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General Discussion
Belief is NOT a choice

I have come across MANY theists that will tell me things like "Why don't you just believe in GOD in case he IS real". I have always responded to that by stating that they must be confused on what 'belief' means. Belief is NOT a choice. It is a reaction to information. I cannot simply CHOOSE to believe in a god regardless of whether I WANT to believe in a god or not. I could pretend to believe in god, and I could even live my life as a Christian or some sort of theist, but I would be lying to myself. That is ofcourse, unless information of some sort 'convinced' me that Christianity is the way. But once again, I have NO choice in the matter. My beliefs...just like everyone else's, are not optional. I can choose to do research which may sway my belief, but once again, after having discovered 'new' evidence, I would have NO choice but to believe whatever it is that I am convinced of. This can be PROVEN by a simply experiement, if anyone disagrees. Anyone?

If the Christians want atheists to believe why don't they present evidence for what they believe instead of just wanting the atheists to believe because it may be true? If there were no god would it be a considerable waste of time to doggedly pursue something for which there is no real evidence?

Knowledge is a fact-based concept, whereas belief is an opinion-based concept. In order to believe the believers do not have to be given facts, proof or first hand knowledge. Since nobody can have any real knowledge of the supernatural a belief in it is without any evidence. Some "beliefs" are without hard physical evidence and must therefore be considered unfalsifiable, currently outside the methodology of scientific investigation to confirm or disprove, and are therefore more ideological and metaphysical than scientific in nature. If a belief is not based upon a testable theory some people choose not to believe it, which is not immoral. It is only immoral if you are an indoctrinated persistent follower of balderdash.

However, Christians are not confused about what belief means; they are confused about what non-belief means. Non-belief means that some people do not think that they have any basis for a belief in the supernatural. What evidence do creationists have? If the knowledge they are offering is real and genuine, why take stands against science and rational thought.

With so many different beliefs around the world and concepts of why wouldn't god say the same thing to everyone? Why doesn't "god" have to stand up to the same scrutiny as other deities?

If a teaching is real it must be based upon a testable hypothesis. A belief in it can not be based on threats or bribes (burning in hell, or having faith without proof) are not testable. Nobody has ever seen god other than a very few and really crazy people.

The writings of prominent secular historians living in the same place and at the same time didn't write about events recorded in the bible. In the Catholic Church, the Bible is the Douay Bible consisting of 73 books. In the Protestant church only the 66 books that were approved by the Synod of Dordrecht in 1618 are in what is known as the Authorized King James Bible. Though there is no specific list or accounting of all the books that made up the complete Bible in scripture, there are over 20 books mentioned in the Bible, but not found there. This is proof that many have been removed and there is evidence that many more fell under the same fate. Between the Book of Malachi and Matthew there is a gap of approximately 450 years. The term "apocrypha" comes from a Greek word meaning; "hidden" or "secret" and the books were originally considered by the early church as too exalted to be available to the general public. As time progressed, the exalted nature of the books was lost and the books were deemed by some as false. It is these books that fill that gap and in the time of Christ, these books formed part of the Septuagint Greek Bible that was in circulation at that time. What is missing from most Bibles, and our understanding of it, is what happened in that 450-year gap. Prophets were still writing and reflecting on life in the Holy Land right up until the Romans destroyed the temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Therefore, belief can definitely be a choice. If people choose to believe that the bible is the inerrant word of god in spite of the evidence!

