Belief Systems

Do You Believe In ________?

“Belief drives behavior, but often belief is not based on experience and so does not reach or reflect the intimately lived dimension of human existence. Indeed, the very nature of belief precludes the necessity of experience. Belief does not merely dispense with the evidence of experience, it can go further and deny the evidence of experience. And it often does. Therein lies the power of belief. Belief is motivation by reliance on an assigned version of reality or an assigned version of what might be imagined. Ultimately, the problem introduced by belief is not a matter of believing versus non-believing, because annulment of the will to believe is not possible. The true conflict here is between believing and learning. “The unexamined belief is not worth holding.” True enough, but the examined belief may not be worth holding, either. A great many beliefs, once they are examined, may prove to be worthless as indicators of truth or guides to experience, although they may serve to define identity and confer a sense of belonging.”

“Some things are proposed to have certain properties which may be
 logically inconsistent, and hence these things can be proved not to exist .”

Dr. Niclas Berggren from “A Note on the Concept of Belief”

“I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe 
and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right.” —George W. Bush, in Rome, July 22, 2001

Belief  – ‘mental acceptance of a proposition, statement, or fact, as true, on the ground of apparent authority, which does not have to be based on actual fact. ”  Assent to a proposition or affirmation, or the acceptance of a fact, opinion, or assertion as real or true, without immediate personal knowledge; reliance upon word or testimony; partial or full assurance without positive knowledge or absolute certainty; persuasion; conviction; confidence; as, belief of a witness; the belief of our senses a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without proof [syn: dogma, tenet]

“A Note on The Concept of Belief”

“We may choose in any evaluative process of thought to adopt the set of criteria which we later
use to judge fact claims. But the central thing to note here is that by rational people these criteria 
are not chosen to correspond to what beliefs they wish to hold. They choose the criteria a priori 
that in some sense fulfill their need to know things about the world in the best manner. They do not choose the criteria a priori that lead to certain, specific beliefs: the criteria are general and universal and are adopted to be applicable to all judgments of fact claims. Being able to choose irrationally is not the same as wanting to do so … the criterion of faith is about accepting fact claims without or even in opposition to available evidence.

In short, it is an irrational criterion to use for gathering knowledge.”

Why is it irrational? The reason is that this criterion for judging fact claims is unable to discriminate between competing fact claims in a rational manner (i.e., by discussing evidence pro et con). In other words, it leads to un-falsifiable fact claims.
If you accept the fact claim “God exists” without or even in opposition to evidence, then how can you then demonstrate that the mutually exclusive fact claims “Allah exists”, “Zeus exists”, “Krishna exists” and “Thor exists” are false? You cannot. The general problem with choosing to use an irrational criterion for assessing fact claims is that one is not concerned with the issue of truth but rather some other issues, such as feeling good. This is not done on a conscious level of thought.

A related problem with the Christian process of belief formation is the tendency to disregard all evidence which is contrary to the desired belief. In other words, it is not just that the criterion for judging facts accepts beliefs without or even in opposition to all available evidence, it is also the case that all available evidence is not taken into consideration. The wish to retain a certain belief – that an external God exists – for pragmatic reasons, rather than truth reasons, is evidently so strong as to override all rationality concerns.”

Dr. Niclas Berggren from “A Note on the Concept of Belief”

Creation of Belief Systems

“Within social structures, social interaction takes place. This social interaction is presented in the form of text/discourse, which is then cognizized according to a cognitive system/memory. This “system/memory” consists of short-term memory, in which “strategic process,” or decoding and interpretation takes place. Long-term memory, however, serves as a holder of “socio-cultural knowledge,” which consists of knowledge of language, discourse, communication, persons, groups and events-existing in the form of “scripts.” “Social (group) attitudes” also reside within long-term memory and provide further decoding guides. Each of these “group attitudes” can represent an array of ideologies which combine to create one’s own personal ideology which conforms to one’s identity, goals, social position, values and resources.

This “process” of framing “beliefs and opinions,” say Van Djik, that benefit one particular group, is not final. “Some people may be forced or persuaded, socially or economically” to go against their “best interests”

-from Critical Discourse Analysis,  ©1995 Brett Dellinger

Credibility Trust conferred on the source of a belief, rather than in the substance of the belief itself. Assigned belief A belief acquired from one’s familial, cultural and religious background and accepted like a task or role assigned to the believer, rather than chosen on a voluntary basis.
 Blind belief: refuses to be questioned or examined. Contrast to open belief.
 Compound belief: combines various modes of belief in the same syndrome.
 Conflicted belief: contains contradictory and opposing elements that confuse the believer.
 Conflictual belief: compels the believer into antagonism toward others.
 Consensual belief: held by consent rather than chosen with deliberation. We consent to believe what others believe. Here the primary appeal of the belief may consist in the fact that many others hold it. The mainstream religions of the world depend on consensus rather than upon individual deliberation and choice. To consent to believe something is not to choose to believe it, rather the join company with those who believe it. The primary accent of consensual belief is inclusion in a group.
 Corporate belief: belongs to a program or agenda and serves the ends proposed in that program or agenda.
 Default belief: held due to lack of considering any alternatives.
 Deliberated belief: chosen by a process of considering and evaluating options. Synonymous with aligned belief.

Dereasoning: The process separating the reasons and conditions for adopting a belief from its truth value.
 Dereasoned belief: deprived of its original properties by the process of dereasoning, i.e., isolating the conditions and reasons for holding a belief and thus reducing it to its inherent truth value, if it has any. Dissenting belief: deliberately opposed to conventional and established beliefs.
 Doctrinal belief: based on predefined dogmas or doctrines. Contrast to intuitive belief.
 Ethical belief: relates to a way of behaving or prescribes a code of behavior.
 Extremist belief: enacted in uncompromising or fanatical behavior. Often associated with violence, if not directly used as a justification for violence.
 Fundamentalist belief: received from a tradition and not allowed to be altered or questioned.
 Heretic belief: chosen in direct opposition to a widely accepted belief.
 Humanist belief: based on assumptions that assume human intelligence as the best author of convictions, without need of attributing beliefs and rules for living to a superhuman agency. 
Ideological belief: expressed in ideological form, that is, in a systematic body of abstractions or formal ideas.
 Imperative belief: stated in a flat non-narrative form.
 Latent belief: held but not enacted.
 Ludic belief: able to be modified by playing with it.

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LSD MAGAZINE – ISSUE THREE
Weapons of Mass Creation – 23rd December 2009