Monday, October 1, 2007

To Believe or Not to Believe

Some time ago I was in a conversation with an evangelical concerning whether or not we could choose to believe. My argument was and is that we do not choose to believe or not to believe.

1. I find “belief” to be a lot like “love” (i.e. love for one’s spouse). Something magical and ineffable draws us to an idea (or another person). But some effort is usually required to make that attraction last. Love requires one to continually expend emotional, physical, intellectual, etc. effort in one direction (i.e. toward one’s spouse); and at the same time one willingly withholds or does not expend such efforts in the direction of others.

As I read this post it started me thinking again. My mother always told me that we cannot choose how we feel or with whom we fall in love. But she also said that we can choose where we go and with whom we associate. In that way we do choose to a certain extent for where we go determines who we meet and we can only fall in love with one we meet.

Now, how does this relate to belief? Lately I have read many posts and responses about persons who have begun to question their belief, often in Mormonism but also in the existence of god. Something that really stands out is the number of people who say, “ choose to believe because…” and they have a multitude of reasons:
· It makes my family happy
· It is easier at work
· Everyone else is doing it (going to church)

So, I don’t know…can one choose to believe? Or do they just go along to get along?


Anonymous said...

It takes a lot of effort to do either.

Interested said...

Really? I think it would be difficult to believe without evidence but to not believe seems easy. I watched Richard Dawkins' Root of all Evil last night and I seriously do not understand how any intelligent person can believe in the fairy tales told in the bible.

Someone once asked me what kind of evidence I need to believe. Dr. Dawkins answered for me in an interview about the documentary; a supreme being or god would have to reveal himself in an indisputable way. And we aren't talking about subjective "feelings". I'll be posting about feelings soon because I fear there is much to be argued.

rick b said...

some day you and others like dawkins will die and stand before God, then you will say, I cannot believe I really believed the fairy tales Dawkins told. Rick b

tina said...

What is so bad about questioning EVERYTHING? I am so glad I wasn't brought up with religion.

Interested said...

Questioning is GOOD. Unfortunately when faith is involved one is not allowed to question.

christ davis said...

rick b, I like your assumption that your god and its rites are the only truth. The obsession with Dawkins is emblematic of how your mind seems to channel this subject through the worship filter installed in your brain, as if he is some sort of superstar, and all of the women and men who agree with some or all of his writing are just mindless fanboys like so pitifully many evangelic christians.