Do you consider your beliefs to be a choice?

Allow me to explain exactly what I mean by this. I've discussed various topics with various people on this site/app, with religion probably being among the most common. I'm non-religious and my view is that you can't choose what you believe in. I can't make myself believe that the Earth is flat or that the sun is actually the egg of a dragon or that God exists.

Many people disagree with that idea and instead argue that you can choose what you believe in, and that if you wanted to believe in God, you would.

Do you think that you can choose to believe in something that you find to be entirely irrational and unsubstantiated? Do you view belief as simply being the outcome of our understanding of the world and therefore not a conscious choice at all?


#Cammysquestions #BakedHaggis #Religion
  • Belief is a choice: you can choose to believe in one idea over another, even if it goes against how you view the world/universe to function!
    Vote A
  • Belief is not a choice: You can't force yourself to believe something that goes against your understanding of the nature of the world/universe!
    Vote B
  • Other (Explain in Comments)
    Vote C
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Most Helpful Girl

  • No, of course it's not.

    And I think a big part of where this nonsense that belief is a choice comes from theists (Or other pseudo-science), who, as usual, aren't understanding what's being asked.
    I reckon that theists think belief is a choice, because believing something on faith requires a constant re-affirming of that doubtful belief, which means they have to put in effort to maintain it. They think that the 'choice' they are making is to continue to believe despite conflict with scientific knowledge or their own internal doubts.
    What they don't understand is that the trappings of their religion are not something they could simply choose to throw away at a moments notice.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • Nothing is a conscious choice.
    Choice is just an illusion, whatever the current combination of variables including, your current state of mind, experience and information availability is, is what determines the choices you are going to make.

    So, yes.
    If a person currently needs a coping mechanism, they are going to believe.
    Likewise, if a person has been indoctrinated and adherence to certain beliefs represents a tool to combat their feelings of insecurity and personal inferiority, they are going to believe.
    And if someone possesses logic oriented reasoning and is not a victim of the aforementioned, they are not going to believe.

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What Girls & Guys Said

1625
  • To anyone who thinks belief is a choice I have a challenge; make the choice to believe in Santa for a year. Not just lip service, REALLY make yourself believe that there's a fat man living on the north pole giving out free gifts to good children one day of the year.

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    • 9 d ago

      I'm glad at least one person understands my point of view!

  • You can't believe in something that you don't believe.

    Prefer opinions to beliefs.
    I think of belief as something that is essentially dogmatic, often irrational. Beliefs can't be shaken, no matter how much evidence is presented.
    Opinions can be revised or even discarded based in additional information. They are based on reason.

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  • I chose no because although I want to believe in heaven my head can’t wrap itself around how it functions and I find myself just believing in nothingness which depresses me. I swear, I wish I could believe in heaven but my mind doesn’t let me. I believe in a divinity, whatever it may be, but an afterlife or reincarnation, etc. I just can’t as much I want to

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  • I have chosen a 'Spirituality' after meeting many, seeing different things and being raised, and told things I cannot believe.
    I choose, and some is based in Science, and Reason, but some, like all Spiritual Beliefs, based on Faith, and Trust in things unknown or undefined.
    unlike some, I don't NEED 'Answers' or 'Definitions' for some things, to just BELIEVE those, and the Way I choose. Faith and Trust is enough...

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  • I believe that you first have to be willing to believe something before you can believe in it. To use your example I'm not willing to believe that the sun is the egg of a dragon so I won't believe in it. But I am willing to believe that the're greater forces in the universe and so I do believe that their is a God and am a practicing Christian.

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    • 9 d ago

      Could you choose to become willing to believe that the sun is the egg of a dragon?

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    • 9 d ago

      Not necessarily. With the sun thing that yeh it's just such an out their example, and people raised with the right information don't really have a choice they know it's not a dragon egg. But when it comes to religion everyone has a choice to seek it out or look for signs. And the fact that they are or aren't choice to ignore these things is why I feel they don't believe.

    • 9 d ago

      But if you're following evidence and logic then it isn't simply about belief. It's about following what appears to be true, rather than what you want to believe is true.

      To give an example suggested by someone else: you can't make yourself believe that you won't die. You might think or ways around death, perhaps to postpone it, or you might think about what happens after death, but your body dying is inevitable. So you can choose to believe that you won't die because you know that such a concept goes against your understanding of life and the universe.