Well, I obviously disagree with you. Though you and I are both obviously Atheists, I will try to make my point. How can I choose to believe something if I am not convinced by the evidence? YOU CAN'T!!! YOu are speaking about people who are CHOOSING to FOLLOW a religion and it's rules, or you are speaking of people who actually DO believe what they follow. But, if I don't believe in GOD, you are suggesting that one day I can just 'CHOOSE' to suddenly believe in God??? That makes no sense. I could CHOOSE to suddenly follow a certain religion, but that doesn't mean I am not lying to myself internally. IF what you say is true (that belief IS a choice) then a polygraph test would be able to measure that. I would be able to say "I don't believe in GOD", and the polygraph machine would tell us that I am telling the truth. THEN, instantly, I should be able to 'CHOOSE' to believe suddenly and say "YES, I do believe in GOD." and the polygraph machine would once again tell us that I am telling the truth. We both KNOW this is not the case. The machine would tell us that I am being decpetive 50% of the time. The ONLY way to change your belief's is by some reason. NOT simply because you 'chose' to. There are MANY reasons why someone may change their beliefs, like: a death of a loved one may convince you of god's non-existence, or a dream you had where you think GOD spoke to you, or something that you think is hard evidence. But, if you think that I have the option of waking up tomorrow and becoming a 'believer' you are mistaken. If you are suggesting that I have 'CHOSEN' not to research religion enough to be aware of all of the information, thereby indirectly chosing not to believe, well that is not the same thing. I CAN CHOOSE to neglect religion, and I can choose to IGNORE religion but I can NOT choose to BELIEVE or NOT BELIEVE something. Our, justice system is actually based on this. If people didn't need evidence to be convinced of something, then our justice system would be much more faulty than it already is. More specifically, the jurors would be irrelevent. One thing I would like to add is that I do infact WISH that god existed. I believe that IF a god did exist, the world WOULD be a better place, because god wouldn't have allowed all of the evil bullshit in the world. Also, it would be comforting to know that I am going to exist for eternity. But, unfortunately, after many years of 'pretending' to believe in GOD, and 'pretending' to be Christian, I just decided to come out of the closet and realized that I am an Atheist. Therefore, belief is not a choice!!!!! You know, I almost thought you were supporting my argument by some of the things you wrote. "A belief can not be based on threats or bribes." Exactly!!! That is what I am saying. If I put a gun to your head and tell you that I am really God's decendant, you aren't going to believe me. I might be able to get you to say that you believe me out loud by threatening your life, but in reality, you still don't believe me and you are only saying it to save your life. I think MANY Christians fall under this category and simply won't admit that they don't believe in GOD out loud because they don't want to go to hell on the odd chance that it DOES exist. But, that is not a genuine belief in god. These people would FAIL a polygraph test if asked about their belief.

Also, you say "belief definately CAN be a choice." as if sometimes it IS a choice and sometimes it ISN'T a choice. Well, you lost me. It NEVER is a choice. If belief 'can' be a choice, then it would 'ALWAYS' be a choice. This is not the case, and you haven't made a point that I see relevent to disproving my claim. I have read many of your posts, and I think you have a lot of very valid information that you contribute to this site. (I'm new here) Nice debating with you.

Your Title - Belief is NOT a choice - ATHEISM HAS NO BELIEFS! IT IS NON-BELIEF! Atheists know that nobody can prove anything about god we look for answers to things that are real with testable evidence.

Atheism has nothing to do with a "belief." Atheists choose not to believe based on the lack of knowledge, facts, or evidence. Religion is a set of "beliefs" atheism has no beliefs, and atheists are simply "not theists". An atheist based on knowledge does not believe. Beliefs, Religion and Reason are not all the same thing. Atheists are individuals who do not assert any knowledge of god/gods.

Atheism rejects the theistic belief in a personal god who answers prayers and has all the answers. Atheists think that ethics and knowledge, grounded in human reason, should be the way we educate people.

Throughout human history there have been millions of people who claim to have personal knowledge of God through an inner spiritual experience. This is a "belief" it is not knowledge. Theistic "belief" has never been based on knowledge, facts, or reason. There are plenty of people who "believe" things in spite of the facts.

Here's an example of "belief" in things that are not knowledge: Abrupt Appearance is the doctrine of creationism not science. What's odd is that creationist/ID say that it is science but they don't actually offer an alternative "scientific theory", and do not define an error with any known scientific theory.

General Discussion: Theory Of God - Just below this topic: Go to that page and look at the whole thing!

From: Martano666

QUOTE: "BUT, I don't believe any scientists are stating that the BIG BANG is what created space, or time. I believe scientists think the BIG BANG was just an effect due to a cause that happened to be in space. There was VERY likely, time, matter, and space prior to the big bang."

ANSWER: In 1968 and 1970 British astrophysicists, Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose published papers in which they extended Einstein's Theory of General Relativity to include measurements of time and space. According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy. The singularity didn't appear in space; rather, space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy - nothing.

QUOTE: "Until we build a telescope with a light on it that is powerful enough to see that far, we will never know. Or...maybe we could build a space ship that flies much much faster than the speed of light, and we could fly there and check it out. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do EVER, to prove when time began. Hopefully someone actually reads this."

ANSWER: NASA not only undertakes voyages in space, but also in time. Thanks to the finite speed of light, NASA has even succeeded in making several voyages to the beginning of time, and that is what the Nobel Prize "for the discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation" is all about.

