Are all beliefs irrational, or mainly religious beliefs?

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  1. profile image0
    Baileybearposted 12 years ago

    NOTE: This is posted on the PHILOSOPHY forum, not the religious forum.

    Beliefs - I don't want to know what your beliefs are; I'm interested in why people defend their beliefs, how they get their beliefs and if any beliefs are rational?

    eg is 'believing' in electricity a rational belief, or is it rational knowledge & understanding based on real observations that support the theory of moving electrons through a conductor.

    Are morals irrational because prescribed by religion (based on irrational beliefs). 

    Ethics and values - can be combination of irrational and rational, or can they be completely rational?

    1. Felynx profile image60
      Felynxposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Simple. Bieliefs aren't rational without any evidence to back them up. A belief with real evidence would then become an understanding and not a belief. As the christians say, "Have faith", because they have nothing else to base their religion on. Not to bash it. This doesnt make it irrational because from their perspective it isn't, their religion is merely their own reality, which is relative.
      Ethics and values are completely based on the perspective of the individual. Many might agree on similar ethics and values, but there is no right or wrong but for what we percieve for ourselves, therefore making someones ethics and values neither right or wrong.

    2. Shahid Bukhari profile image61
      Shahid Bukhariposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      In the Secular version of human Sensibilities ... only Science, is Rational ... though Sciences are based in grossly Irrational  Concepts ... Theroies... based in Insane, Myths and Philosophies ... 

      Thus, human Experiential, in Secular Belief, including the Religious, is considered Irrational.

      Though, The Truth of Reality, Is ... That there is much more to Existential Reality than, the Reasoned Scientific Beliefs can ever behold.

      1. Mark Knowles profile image60
        Mark Knowlesposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        That would be the lack of rational thought involved.

        You are - of course - suggesting there is something wrong with irrational thought. Which is why religious people attack other ways of reaching decisions I suppose. As you are doing. Just because you do not understand science - this does not make it irrational or insane.

        Saying such a thing is irrational and insane. wink

      2. profile image0
        Baileybearposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        maths is not science; yet maths would be considered rational?

    3. Ruben Rivera profile image60
      Ruben Riveraposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I think all beliefs are like a survival instinct, so rational, irrational, it's all in the eye of the beholder.

      1. Mark Knowles profile image60
        Mark Knowlesposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Odd how many people with irrational beliefs systems attempt to justify it by suggesting this. Funny really.

    4. maticmagister profile image61
      maticmagisterposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      All beliefs are irrational no matter how grand they seem in your mind. You do not believe that you have a computer in front of you right now, no, you know that for a fact. Believing in something or for that matter anything  is simply not knowing, then why would i blindly believe in something if don't even know if it is TRUE. If i knew something with 100% certainty that would not be a believe anymore but a fact right.

    5. thisisoli profile image72
      thisisoliposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I think the first thing to point out is that the word belief is flexible.  Many people from religion point out when a person says they believe in evolution, claiming it is 'belief' however it is a pedantic association of a failure to follow the full context of a persons expressed opinion.

      However I think the simplest way of explining this is that what I 'believe' is what can be proven by fact.  Some may say that if it is proven by fact then it no longer requires belief, however belief is simply a way of describing what a person holds true. I hold true what is proven by observation and experimentation.  If by some chance Religion is proven to be true then I will accept that change,

      However religion has often proven to be untrue in a wide range of aspects, and those with a religious belief seemingly fail to accept these changes to alter their belief.

      This may of course just be my opinion, but I believe it is correct wink

      Someone recently posted this youtube video, which I also think offers a rather fantastic explaination.

    6. Shahid Bukhari profile image61
      Shahid Bukhariposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Rationality and Truth, are incompatible ... In fact, Reason is the mother of Doubt. For in Being, Reason has little to do, with Reality.

      Religions, are local interpretations, of The Word ...Divine. Thats why I ask you to follow The Ordained Way of Life, than follow the TV evangelist's doctrine.

    7. Cagsil profile image76
      Cagsilposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Regardless of where you posted this forum thread- religion will be brought up. lol
      Because, over the course of time, people were lead to believe a belief is something related to truth. Which is false to begin with.

      Truth is True. Something True is not Truth. Something True is considered Fact. Fact and Truth are not the same either. Facts change as reality is explored and more knowledge is discovered.

      There are very few truths for which could be universal throughout all of humanity, but will most likely be distorted by those who don't want truth revealed.
      A belief in electricity? Foolishness gone awry. Electricity can be explained thoroughly, as to how and why it happens. No belief required.
      Morals cannot be irrational. Morals are tied to good and bad actions. Is a bad action irrational? Is a good action irrational? 