  • I don't know if I actually believe in "choice" in the "free will" sense. I'm not sure whether I can actually choose anything or if the sense of having any choice is merely an illusion.

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    • 9 d ago

      I'm a determinist in that sense. At least I go by the assumption that there's a causal relationship between a certain stimulus and resulting human behavior. That's kind of a fundamental assumption for anything that studies the causes behind human behavior, like psychology or criminology. That's not to devalue accountability; to the contrary, even if I am like a machine with no supernatural soul of any sort driven in a deterministic fashion by all sorts of external variables, accountability becomes a fundamental aspect of being able to learn from mistakes and allow self-modifications and improvements to my decision-making abilities. Yet I'm not sure I have any choice on the matter.

  • I'm not sure if God is real but one thing is for certain I'm also not sure he is not or there is not a God in general no one is technically there is no answer to this even scientists can agree on that.

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  • Even the Bible says that no one can believe if he is not drawn (the word is used of drawing water from a well, not a voluntary choice by the water) by the Father. It also speaks of people being "spiritually dead." What can a dead body do to revive itself?

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  • It's not that simple. First you have to choose a framework of belief that reflects the way you see the world. Then you choose beliefs that fit into that framework. Since you can never know everything it doesn't matter if your beliefs don't accurately reflect reality. They just need to reflect your understanding of it.

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  • I choose to believe in what I want to believe in. Whenever I am speaking about a religion, I say "according to this mythology or religion". I read and love the stories tho and think there's a moral lesson and also feel that there might be some truth to it. But if someone tells me to believe in a God and BOW DOWN TO HIM then I tell him to fuck off. I won't bow down to shit! Tho still I like to sit in temples and even bow down because I have been doing it traditionally and it's a habit.

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  • I guess it depends on the person. Some people are able to force themselves, some people (such as yourself) may not be.

    Personally my return for Christianity was a choice because it's what my mom wanted, but now that I've done more reading and research, a lot of what the Bible says does make sense.

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    • 9 d ago

      So could you choose to legitimately believe in Steve, the Almighty Penguin (Fish Be Around Him) and view him as the one and only God, who cracked the universe from his egg and brought forth intelligent beings from his own mind? Despite the fact that the Bible makes sense to you and not the Book of Steve?

    • 9 d ago

      Maybe. If that was my family's religion

  • Beliefs are a choice because God said that unbelief is worthy of spending eternity in Hell for. Unbelievers can not allow the Holy Ghost to convict them of their unbelief because they are Hell bent on staying in Satan's kingdom.

    If beliefs were not a choice, then people dying in a state of unbelief would unfairly receive Hell if Christianity is the truth.

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    • 5 d ago

      So you could make yourself believe in Steve, the Almighty Penguin (Fish be Around Him)?

    • 5 d ago

      Anybody can believe anything. Belief doesn't indicate reality.

      You can believe Jesus is the savior of mankind but choose not to.

    • 5 d ago

      You didn't answer my question. Could you choose, right now, to believe that Steve, the Almighty Penguin (Fish be Around Him) is the one true, existing God?

  • You can't force yourself to believe.

    Hence why some non-believers become theists, and some theists become atheists.

    Not because they chose, because its what they know for themselves at their core.

    My main family is religious. I was until I was 14.

    I just didn't feel it was true.

    Just like one feels they want a tattoo and another doesn't.

    Not that tattoos are wrong, or good, or analyzing after years of study and seminar lol - some of us were born with a genetic desire for body art - others were not.

    Who you really are in your core, will always come out eventually.

    And thats never a choice.

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  • If I'll find something totally irrational and unsubstantiated then why would i believe in that? The thing I'll believe in I'll not consider it as irrational. And yes i believe that you actually choose to what to believe in

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    • 9 d ago

      Right, but your answer sort of contradicts itself a little bit. If you can't believe in something irrational, then you can't choose to believe in it, right?

    • 9 d ago

      Nah, i believe in many things that is gonna sound irrational to you (if you're non muslim) but i still do believe in it. For example i believe that the God sent the horse and that horse brought Muhammad pbuh to the God amd the Horse had wings and was flying.
      That's something sounds irrational but i believe because i believe in miracles

  • I wouldn't really call my "beliefs" beliefs. There are ither facts proven by science or bullshit stories. I don't believe, I know what is real and what isn't.