The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) was launched in 1989 by a Delta rocket. It would return observations for four years. But within hours it had demonstrated that the radiation was indeed blackbody, and in a news conference April 3, 1992, Smoot announced COBE had observed "the oldest and largest structures ever seen in the early universe the primordial seeds of modern-day structures such as galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and so on huge ripples in the fabric of space-time left over from the beginning."

Yes, the title of my message is 'BELIEF is NOT a choice.' Well, I guess I inappropriately titled it. It should have been 'Belief/non-belief is not a choice' I am unsure what you are arguing about here. I never said that 'knowledge' was a requirement for belief. I said you have to have some sort of evidence or REASON. By REASON, I actually mean 'A REASON' not actually to possess 'reason'. Look, once again, are you suggesting that the point I made about a polygraph test is invalid? I would really like your opinion on that. You are saying that I can simply 'choose' to believe something and a polygraph can verify it? WHat are you saying? Are you suggesting that at any given time I can 'choose' to believe in GOD??? Because I can tell you that I simply CANNOT!!! Maybe you can, but I can't. I never said that theistic belief IS based on knowledge or facts. I said that your beliefs are NOT something you CHOOSE!!! DO you honestly think that people can 'on a dime' switch their beliefs from one to the next like changing a pair of shoes?? BELIEF IS NOT A CHOICE. Can a belief change? YES!!! But there HAS TO BE A REASON for the belief to CHANGE. Give me 1 example of a situation where someones legitimate, heartfelt belief 'changed' without a reason, or cause. I am talking about someone just 'oops' today I woke up and decided to change my beliefs to something else. You can talk about 'theistic belief' or ANY other 'belief', it simply doesn't matter. If you BELIEVE something, you cannot change your mind without a reason of some sort. If you DON'T have a reason to, then your mind won't change. The reason might be something extremely simple like internally weighing the information you currently possess, and coming to a new conclusion due to discovering a flaw in your previous way of weighing the information. That would still classify as a 'REASON' why your belief changed. You simply can't just 'choose' to believe something differently than you currently do.

Just give me an example, but guess what, you won't be able to because it doesn't exist.

As far as the theory of time thing, I can't really comment because I don't know enough about that stuff. I am just telling you my personal opinion and I am not claiming to KNOW anything about the beginning of time. You really have an agressive way of attacking my comments. I clearly have lost one of my comments as you have pointed out some information that I was unaware of. But, you still haven't said a SINGLE THING that can disprove that ABSOLUTE FACT that: A person's belief's (theistic or not) are not a CHOICE!

I'm answering you to correct you on what I was and was not saying: The only issue I was addressing was the fact that Atheism is not a "belief." It is based on knowledge, facts, and critical thinking. It's when you stop "believing" and start thinking that you become an Atheist.

There are plenty of "believers" who think that they are "learning" when in fact they are not. Most of them believe, on faith alone, what they are told. Most of them are told that they should not question anything that they are told. They are being programmed. If they are deprogrammed (and realize they were brainwashed) they can see that they were being told things that were not provable facts, and they stop believing. There is a difference in thinking and believing, and some people can't grasp the fact that Atheism is not based on "belief." There is no "conditioning" or programming involved in being an Atheist. Atheists do not believe in the one true god/gods/goddesses or anything involving the supernatural. They have not come to their conclusions by reading one book and being programmed by a charismatic central figure. There are plenty of charlatans who deal in the supernatural and are only ~ spiritual ~ who try to attract Atheists/Agnostics. They operate in exactly the same way as all other religions and have no proof of anything that they are "teaching."

There are also those who say they used to be atheists who never really were. What they really mean is that they were not yet adequately "schooled" or conditioned into a set of "beliefs." They usually assume that atheists don't know enough, when in fact, many biblical scholars have become atheists. It's those who know the most that stop "believing." (They don't believe there is an invisible man in the sky with nothing better to do than count the hairs on their head.) And it is a fact that fanatics don't know as much about all religions as most Atheists.

There are those who think that they are Atheists, who are not, in the truest since of the word. There are also many people who have pretended that they are "believers" because it was politically correct or advantageous. Mother Teresa: it turns out Mother Teresa spent the last four decades of her life doubting god's existence. There have been many famous people who concealed the fact that they were atheists/agnostics. Also, there are people that I suspect are feigning that they are/were atheists for the purpose of proselytizing their religion to the Atheists.