      Is a bad action irrational? No, the person who commits it has already rationalized it themselves and why they must.

      Is a good action irrational? No, never, because something good cannot be irrational.
      First off, Ethics and values? These are the same thing, are they not. Ethics are valued rules to follow, ethics provide value to businesses that use ethics in their overall strategy.

      Values? Means, what exactly? Rules to live by? Values should give value to your life and value other people's life.

      Not all beliefs are irrational. Some beliefs are irrational, solely based on the foundation for which they were formed to begin with.

  2. Misha profile image62
    Mishaposted 12 years ago

    Yep, all of them. Good government, global worming, saint google, etc. Even when the theory of evolution is a belief, it is irrational. One needs to actually understand the thing for it to graduate from beliefs into knowledge. smile

    1. mistyhorizon2003 profile image89
      mistyhorizon2003posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Gosh Misha, what is 'Global Worming'? It sounds like something a vet should be doing on a massive scale!!! wink

      1. Misha profile image62
        Mishaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        He-he, I knew you'd like it tongue It's what you thought it was, an intentional typo smile

  3. habee profile image93
    habeeposted 12 years ago

    Any types of beliefs can be irrational. A pal of mine is married to an awful man who has treated her like crap for years. Yet she still thinks he'll change. After all these years, I consider that an irrational belief.

  4. profile image0
    gobanglaposted 12 years ago

    Blind belief is irrational in my view. You have to have a good reason to believe what you believe. If a moral prescribed by religion is based on "because God said so" then it isn't rational. But people will still disagree on various ethical and moral issues, even when held rationally. Think of support or opposition to legalizing drugs.

  5. Pandoras Box profile image61
    Pandoras Boxposted 12 years ago

    Way to bypass my filters Bailey! LOL

    I think there are alot of irrational beliefs out there.

    Fear of common spiders, I personally can't stand flying. I have to drink copiously every time I get on a plane. I swear it just terrifies the heck out of me. I should probably research it some, maybe if I better understood the science and technology of it all I'd be more comfortable.

    But as it is I have a no-doubt very irrational belief that all the little but extremely relevant screws and rivets MUST be coming undone.

    Soul-mates, irrational belief.

    Unconditional love, irrational.

    A stubborn insistence that someone loves you when they don't, irrational, and you see that one ALL the time.

    Yeah it ain't all religious. People are silly.

  6. AskAshlie3433 profile image61
    AskAshlie3433posted 12 years ago

    I believe in what I choose to believe in. I like to have proof. Not all proof is the seeing is believing quote. I like to believe in my heart, my soul. I am not religious. There are just some things out there that just can't be explained.

  7. barranca profile image79
    barrancaposted 12 years ago

    This is a central question of epistemology.  The classic formulation is Knowledge= Justified, True, Belief.   Opinion= Unjustified, True or False, Belief.  The problem focuses on what constitutes a fully justified belief.  Two basic responses are foundationalism and coherentism.  A belief can have a chain of reasons for holding that eventually extend back to basic beliefs that need no justification or are self-evidently true.  OR a belief can derive its justification by being coherently consistent with the other beliefs that a believer holds.  If only one of his beliefs is true and they are all consistent, then all are true.  One derives one's confidence in the system of one's beliefs.  Under coherentist philosophy, the possibility is always out there, that one's entire system of belief is false.

  8. SpanStar profile image60
    SpanStarposted 12 years ago

    without the faculty of reason; deprived of reason.
    2. without or deprived of normal mental clarity or sound judgment.
    3. not in accordance with reason; utterly illogical: irrational arguments.

    having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense: a calm and rational negotiator.
    3. being in or characterized by full possession of one's reason; sane; lucid: The patient appeared perfectly rational

    [ ]

    For me when we talk about rational we call in to question by what standards are we judging something to be  rational since it's been proven that people can become irrational over lots of things.  Certainly people can and still become irrational of having or possesing lots of money.  People can become irrational of children beauty pageants, sports fans can become irrational over teams or players.  Irrational as I see it crosses a lot of boundries.

    I've been told if someone talks to some people in a mental institution they will find people displaying a rational view of life as they see it which is the not the live out side the building.

  9. superwags profile image66
    superwagsposted 12 years ago

    I'm not sure there should be a differenciation between belief and religious belief. It all falls under the same catergory if you're meaning to say "irrational belief".

    The purpose of science is test our beliefs or hypotheses, then throw out those which do not work; keeping and adding to what we know by more theoretical or practical approaches.

    If you hold something to be true after it has been shown not to be, then it becomes an irrtional belief. There's a lot that feels "right" from a human point of view, but actually turns out not be "right" in a scientific sense once it is investigated.

