Is belief (as in: acting as though something is true despite lack of proof) a choice?

Discussion in 'Opinion POLLS' started by modernpaladin, Jun 5, 2018.

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Is beleif (as in: acting as though something is true despite lack of proof) a choice?

  1. Belief is a choice.

    3 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. Belief is not a choice.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Belief is partly a choice.

    2 vote(s)
    40.0%
  1. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I'm really more interested in the philosophy of this, but just in case it breaks down to an 'agree to disagree' (as these things often do) I thought a poll would be a good start.

    Is belief a choice? Can it be changed, in part, through shear will or must belief be challenged with new data/perspective?
     
  2. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm going to say partly a choice. I don't think we directly choose what to believe and what not to believe. In general, I don't think I can just will myself into believing I'm a millionaire. However, beliefs and actions are a funny two-way street, and I'm pretty sure some studies have shown that people have changed their beliefs by first changing their actions. Cognitive dissonance sets in and their brain is basically like, "Whoah, I'm not acting in a way that jives with my beliefs, so one of the two need to change" and sometimes it is the beliefs that change if the actions don't.
     
  3. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Can you really 'believe' whether you're a millionaire or not, though? Aside from the subjectivity of hard cash vs property value, either you have a million dollars or not (or are worth a million dollars or not). I'm referring to more subjective concepts like god, conspiracies, intentions of others or speculation on universal/natural dynamics that we have yet to fully quantify.

    Can one believe in a god (as probably the most oft discussed example) and then choose later to not believe in a god without additional input like new perspectives, new understandings of scripture or new scientific data about the universe? People often change their views over the course of their life as to whether there is a god (or what that god 'is') as a result of new information or new perspective... but do they ever just purely decide to believe something else because maybe its more convenient or comfortable, or maybe as a result of social pressuring?
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  4. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    Totally, and I don't think you can will yourself into believing that God exists. However, if you change your behavior to, say, pray constantly, go to church, etc., you might end up changing your beliefs because of cognitive dissonance. You wouldn't be consciously changing your beliefs, but you could be making conscious decisions that lead to you ultimately changing your beliefs.
     
  5. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Belief is directly tied to intellect in many ways. It seems easy to believe something untrue when ignorant and disinterested in learning truth.
     
  6. Maccabee

    Maccabee Well-Known Member

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    I used to believe that 9/11 was an inside job up until very recently I decided to challenge my belief and hear the counter arguments. So yes, belief is a choice.
     
  7. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    A person can choose to believe something, but just believing does not make it correct. People who choose to believe something which is contrary to the data usually don't care about the data.
     

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