I didn't answer any of the absurd hypothetical issues (polygraph test) and so-forth that you put forth, so, don't put words into my mouth. I'm not interested in a discussion on hypothetical issues. I didn't even address them. Some people lie about beliefs, and some don't comprehend many things about "beliefs" all the time, for all kinds of reasons. Anyone, who doesn't realize that, doesn't know a whole lot. Some people say that they can pray and heal people, and perform miracles, when they know that they are lying.

Ok. I can agree with everything that you said here, except for that you think what I said about a polygraph test is absurd. I think it is important. It is something that can actually be proven. Therefore, if we can prove that belief is not a choice simply by polygraph, then we can prove that the Christian's god of the bible is atleast immoral and unjust, thereby, possibly enlightening some believers into realizing that obvious flaws in what they follow. What I mean is that MANY Christians seem to think that it is my "FAULT" that I don't believe, therefore, I "DESERVE" to go to hell. But, if I can convince a Christian that I actually don't have the option of choosing to believe in their god, then maybe they would realize that I don't acutally "DESERVE" to go to hell. Then, they would maybe realize that their religion is senseless, and irrational.

But, apparently I am not worthy of discussing this with you because my particular thoughts are absurd from your perspective. I don't blame you for your lack of interest in discussing something that you feel is absurd. I find your methods of discussion to be extremely agressive, rude, and arrogant the more I read your posts. Not just the way you respond to my own comments, but the way you respond to MANY other's comments as well. Take it for what it's worth, but I won't be back to this forum to look for anymore decent discussion because you seem to be the main person responding on this forum, and you don't seem to respect anyone that you are talking to. GOOD BYE !

The problem is not realizing that everything is a choice, and the difference in "belief" and "learnedness." Knowing something because you have studied it and know the facts is not belief its knowledge. However, people do "believe" things that there is no evidence for because they want to. They choose to believe something in spite of the evidence. Learning is acquiring knowledge and is also a choice and so is "belief" but they are not the same things. Atheism is not a "belief" it is using knowledge and critical thinking to reach an informed decision. Many people remain ignorant and ignore any fact that goes against what they already believe, this is a choice, and finding out what the facts are is another choice. Everything is a choice! Belief is a choice and so is deciding to find out what the facts are. Learning something and possessing knowledge is not "belief" but it is a choice. I said that every way I know how.

I'm sure it would be easier if we got only positive responses to our posts (from poorly informed individuals.) That's called picking you adversary. Very few posts go without challenges. Atheists have different opinions we're not an indoctrinated group. I have to admit that I'm wrong sometimes and prove that I'm right other times. That's how people learn. If someone can't do that they should just be publishing their ideas as dogma. Everyone has an opinion. Furthermore, few atheists have to be told that.

Martano said, "Take it for what it's worth, but I won't be back to this forum to look for anymore decent discussion because you seem to be the main person responding on this forum, and you don't seem to respect anyone that you are talking to. GOOD BYE !" Frankly, this whole thread seems crazy from the get-go. Belief is always a choice when it comes to blind faith (faith that is maintained despite the facts that contradict it). If you base your beliefs on reality and facts, then you have still made a "choice" to be rational. I personally don't understand why this is so important to you.

QUOTE "I think it is important. It is something that can actually be proven. Therefore, if we can prove that belief is not a choice simply by polygraph, then we can prove that the Christian's god of the bible is atleast immoral and unjust, thereby, possibly enlightening some believers into realizing that obvious flaws in what they follow."

"Excuse Me!" I only answered the first post because nobody else did. I usually (but not always) answer posts that are either directed at something I wrote or is specially addressed to me by name.

Proof requires evidence and evidence requires facts, which can be confirmed. The existence of god is not something anyone can prove. Believing something is true does not establish proof that it is true. How does giving someone a polygraph test prove anything about the validity or morality of what they believe? It does not prove anything about the authenticity concerning claims made about historical events. It only could prove that it's what they do or do not believe. However, polygraph tests are very unreliable. Pathological liars can beat a polygraph test, as well as, there are other things that can cause a false or inconclusive result. That's why they can't be admitted into a court of law as evidence. (Let alone the fact that it proves nothing about the truth-value of any religion.) Proving someone is or is not lying about a belief does not prove that the belief is true, false or immoral.

The accuracy of claims and deeds can be verifiable through confirmation and investigation. If something can not be falsified it can be said to be untrue, since it cannot be confirmed or denied, and that is exactly the situation involving the historical accuracy of the bible. The biologists, botanists, paleontologists, astronomers, geologists and physicists in the world are not wrong about the age of the earth, the universe, or evolution. That's evidence for what the truth is.

