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coberst

What is the Destructive Force of Belief?

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?

A brief perusal of history manifests for us the destructive force of belief. Technology increases the destructive force that we humans have; plus the obvious fact that technology changes our environment with lightening speed, whereas our intellectual sophistication is stuck in the mud of our ‘beliefs without wonder’.

The word “belief” has many definitions; we can develop a scale of belief that meanders between the extremes of casual guesswork about both mundane and important matters to beliefs that we willingly live, die, and kill for.

‘I believe that it is going to be good weather for the picnic’ to ‘I believe that the planet is getting warmer fast’. Beliefs at this level are about matters of little or great consequence but the belief itself is not about certainty but is about matters still uncertain.

The content of our belief does not determine its place on our ‘belief scale’. It is our degree of certainty regarding our belief, which determines its position on the scale.

Belief systems are often characterized by an absolute certainty of truth by many of their members. A sense of certainty plus a sense of being surrounded by treacherous unbelievers are characteristic of many belief systems. Nazism and Marxism contained these features; there is no circumstance or situation in history that cannot be fitted into their ideological views.

The mention of Nazism and Marxism as examples is not meant to imply that all belief systems are uniformly dangerous. These systems of belief run the whole spectrum from the trivial and harmless to unrestricted evil; from Boy Scouts, to partisan politicians, to Civil War. The important point is that these systems of belief can be exceedingly powerful and the membership is often dedicated to exploiting political action to achieve the group’s selfish goals.

“The act of belief is always an act against; it requires an opponent who holds the contrary belief.”

If we (Americans) watch the verbal ping-pong game between the Republicans and Democrats we will quickly comprehend that you can’t have one without the other. If there is no itch to scratch who would be scratching? If there were no socialism what bogyman would capitalism use to define capitalism? Could Protestants exist without a Catholic Church?

True believers are dedicated to the destruction of the unbelievers. Because belief is always against unbelief, it then is in fact unbelief. The believer and the unbeliever are two sides to the same coin. Each belief is defined by its opponent’s belief. “Both sides depend on each other to know what they believe…belief marks the line at which our thinking stops…

Quotes from The Religious Case Against Belief by James P. Carse

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This is a great post coberst. It's basically the Law of Identity, if A=A, then A can't equal "not A". It's a simple concept but it has a lot of profound implications people don't even think about.

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Posted (edited)

This is a great post coberst. It's basically the Law of Identity, if A=A, then A can't equal "not A". It's a simple concept but it has a lot of profound implications people don't even think about.

Well said, I had not thought about it in that manner.

“Believers stop thinking at a designated line only when they refuse to see their shared dependence with disbelievers.” Only through this willful ignorance can we acknowledge that we have stopped real dialogue with others. We shield our beliefs from our self as well as from others. At this point we have willfully passed from a conversational to a declarative mode. At this point the believer will “just say no”, Critical Thinking ceases. At this point belief becomes ideology.

‘Just saying no’ occurs when both sides draw the boundaries between belief and unbelief in tandem. Such a line can hold only “if they did not step across it to look back at themselves from another perspective…they invented a division within a shared knowledge that need not exist.” Empathy cannot exist while the demarcation line exists.

The object of thought is not the enemy to both the believer and unbeliever but the greater danger rests in the ‘way of thinking’. The fact that republicans per se lust after tax cuts or that democrats per se lust after governmental intervention is not the problem; the problem is in their respective ‘way of thinking’. The ‘way of thinking’ is the enemy that must be destroyed. “There is no greater danger to belief than “false” thinking.”

Belief without thought is no belief at all. It is not thinking per se that is the problem it is a certain style of thinking that is the enemy. The believer must be constantly thinking about ways to counteract the actions of the nonbeliever and thus must be constantly on their intellectual toes. It is crossing the demarcation line that must be uppermost in the believers mind. Within these boundaries thinking must wander.

Edited by coberst

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“Believers stop thinking at a designated line only when they refuse to see their shared dependence with disbelievers.” Only through this willful ignorance can we acknowledge that we have stopped real dialogue with others. We shield our beliefs from our self as well as from others. At this point we have willfully passed from a conversational to a declarative mode. At this point the believer will “just say no”, Critical Thinking ceases. At this point belief becomes ideology.

I think this is true also. Ideals and principles are not something which are defined solely as the group of people who embrace them, but rather they are ideals which lives in people minds. If we start to categorize people into groups then we lose focus on the abstract ideals that are really the uniting factor.

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