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  • I agree with you, I also can't make myself believe that the Earth is flat or that god exists, or any other similar fairy tale... but some people are naive, and easily influenced by various "prophets", that's how religions were created.

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  • Believing in anything you want to believe becomes a fact for you even if it's a fiction for others, it's just the state of mind that makes you believe what you want to believe and it makes you confident about the fact even if there are no proof for your beliefs. And believing is a choice for sure

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    • 9 d ago

      So you could legitimately believe in Steve, the Almighty Penguin (Fish Be Around Him) and view him as the only and only God, who cracked the universe from his egg and brought forth intelligent beings from his own mind? All without feeling like you didn't actually believe it?

    • 9 d ago

      I am sorry I dont know much about Christianity because I am a Muslim and strongly believe in islam. Although Islam and Christianity are linked, in Islam Jesus is considered as messanger of god

    • 9 d ago

      That doesn't answer my question

  • Yes & no. Some things I believed when I was 20s, I believed because my parents programmed that into me & I wasn’t even consciously following that. Later on I consciously considered my beliefs & rejected some. Much later I came to the conclusion that my parents were right in many things even if they totally sucked at providing any rational reasons for their beliefs.

    Some study showed that being conservative/liberal could be genetic (i mean those terms in the broadest meanings not partisan stuff). A lot of how we approach life could be determined before birth.

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  • Belief is not a choice. You can try to lie to urself to believe in something but if you truly don't you will not fully believe in it.

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  • Its a sensitive topic so ill be careful. Its always a choice... in ky religion.. the essence of being Muslim is that we have been given free will.. if it wasn't a choice.. then the concept of heaven and hell would be meaningless

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    • 9 d ago

      So you could make yourself believe that God is a penguin called Steve who hatched the universe like a giant cosmic egg?

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    • 9 d ago

      @candaceperry sorry to hear that.. wish u all the best in ur learning.

    • 9 d ago

      @24brownish. I graduated from college and high school with flying colours.

  • No, you don't have a choice
    well you do but only between the choices your brain and DNA will present to you
    if someone likes creating music they can't really choose not to like it...

    most people don't choose their religion or beliefs... they are conditioned from their family as a child and simply grow up with that teaching feeling like its natural, its what feels comfortable

    --> however specifically what you are asking, id say you first need to explain what criteria are you using to determine your belief or disbelief?

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  • I believe it can be a subconscious choice for some people in that if a person feels that they need to "know" that something greater than themselves is watching over them (for instance) or just that SOMETHING is out there, they'll find something that sounds like what they're looking for, and they'll rationalize whatever inconsistencies there might be - if any - for it to fit into their preexisting idea of the world.

    I think a lot of people has that need - possibly myself included - and that it's often filled automatically by religious parents. Of course in those cases it wouldn't really be a choice since you're not old enough to realize in full what those ideas are that you're accepting.

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  • I believe in icecream and rocket science and it is a choice of mine. On the other hand I don't believe in Santa claus or god or any other people who can fly

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  • It's not always a choice. Most of the time, you grow up with the religion of your parents and/or close family. You may choose later in life to abandon that belief or hold on to it.

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  • Beliefs are not a choice unless you are in denial and refuse to accept evidence. Eg. Belief that Donald Trump is a good president despite all the evidence.

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  • Yeah, I choose to believe that I can't prove anything so I choose to ignore it all

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  • Belief is always a choice, no ifs, ands, or buts. But if you actually believe something, then at that time you must think that it is rational. If you thought it was irrational you wouldn't believe it. But a person can come to believe something that is totally irrational on its face, but slowly playing mind games with their own self, and slowly coming to fully believe it via circular reasoning. What you're essentially saying is that people have different genetic makeups that cause the different beliefs, which has no evidence to back it up.

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    • 8 d ago

      So you could choose to believe that leprechauns are real and voodoo works?

    • 8 d ago

      @slatyb : I could but I won't. I'll leave that to the uneducated people to believe in.

  • The way I see it, it is a choice but it can't inherently go against how you view the world, yet, how you view the world is also your own choice. Like believers who have found some spiritual safety in it for themselves and no amount of facts will persuade them to change their views, they consciously refuse. Just like you find some facts more appealing to you and seek out only those that further validate your belief, that's human nature. Obviously there are outside factors that influence this but in the end it's up to you.

