all pull together rather than separately? How could we expect nations outside the nuclear club to stay that way if those with the bomb didn't set an example by doing at least some downsizing themselves? Where were the promised freed-up resources to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, etc., now that mega-spending on deterrence for the Cold War no longer seemed necessary? Yes, these and similar principles had already been codified in documents like the United Nations Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and so on. But it seemed that the end of the Cold War brought us right back to 1946 instead, where international norms were as irrelevant as if the U.N., and similar institutions, had never been established at all.

    I thought, "surely there are certain benchmarks that humanity has previously laid down on occasion that have brought sectors of the human family back from the brink of social free fall" - and social free fall, for me, is when a society's left-out grow to such critical mass that anarchy, feuled by resentment, ultimately threatens lives and property on a huge scale, such as happened, for instance, in the French Revolution. (It was this concern that apparently spurred FDR and his advisors to bring on the so-called New Deal in the 1930s, with its concept of the social safety net.)

    "Somehow" (I thought) "benchmarks like the principles of Urukagina in Lagash, or those of the Greeks Solon and Pericles, or Buddha's pacifism, or Jesus's serving others, or the "inalienable rights" in the Declaration of Independence, or the Emancipation Proclamation and the Tsar's freeing of the serfs, or the pacifism of Gandhi, or FDR's four freedoms, or the Geneva Conventions, or the U.N. charter, had each apparently had teeth - for their time - in nudging humanity one small step forward and away from a social free fall. But somehow, examples like Rwanda or Bosnia, and the even more distressing shiftlessness of the other nations in responding, seem to call the longlasting effects of the great benchmarks of the past into question. What initially gave these benchmarks their teeth and why do they get so much scorn and ridicule today? Somehow humanity managed to emerge out of the jungle intact via villages, towns, states, etc., each of which tacitly adopt the notion of community, and without which none of us would probably be here today at all. What was there in each of the successive nudges to humanity's sense of responsibility for its fellow creatures that clicked successfully in the past?"

    It was at this stage that I rather haphazardly started to dig into whatever common denominator(s) the key ethical/social pioneers of the past might have. I was looking for some pattern, yes, but I truly had no notion as to what that pattern might be.

    I did, though, start out with one basic premise: Evolution is most certainly intrinsic to the development of each and every species - Darwin & Wallace have that dead right - and each and every species has basic needs that are either met in the course of evolution or are not met at all, resulting in extinction. Humanity's evolution has seemed to thrive in social patterns, and if those patterns snap apart through galloping selfishness and neglect, cultures perish. Unfortunately, today, even though we still can point to a few individual cultures here and there, there is one overarching global culture that is more ubiquitous today than any similar would-be global culture has ever been before. The reason why that's terrifying is because that means that if the global culture of today implodes, the resulting cataclysm would be more catastrophic than any cultural implosion in the past. Add the apparent disintegration of the ecology to that mix and you really have the makings for human extinction.

    Maybe it's too big of a leap to (and others would have to judge this) assume that whatever ingredients go into humanity's incremental nudges toward greater caring and social evolution must be as real as any other ingredient in evolution. But I make that assumption. Procreation is symbiotically tied to the drive for sex, nourishment is symbiotically tied to the drive for food, sufficient energy is symbiotically tied to the drive for sleep. In each case, something eminently practical is tied symbiotically to a specific desire for something comforting, whether good sex, good food or a decent night's sleep.

    I happen to view the eminent practicality of a sensitized responsibility/conscience toward all of society's members in the same light, frankly. I view it in the same way as I do procreation, nourishment and sufficient energy. Now, if the comfort element in procreation is delightful sex, what is the comfort element in caring for all our fellow creatures? That's the question I'd like answered.

    Going by the historical record, the key evolutionary nudges toward wider caring throughout history SEEM tied to countercultural theism? But maybe that's a red herring. Can any of the readers here detect any other "comfort" thread that also runs through the history of pioneering altruists, or is countercultural theism the only one? Please? If you can confirm some consistent thread here, it should be bottled, because I honestly believe that we are staring down the barrel of imminent human extinction today!

    I can just hear the cynics on Web forums everywhere saying "All that is nonsense: treatment of the less well off can't influence the future of humanity one little bit; we're all still here; so stop being a pain", and bla bla bla bla bla. Well, I don't choose to complacently accept the extinction of humanity because of stubborn stupidity, arrogance, shortsightedness, stunted attention span, selfishness, greed and violence.

    Cheers (.......er.........I guess.......),

    Operacast
     
  19. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    0
    Operacast...

    There is a still small voice that is in all humans. I hear it all of the time.

    I just read it in your wonderfully descriptive and accurate post. It whispers loudly in artists and creative people of all kinds. But who runs and controls the world ? Not us. Not them.

    Research has proven that taking care of others results in a better quality of life for the care-giver(s). Of course if money is linked to that process, somehow the promised benefits for those who care is profoundly diminished and de-emphasized.

    It becomes less meaningful and disconnected from the emotional reward and feedback systems that function in all of life. People need to get re-connected to their and each others' emotional centers. How that's going to happen is beyond me, but it must, or as you say we will comtinue to be our own worst enemies.

    Thank you for your heartfelt thoughts and ideas.

    flow....:)
     
  20. LeoSalinas22

    LeoSalinas22 merely a shadow...

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    719
    Likes Received:
    0
    hello operacast,

    wow, amazing post! thanks for sharing that. you are a smart one, my friend. may i ask you a question? what are your thoughts on God. you don't have to answer. i don't want to evangalize to you at all for that is not my style whatsoever. before i started to gain knowledge on God, i too, sought salvation for mankind through the methods of this world. i know you notice that man's methods aren't working anymore, that there has to be another way, but the fact is that nothing we ever do is going to work. well, hope to hear from you soon. peace be upon you...
     

Share This Page