Short of demonstrable evidence, are there any other good, justifiable reasons for belief?
I've often found comfort to be belief's greatest contribution. Every time I go to a funeral I can instantly understand why it makes people feel better to believe their loved one is in a better place. Similarly, it makes bad events in the world (of which there are many) seem somehow justified because they are part of a plan. Innocent people die, but it's part of god's plan and they will be cared for in heaven. It's like a security blanket to protect against the unjust and the cruel aspects of this world.
As an atheist, I've learned to accept these things as the way the world works, and to be thankful for what I still have. But I can see how belief provides that sense of comfort to theists.
The same would apply if you're referring to belief in the non-religious sense. Someone believes their loved one, who is in a coma, will pull through. Not because evidence supports it, but because it's too hard to think of the alternative.
I agree that beliefs can be a source of comfort but I've never heard of someone coming to a belief because it's comforting.
I agree MT.
JM, I agree that no-one could take themselves seriously if they believed something for being comforting, however, if something is comforting, we generally bias our thinking towards finding evidence for it. Check out motivated reasoning.
In foster care I encountered a girl who was likely saved (literally) by becoming a believer. She was always suicidal, had attempted to kill herself several times, and would have probably ended up succeeding if my foster parent at the time wouldn't have instilled the belief of the Christian God into her,. Something about belief made her happy again. She completely changed. She had been horribly abused for years and had lost faith in herself. Since she couldn't get that self esteem back up, the belief in a God was her reason to continue living. Anytime someone can gain that type of a positive I would say it is justifiable, so long as that belief is only for their benefit and isn't used to dictate others.
great answer, I hadn't thought of it that way.
Just the opposite happened to me. I was suicidal for years believing God was the reason for so much pain in the world. The day I looked up and stopped believing in God was the day I became happy again. I accepted the universe as is.
I'm similar austinstar, however I do my best to understand others and if it can help them, wonderful!
You trust God more than you trust man. Let's look at Noah. He built an ark in the middle of the desert. Logically that doesn't make sense. Normally you build boats in the water, not in the desert. Noah knew that God knew what he was doing and built the ark in the desert. Then the flood came.
Noah didn't have demonstrable evidence that building an ark in the desert was a good idea, but he held onto his belief and was saved.
All of that is entirely dependent on whether or not the story is true, however.
Noah is a mythological character. Noah did not build and sail an ark. The story of Noah's Ark is allegorical.
"Belief" is a concept embraced by people who need a source, other than their own will, to help control their own destinies. In fact, there are many people who choose "belief" over their own will.
I'm interested in knowing what you consider "demonstrable evidence."
"Belief" is the absence of demonstrable evidence.
I would say that "faith" is belief in something without evidence. I don't necessarily see belief and faith as the same thing in all circumstances, and I think trust is separate from both as well.
I think that "belief" encompasses "faith", "optimism", "pessimism", etc.. I cannot speak intelligently on "trust" because I've never experienced it.
I am still interested in an example of demonstrable evidence regarding "belief."
No. Belief in fantasies coupled with efforts to enact those fantasies in the real world is a problem to be solved. Belief is counter to reason, critical thinking, science and have no place in the modern world.
It seems as though some people really need that crutch. They also need some kind of guide to let them know that their life has meaning. Another thing is that 'morality' thing. I wonder sometimes if people didn't have "God" and the 10 Commandments if they wouldn't go stark raving mad. Religion gives people a set of rules to live by. I don't understand why we can't all just get along, but some people need to be told how to act for some reason. I for one, think the "do unto others as you would have done unto you" is the only sufficient rule to live by. However, it has been demonstrated that some people truly lack empathy toward others, so they need help deciding how to treat other people.
Also, it's almost impossible to get rid of social pressure and escape the environment in which you were raised.
Some folk find logic and reason sufficient for them, others are capable of perceiving the spiritual aspects of existence and therefore capable of holding a relationship with God.
Once someone has experienced the power fo God at work in the physical world, it's impossible NOT to have faith, that faith can be shaken at times, but when they recount the miracles they have witnessed, it's restored.
Most real believers (as opposed to those who use their 'Christianity' to further Churchianity) will know that we are spiritual beings temporarily inhabiting a physical plain of existence, and that we have the capacity, and obligation, to exert that spiritual power invested in us to change the physical world and bring it under the authority of Gods Kingdom.
Not having the understanding of this is fine, for reason and logic are also an acceptable 'faith' to hold, provided that those holding it can agree that and accept that others do have spiritual abilities that they do not share.
Russ Brand says it well:
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