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Old 08-27-2009, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
521 posts, read 806,765 times
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I have seen many times, by many different posters, on this forum that belief/disbelief is a choice. Is it really though?

I know, for myself, that I cannot just decide to believe. This, however, does not mean that I am incapable of a spiritual belief, only that I cannot force myself to believe. I could go through all the motions, say the right things, read the right things, and practice the right rituals but all in all it would just be lip service. Without something to ever convince me otherwise, I cannot make myself to believe.

I ask, do other posters here feel this way? Do you think one is capable of choosing/forcing themselves what to believe? Hypothetically, if absolute evidence is presented that is contradictory to your beliefs/disbelief, would you be convinced, or would you first have to decide if you believe/disbelieve in such evidence?
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:26 AM
 
Location: An absurd world.
5,165 posts, read 8,260,769 times
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It would take a total disregard for logic for me to believe.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Texas
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If you cannot bring yourself to believe, have you not made the choice NOT to believe?
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis
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At my current level of soul development, I go through both. I get frustrated at the way the world is going and I disbelieve. Then I feel the love of God in my soul and I believe. I think it's a roller coaster for the more spiritual people. The ones who adhere to certain beliefs because of what they are being told, will not faulter because they don't want to know the Truth.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:39 AM
 
39,020 posts, read 10,812,637 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forkpower View Post
I have seen many times, by many different posters, on this forum that belief/disbelief is a choice. Is it really though?

I know, for myself, that I cannot just decide to believe. This, however, does not mean that I am incapable of a spiritual belief, only that I cannot force myself to believe. I could go through all the motions, say the right things, read the right things, and practice the right rituals but all in all it would just be lip service. Without something to ever convince me otherwise, I cannot make myself to believe.

I ask, do other posters here feel this way? Do you think one is capable of choosing/forcing themselves what to believe? Hypothetically, if absolute evidence is presented that is contradictory to your beliefs/disbelief, would you be convinced, or would you first have to decide if you believe/disbelieve in such evidence?
Since you are talking of 'spiritual' belief, I presume that we are talking about the philosophic imponderables, the divine instinct and feelings of anthropomorphized wonder, all of which terms can stand in for 'spiritual' and make about as much sense.

I actually don't think it's easy to force oneself to believe. I think one requires reasons to believe (spiritually) or not believe, either for good or bad reasons.

It may be considered poisoning the well, but I think product advertising might be a reasonable analogy. One would hardly 'force' oneself to buy a particular product. One would either decide that they wanted something or not. They would then research price suitability and reliability and make a choice.

Or they would be persuaded to buy a product because their family always used it or their peers considered the brand cool, or it was made of sparkly pink plastic and looked appealing or because of a very effective marketing campaign which promised that one's life would be greatly enhanced by purchase of this product and, sorry, no money back if it isn't.

So the analogy is that we have an innate need for 'something more'. The spiritual or divine instinct, one might say. Which particular spiritual product one buys is rarely decided logically, nor does one 'force' ones'self. Either one goes for the product that everyone else buys or looks around for one that appeals or is persuaded by some peddler of theism or other.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
521 posts, read 806,765 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
If you cannot bring yourself to believe, have you not made the choice NOT to believe?
I don't think so. If one cannot bring themselves to believe then it would seem that there is some aspect about that individual, or about the particular belief, that the individual cannot physically (or should I say mentally?) reconcile.

Consider if you were standing in a hallway with a number of doors, one of the doors is locked and you don't have the key. The choice to, or not to, go through that door is taken away from you because you simply don't have the means. There are other doors that you are free to explore, but when concerning this one door, there is no choice.

Hope this analogy doesn't muddle things further, I need more coffee.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Texas
1,303 posts, read 1,853,858 times
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Quote:
I could go through all the motions, say the right things, read the right things, and practice the right rituals but all in all it would just be lip service.
This describes me perfectly as a teen. I even went so far as baptism to make certain family members happy. But it was all bs on my part. I just couldn't believe for real.

Quite frankly, I always found the Christian beliefs I was brought up with to be stupid, and things haven't exactly changed much since my younger years.

Maybe some of us just don't have that God gene. I read an article by Michael Shermer where he states that humans evolved to be religious, which, ironically enough, would make Christers more evolved than us non-believers
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,916 posts, read 16,790,127 times
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The think the OP makes a very good point. I never sat down one day and made a decision to become an atheist. I simply realized that given the fact that I found so many religious foundation beliefs to be preposterous that by definition I was an atheist. I do think that people very often make an attempt to become a believer and that they're trying to make a choice but the fact remains that you either believe or you don't and I don't think you can fake it. The belief system of religion either rings true or it doesn't and even though an individual may make every effort to choose one side or the other I don't think that in the end it really is a choice.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:06 AM
 
2,893 posts, read 5,288,514 times
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Similar to Montana Guy, I never "chose" to be an atheist, I very suddenly came upon the realization that I just am not capable of faith.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
521 posts, read 806,765 times
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Great post AREQUIPA, I only have one issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
So the analogy is that we have an innate need for 'something more'. The spiritual or divine instinct, one might say.
I would be very careful attributing 'innate' qualities to people, as I have yet to see any one innate metaphysical quality that resides in all people. I do not think that every one has such a "divine instinct", as by its very nature the divine is beyond our reach of a full understanding. And I think that this may be the root cause that is often misunderstood as a "divine instinct", the need to know, and to understand ones world around them. In some people this may translate into looking to the supernatural to explain the natural, or the individual seeking out the information themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Which particular spiritual product one buys is rarely decided logically, nor does one 'force' ones'self.
Do you not think there may be certain learned or inherited traits that may conflict, or steer one away from such "spiritual products"? You mention (in so many words) that spiritual belief is rarely decided logically, what then of those that are more logically inclined than others? What of people that logically/skeptically analyze most things in their life?
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