  10. Jerami profile image59
    Jeramiposted 12 years ago

    Being rational is not a state of being,  like ...
      being intelligent, being tall, being pretty, etc

      Being rational is an action, like counting pennies, sitting, walking, running. 
      You do not become rational. There is no state of completion where being rational is concerned.

      A person may become quite able in their pursuit of being rational. 
      But I do not think that anyone can be good at being rational in all areas of interest.

      There will always be this nagging thing called YEA – BUTs
    Just when you think that you have it all figured out, here comes a YEA-BUT.
      It won't go away. 
      So I guess it would be rational to just ignore them.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image60
      Mark Knowlesposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      This is why religion propagates itself. People prepared to ignore the "yea buts" LOL

      All irrational beliefs ignore the yeah buts - this is what makes them irrational - be it religious or not.

      1. Jerami profile image59
        Jeramiposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I knew you were going to say that.

           I think that everyone even the most rational people have many yea buts that they ignore from time to time.
           You rationalize it by telling yourself that,  that particular “yea but”  doesn't apply to the particular topic of interest.

           How can ALL facts appear to be revalent to the topic at hand, especially when attempting to formulate an absolute truth?  Which I think is impossible.

        1. FlyGerm profile image57
          FlyGermposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          These kind of conversations end up mixing up the vagarity of common words like "belief".  This particular subject has been well addressed in philosophy IMO.  This major difference is in "belief as creed" and "belief as estimate".  To really clear the matter up you'd be better of converting conditions to symbollic logic.

          In terms of common points many have made the distinction that "belief in" versus "belief" indicates a different semantic meaning.  "Belief in" indicates a much more irrational decision to de facto agree with something for it's own sake rather than "believe" something sounds likely (or not).

          For most who are *attempting* to be rational a belief usually has at least a cursory logical premise or basis in utility--this is rational considering the limitations of information, even if the basis is later disproved.  When it doesn't have such a basis then for sure it is irrational.

          Having "yea buts" doesn't mean you won't address them given they become important to your thinking.  That further points out that the use of "belief" cannot indicate a creed or inviolate position if it is to be rational.

  11. kephrira profile image61
    kephriraposted 12 years ago

    I don't think beliefs are always irrational because we all need to have beleifs and act on them. As an example: if you were starving and didn't know for certain in which direction the closest food was, it would be entirely rational to formulate a belief about what you thought was most likley and then act on that. It would be irrational to refuse to have a belief and just sit there and starve.

    We all need to have beliefs about things. What is irrational is when belief is given a high value in itself, and people then hold on to their beliefs out of personaly preference regardless of the evidence.

    1. thisisoli profile image72
      thisisoliposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      It would be rational to take a guess at where food might be.  It would be irrational to believe you knew were food was because you were hungry, it would infact be delusional.

  12. SpanStar profile image60
    SpanStarposted 12 years ago

    Irrationality in our society is perpetuated in all sorts of ways even from those we presume to be intelligent people.

    The idea of taking DNA in an effort to resurrect dinosaurs is irrational to me yet their have been scientists trying to do that very thing.

    Perhaps people under pressure from thelr work schedule can be forced into a state of irrational behavior such as well-known actors having put aside a dish of doughnuts only to discovers that one doughnut has been taken from their plate resulting in them being upset to the point of throwing things around all because of that one doughnut.

    From my perspective the greatest example of irrational behavior are very young children.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image60
      Mark Knowlesposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Has their bean? Dear me. sad

  13. kallini2010 profile image82
    kallini2010posted 12 years ago

    Belief A is true.
    Belief B is true.
    Belief C: A and B are mutually exclusive.

    Person D: holds Belief A and Belief B as true and does not see/accept contradiction.

    Person E: holds Belief C as true and makes a conclusion that either Belief A or Belief B is not true, or both.

    Both Person D and Person E are rational and logical.

    Person D believes that Person E is not rational.
    Person E believes that Person D is not rational.

    Person D concludes that the only way to persuade Person E is to rage war and kill the bastard.  He is still rational, when there is no person to persuade, there in no problem.

    Person E believes that it is possible to communicate with and either persuade Person D that either Belief C is true or it does not really matter because they can coexist holding contradictory beliefs.

    In the meantime, Person F (!) corrects spelling mistakes of both Person D and Person E, and Person G writes a philosophical treatise on human nature.

    You may continue...

    1. Tony DeLorger profile image65
      Tony DeLorgerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Belief, not related to any religious dogma, is simply a conclusion that we come to having evaluated the evidence. In that sense belief becomes truth, or ast least what we perceive as truth. Truth after all is subjective and in a way in flux because our perception of it changes, through experience and further evidence. Therefore for me, belief is not irrational, on the contrary it is a rational conclusion after we have evaluated and made a decision of whether or not something is valid.


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