Do you think our beliefs are the result of choice?

Asked by: philochristos
  • Beliefs are all choice

    There is not one person that can rightfully say that their beliefs are not choice. Everyone has a choice in what they choose to believe. Some might say they are forced into situations or into believing certain things, but that's not true. Everyone has the free will to choose for themselves and what they decide to do is how they will be defined as a person.

  • Yes because what you believe is your choice.

    How can your beliefs not be a result of your choices if you choose what you believe? If you choose to be a Christian, and you believe in God, then that is your choice that you made to believe that their is a God. You choose to believe in things.

  • First define choice; Second that the environment influences are beliefs is information which is now part of our environment

    Choice is just choosing what you want to do. In that case belief is always a matter of choice. All you'd have to do is change your belief. That there are things that lead you to want to do that doesn't negate that it is a choice.

    To all those people in the other column citing influence of parents or environment or what have you, here's the thing what you are saying right now is part of your environment too and part of anyone's environment who sees it.

    That incites us to think about the endless list of positions we could possibly hold.

    The natural result is that people's beliefs will in the future align closer and closer to one's self-interest because with information saturation people become aware of all the various positions they could take and can compare and calculate, even strategically adopting different beliefs in different social contexts while keeping in mind what they really believe is going to happen or is happening while some beliefs which involve more abstract questions people will come to see as mere tools in a social game rather than something which has any sort of objectivity.

    The end result is ironically that exploitation of man qua man becomes almost impossible because people don't believe in belief anymore. The rich can not appeal to "morality" to get people to respect their "freedom" when it goes against their self-interests (no more getting poor people to altruistic vote against social programs because of "freedom"). Nor can the egalitarian absolutists appeal to "morality" to try to thrust a communist regime over people (most people wouldn't want to live such a constrained life).

    Politics turns into a form of a very happy yet nihilistic postmodern instrumentalism. Nihilistic, in the sense of there being no inherent value to anything but it's happy because we are the value-creators now, we no longer imagine constructs that hold us in bondage, instead the constructs are reconceptualized as tools we use in conceptualizing the material and social worlds and interacting with them.

  • Well technically yes

    Well first off I have a question. Why do you believe in what you believe today? Was it because of something in childhood that made you decide to be an atheist? People believe that there is no god because they decide to. The real question is why do you believe?

  • Yes, beliefs are defined by our choices.

    Since a young age, we are presented with a wide array of opinions and ideas. To determine which of these is right or wrong, we must choose ourselves. This in turn becomes our moral values and beliefs. We believe in what we want to and what we choose to believe in. When we are first born, we do not have systematic beliefs already within our minds. It is external influences that model our way of thinking. This is also the reason why everyone's beliefs are different. Because everyone has been exposed to different circumstances, they have made different choices and thus have different beliefs.

  • As conscious beings, yes of course

    People attempt the argument that belief is born from environment, and not from deliberate choice. Yes, to a miniscule degree, what we believe is somewhat contingent upon the best information we have at our disposal, but this does not mean that this is the case for belief in it's entirety. If this were so, science, the arts, literature, and culture itself would not have advanced being that it would be in want of an impetus for change to occur. Conscious and deliberate testing of preconceptions and traditions has thus far proven itself the necessary impetus in this case.

  • Choice is not ours

    Choices are the result of our neurons' work, which are the result of molecules interacting. In spite of quantum mechanics, which work on a really low level, on a molecular level movement is pretty predictable given enough information. Our brains behave like a very complex machine, and in spite of emergent properties like self consciousness our choices are still determined by interactions between molecules, molecules and more molecules, none of them individually making us who we are, all of them resulting in an illuded mind thinking that it has control over its own existence.

  • I didn't even choose to be born

    As an adult one may reasonably assume they have a certain degree of self-determination, this is certainly true however all of your choices must inevitably come from some degree of pre-teaching, when you inform someone they are a bad person, is that really your choice to believe or did someone tell you what they are doing is bad. I think the former, especially as the very action of speaking is taught and thus your very words have meaning only to those who are told what they mean

  • We don't up to a point

    Sure there is a point where we do but the environment around us, even if it is sub-conscience takes the choice away from us. If you look at religion then the majority of people are the religion of the parents, the religion they grew up with. Also in many third world countries people have no choice to believe what the higher authority believes without fear of persecution, sometimes death.

