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Belief a Conscious Choice?

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  • #16
    Jedidiah,

    re: "When I came to Christ I did not choose to believe, not consciously at any rate. All the pieces fell together at one moment and I realized that I did believe."

    You're one of the few people that seems to understand the nature of belief.

    Comment


    • #17
      Paprika,

      re: "No, because John 3:16 isn't about belief in the existence of the Son."


      What is "...whosoever believeth in him..." about?

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by rstrats View Post
        Paprika,

        re: "No, because John 3:16 isn't about belief in the existence of the Son."


        What is "...whosoever believeth in him..." about?
        I would say it is about Jesus being the Messiah, the Son of God.

        Comment


        • #19
          Paprika,

          re: "I would say it is about Jesus being the Messiah, the Son of God."

          OK, so then John 3:16 could be written: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever thinks that there is a chance that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God - even though they have doubts about it - should not perish but have everlasting life"?

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          • #20
            Originally posted by rstrats View Post
            Paprika,

            re: "I would say it is about Jesus being the Messiah, the Son of God."

            OK, so then John 3:16 could be written: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever thinks that there is a chance that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God - even though they have doubts about it - should not perish but have everlasting life"?
            Why should it be written in such a manner?

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by rstrats View Post
              Sparko,

              re: "If you show me convincing evidence of Leprechauns, I will decide whether to believe in them or not."

              If beliefs can be obtained by simply consciously choosing to have them, then evidence is not necessary - prudent in some cases, perhaps, but not necessary. However, even if it were necessary, how would you know when you had the convincing evidence? What would be the staie of your mind with regard to the issue in question at the moment you realized you had the convincing evidence?
              Huh? nobody ever said they simply chose to believe something with no evidence. Everyone will need reasons to believe something. But when you take all of the evidence together, you have to choose whether to believe the evidence or not. Sometimes this is just automatic and happens in an instant, which is what I believe Jed was saying. It just "clicks" - and sometimes you have to sit down and weigh the evidence and decide.


              I assume you believe in evolution. Did you just wake up one day and believe in it without any evidence? Or did you read and study the evidence for and against it and decide that the evidence for it was more compelling than the evidence against it, and then chose to believe in evolution?



              re: "Nobody ever claimed to just choose to believe for absofreakingly no reason at all."

              But could they? And anyway, in this topic there is a reason - and that reason is to demonstrate one's ability to consciously choose to believe something.
              Choosing because you believe the evidence is a conscious choice. Other people look at the same evidence and may decide not to believe it. So the evidence doesn't force you to believe.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by rstrats View Post
                Maybe you could use something like leprechauns to demonstrate your technique. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a leprechaun is "a fairy peculiar to Ireland, who appeared in the form of an old man of minute stature, wearing a cocked hat and a leather apron" and who hides his gold at the end of the rainbow and if captured has to grant three wishes. So, assuming that you don't already have a belief in them, how about right now, while you are reading this, choose to believe - be convinced without a doubt - that they exist. Now that you believe in leprechauns, my question is, how did you do it? How did you make the instantaneous transition from lack of belief to belief?
                I believe there's a truth behind leprechauns, and genies too, they're similar in granting wishes if you release them. The Quran describes jinn being kind of like demons or angels only with free will, and that King Solomon had them under his control to grant his wishes.

                So next question, the real one, can you just choose to believe in angels, demons, God?

                Most can probably just decide to believe that there are higher powers in the universe. I don't buy the notion of being helpless to decide against lacking any type of any belief, for the most part.

                I think it's a little harder to absolutely believe just by deciding, practice makes perfect. Like regular prayer for example, it may not grant you wishes but may grant you peace with whatever you get, good or bad. That's deciding to act and think in a way that builds faith. Whereas if you're constantly telling yourself and others there is no God, you're deciding to do things that erode belief.

                Then I think God can force belief like with the elect, they are gonna believe no matter what. Or He can force disbelief, like hardening Pharaoh's heart.

                In other words I don't think it's all a black and white thing.
                Last edited by JohnnyP; 10-28-2014, 05:36 PM. Reason: dupe word

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                • #23
                  I think people can hold protected beliefs. They are sincere in their beliefs but they decide to avoid detailed scrutiny of their beliefs in order to avoid damaging them. This strategy is taught by the ideology. Ideas that would damage their beliefs are called evil and it is morally justified to avoid evil ideas. It does not matter that the excluded ideas are empirically evil or not. The ideology typically has a list of evil ideas and concepts which it works against.
                  “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” ― Oscar Wilde
                  “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence” ― Bertrand Russell
                  “not all there” - you know who you are

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by firstfloor View Post
                    I think people can hold protected beliefs. They are sincere in their beliefs but they decide to avoid detailed scrutiny of their beliefs in order to avoid damaging them. This strategy is taught by the ideology. Ideas that would damage their beliefs are called evil and it is morally justified to avoid evil ideas. It does not matter that the excluded ideas are empirically evil or not. The ideology typically has a list of evil ideas and concepts which it works against.
                    That's the idea behind casting pearls before swine. It's one thing to debate with others about religion, it's quite another to go up against those dead set on destroying faith. Like the old MySpace Agnostic/Atheist group, it wasn't a place for discussion but more like a lion's den, and I saw a few Christians turn atheists over there. Sometimes it's better to avoid them.

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                    • #25
                      Someone new looking in who thinks that they can consciously choose to believe things will be able to demonstrate their ability by doing as requested in the OP.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by rstrats View Post
                        Someone new looking in who thinks that they can consciously choose to believe things will be able to demonstrate their ability by doing as requested in the OP.
                        I proved as much as you are going to get with your challenge, there's always going to be a reason and background as to why people decide to believe, I gave the progression from leprechauns to genies to jinn to demons.

                        If you want an example that's entirely free of knowledge about the given subject, you'll have to find someone who doesn't know what fairies and granting wishes if captured mean. Otherwise you're left with little old Irish men in hats and aprons hiding gold at the end of a rainbow, even skeptics can believe that, it's not a supernatural thing.

                        x.jpg

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                        • #27
                          JohnnyP,

                          re: "If you want an example that's entirely free of knowledge about the given subject..."

                          With or without knowledge, doesn't matter. If beliefs can be obtained by simply choosing to have them, then knowledge is not necessary - prudent in certain cases, perhaps - but not necessary. But even if it were necessary, how would you know when you had it? What would be the state of your mind with regard to the issue in question once you realized that you had the knowledge? And remember,in order for a belief to be considered a choice, there have to be at least two options from which to select, and each option has to be able to be selected.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Sparko,

                            re: "Huh? nobody ever said they simply chose to believe something with no evidence."

                            I never said that anyone did say that.



                            re: "I assume you believe in evolution."

                            I do not currently have a belief - a conviction - one way or the other with regard to evolution.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Paprika,

                              re: "Why should it be written in such a manner?"

                              To be consistent with your comment in post #8: "Most of my beliefs aren't held with absolute certainty, so I find your conception of 'belief' unrealistic."

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by rstrats View Post
                                Sparko,

                                re: "Huh? nobody ever said they simply chose to believe something with no evidence."

                                I never said that anyone did say that.
                                You keep telling people to believe in Leprechauns just because they want to with no evidence. I am saying that all beliefs take evidence. Whether you think it is good evidence or not will manifest itself in you making your decision.

                                You have built a strawman and want people to support it while you burn it down even though "conscious belief by choice" with no evidence was never a claim anyone rational has made.

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