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  • I'm religious, and if belief was not a choice, I would have been vegetarian.

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  • Not really, no.

    After all, we have distressing beliefs like the fact that we’ll all have to die. Yet we cannot just choose to not belief that.

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    • 9 d ago

      That's a good example actually, I hadn't thought of that! I'm not sure any of us could believe that death doesn't happen. Even if someone believes in an afterlife, they still face a phsyical death on Earth. Interesting!

  • It depends on personality. If a person bevlie in on God. She / he can't force people. to bevlie what she /he. bevlie.

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    • 9 d ago

      Its not about forcing other people to believe, this qurstio2 is about if you can force yourself to believe something

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    • 9 d ago

      I seen other people answer with better detial then you. just another exuse to me. Not. goig. go. help that doesn't understand how some people words it. I don't fucking care about region

    • 9 d ago

      That's fine!

  • A I guess? You can either choose to believe the truth of Jesus or the lie of everything else.

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    • 8 d ago

      You mean the truth of Steve, the Almighty Penguin (Fish Be Around Him) who tried to warn us all of Jesus the deceiver?

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    • 8 d ago

      Read the Book of Steve, sir.

    • 8 d ago

      Sounds like the book of Satan to me.

  • It's a choice. I belief that I don't belief in anything

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  • I never believed in gods, devils or heaven and hell

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  • Your own understanding of the universe is a choice you make

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  • I have a religion, and I choose to believe in it.

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    • 8 d ago

      But could you choose to believe in Thor in the same way you choose to believe in your current God?

    • 8 d ago

      I like Thor as a character but as a God, I don't believe he exists. I just believe there is one God, which we can't describe or put a face to, they just created us, and we're here.

    • 8 d ago

      So then you can't choose to believe in something you don't actually consider to be true, right?

  • Unconscious choice but still a choice

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    • 8 d ago

      How can you make a choice if it happens beyond your conscious mind?

    • 8 d ago

      Like picking your favorite colour, you don't just one day realize, I choose to like blue
      But somehow you are bound to this colour, first you realize it with your unconscious mind then your conscious mind decides if it makes sense or not
      You can deny it but somewhere in your heart you know it's true
      Sorry, I can't explain myself very well
      I believe sometimes beliefs are not always reasonable or at least we can't always see the reasons to believe in certain things but we still do

    • 8 d ago

      Let me try with another example. When you have a crush, it's entirely based on subconscious processes. You can't choose who you have a crush on, correct?
      So if your subconscious mind is responsible for your crushes and not your conscious mind, then you aren't making a choice about who you have a crush on.

      Choice is entirely the result of the conscious mind since we can't alter the decisions made by anything below that and therefore can't choose any differently.

  • Um of course?

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    • 9 d ago

      So could you choose to legitimately believe in Steve, the Almighty Penguin (Fish Be Around Him) and view him as the one and only God, who cracked the universe from his egg and brought forth intelligent beings from his own mind? Despite the fact that the Bible makes sense to you and not the Book of Steve?

    • 9 d ago

      Those things are not reasonable. If I believe the Earth is a sphere it's because it has been proven by science. Ultimately, it is a choice because I choose to reason it out.

    • 9 d ago

      So then it isn't a choice. For example, could you believe that the Earth is flat? You view the Earth being round as factual, and id imagine you can't choose to believe that it's flat.

      Strangely, you're actually agreeing with the point I made in the question but just from the other side. You're not choosing to believe that something is X or Y, you're choosing to view one approach as more rational and based in science than the other. The choice isn't with the belief, but with earlier aspects.

  • Belief is a choice

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    • 9 d ago

      So you could legitimately believe in Steve, the Almighty Penguin (Fish Be Around Him) and view him as the only and only God, who cracked the universe from his egg and brought forth intelligent beings from his own mind?

    • 9 d ago

      yeah

    • 9 d ago

      Can't argue with that

  • I think it’s enforced at young age.

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  • You can convince yourself of absolutely anything. Religion by default occupies the areas since hasn't fully explained yet. So you can suspend your disbelief in whatever direction you choose, cause there isn't conclusive proof yet.

    For example you can convince yourself that aliens don't exist and all the evidence is crazy people, or you can convince yourself that it is mathematically provable that there should be quite a lot of them. Until you meet little grey men you can swing yourself on either side depending on who you like more.

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