  • No Such thing as Free Will

    There is no such thing as free will, and thus we do not choose our beliefs or actions. This includes what we call 'moral' choices, and thus, there is no such thing as morality, since an essential component of morality is free will. We certainly do not attribute moral qualities to actions performed by robots, for example.
    We are composed of the same elements as robots, computers, rocks, the ocean, etc. We do not ascribe choice or free will to any of these things, so what is different about humans that we have choice? There is no evidence of free will except we have an illusion that we are making choices every day. When a computer crashes or does something unexpected, noone attributes it to free will. Everyone comes up with an explanation, such as the hardware failed, or there is a bug in the program. There is no reason to think humans are any different.

  • Beliefs are always imposed.

    History is witness that every belief has been imposed on the nations. Now these are cultural not philosophical. My father is muslim thats why i am muslim. I think beliefs are against the logic and we can not solve any problem without logic and scientific approach. That is the reason we are passing from a war of extremism in different shapes. So we are human first then we are follower due to may social pressures and circumstances. Regards

  • Of course not

    You're either convinced of something or you're not. You can't just believe it because you want to. Want proof? Try convincing yourself that you can fly. Not only that but you're unintentionally arguing that people (yourself included) only believe what they want to believe. I don't think you would support such a notion.

  • Our choices can influence our beliefs, but we don't know how until we experience the results of the choice.

    For instance if I did not believe in evolution, and I refused to read or learn about it. In a sense I am choosing to keep the belief I have, however I did not out of the blue decide that I believe evolution was false.

    Most likely I had a competing belief system, like creationism, ingrained in me since birth and I hold that belief so strongly that any idea that competes with it is automatically wrong.

    To further address the topic I will simply say there is simply no time between the moment you think something is true, and the moment you have formed a new belief for you to make a choice.

  • A simple experiment,.

    Try to believe in Santa for 5 min.
    Can you choose to actually believe in Santa ?
    If yes then beliefs are a choice. If no then beliefs are not a choice.
    It is that simple. I did not choose to be an atheist I simply came to the realization that the reasons I was a christian were invalid.

  • There is no choice

    Determinism is scientifically evident. We are conscious of a fraction of our brain's activity. All of our behaviour can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge. You cannot know what you will think or do until a thought or intention arises, and by then, your impulses have already caused action.

  • Its the other way around

    Choices are the results of our beliefs. It is our choice to believe what it is that you believe. But there is the innate where we were born into an environment where we are born to believe in something because of our culture or family. We make choices based upon what we believe in. If we believe that something is wrong, then we choose not to follow that path. If we believe that accomplishing a certain task is right, then we would choose to complete that task. But if we started with no belief in a certain matter and we follow through with that, others may say or convince us that it was a false choice.

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BadLogic says2013-11-27T14:08:39.143
We do choose our beliefs. However, we do not choose the factors that go into our being that determines what we will end up choosing.

Though it is a matter of choice, that choice is not free. You can, and will, only choose what you are going to choose, as you are made and shaped to choose. If that makes any sense.
simpleman says2013-11-30T00:45:16.227
I must digress. To eliminate or diminish the quality or nature of free will and assess the ability to make deliberate choices is an intillectual escapism. This is a roundabout way of avoiding the consequences of accountability, not so much in reality as much as only in an illusioned self perception.
BadLogic says2013-11-30T07:47:01.390
I feel that determinism is much more direct than roundabout. By comparison, free will is rather floaty and vague, and I don't see how it serves to further our understanding of human behavior. The logic behind our choices.

What should be considered far more important than finding a basis for blame/praiseworthiness, would be a total understanding behind the "why"s that go into the choices we make. If we can map out the function that goes into our behavior, we'll be able to effectively remove the very need for blame and praise. Simply put together the right ingredients for a person to make the right choices, and we'll never have to worry about people doing wrong ever again.

Unless... Blame and praise are the very things that ultimately govern our choices. In which case, even if it's unfounded, presuming "free will" would be necessary in maintaining/suppressing desirable/undesirable behavior, to the best of our capacity to do so.

Though that will never be perfect.