Another method is to confirm any claim made of a historical event by ethical historians. Any claim of a historical event can not escape investigation. If they are creditable historians they look for the authenticity of documents, and any other corroborating evidence by other historians, writers, or any kind of records written by people living at that time. If they do not find corroborating evidence (or the documents are proven to contain forgeries) it's probably not true. And that's exactly what you find with the bible; the crucifixion, Messiah, and the incredible events that occurred after the crucifixion has no corroborating evidence from any other reliable source. (There are no writings of any eyewitnesses.) Some historians lived in the very place where earthquakes occurred and people supposedly rose from the dead and yet they didn't write on word about it, only a few confirmed forgeries were found. There is no other source that confirms extraordinary biblical events (Joshua asks the Lord to make the sun stand still.) An event that would have been observed worldwide, but there is no confirmation from any other author outside of the biblical writings. This is an example of evidence, which is what is used to make conclusions about ancient history, or the truth of any historical event.

It is by a preponderance of evidence and studying the material scientific, historical, and archeological, which can be used to determine what most likely are the facts. However, I have never known any Xian that would allow anyone to present them with opposing facts. They regurgitate what they have been told, and if you disagree with them they become hydrophobic and go away mad.

Linda said "Proof requires evidence and evidence requires facts, which can be confirmed. The existence of god is not something anyone can prove. Believing something is true does not establish proof that it is true. How does giving someone a polygraph test prove anything about the validity or morality of what they believe?..."

This is months after the fact it seems, but I felt that I would like to add my thoughts on this. I believe what the OP was trying to convey in the use of a polygraph is that when given a certain set of knowledge that it would be hard if not impossible to trick your mind into believing something contrary to those facts. I don't think in any way he was trying to say that validated any beliefs. I would see the experiment like this, that each subject would be shown a simple object, say a red stop sign. Then ask them if the sign was in fact blue. If the face of evidence that would lead you to believe that the sign is red, how could you willfully change your belief of the color to be blue. For a person to do this, they effetely have to lie, and even though polygraphs are beatable, they do have some reliability are used by some states in job application processes. I would think that this gives them some credibility. I think what this would go to show is that even though a christian comes and ministers to me telling me to turn from atheistic ways and believe in Jesus, that I can not willfully begin to believe something that lacks evidence to go against the prior base of evidence in my mind for my belief in the lack of a god. By this reasoning, according to the christian beliefs that I was raised around, that I would be condemned to hell for something that I cannot willfully control. This point being made to a believe could have the effect of them questioning the morality of someone being punished for such a thing.

If you think your hypothetical changes anything about the validity of the polygraph, or what the original discussion was about, you're badly mistaken, but I will say that the original discussion included things every bit as tedious. I don't think any reasonable person would believe that the polygraph would prove that someone does not believe something even with contradictory contradictory evidence, because brainwashed people do; and we know that. Neither could the morality of a belief be proven with a polygraph test, but that is of no consequence once the fact that the polygraph is unreliable has been established. By law the polygraph can not be used as evidence - that says it all. To rely upon unreliable pseudo-science is a fool's errand. The polygraph cannot be used in court because it is not a reliable science. DNA, fingerprinting and many other forensic sciences can be used in court because experiments have proven that they are sound science. If there were those kinds of proofs regarding the polygraph it would be admissible as evidence in court. If a theory can't be validated by experiment it isn't scientific. The pseudo-science in the polygraph is not in the machine itself; it is in the results and methodology, and it is sheer pseudo-science - not much better than palm reading. Polygraph chart readings can not be admitted as evidence in a court of law because it has been demonstrated in tests that anyone - truthful or not - can produce a "truthful" chart. The polygraph still has no scientific validity. The polygraph is based on a flawed assumption that increased heartrate/capillary/perspiration/breathing rate can only be indicative of one thing (lying), and not of anything else.

It's is of no use with subjects who understand the trickery on which the procedure depends. Information about this trickery has long been publicly available, and it is reasonable to assume there are people aware of it. Russian spy Aldrich Ames passed his CIA polygraphs, and so did Chinese spy Larry Wu-tai Chin.

Faith in the polygraph allowed Aldrich Ames to continue his betrayal for another year while another, innocent employee who "failed" was targeted for investigation, a good liar will beat a polygraph any day.

Granted, polygraph results are being used for all kinds of things - including trash TV, but that fact does not say one thing about the validity of any polygraph test. Especially when the same test would not be accepted in our courts, but are used for employment, creating, arguably, a false sense of security - if the person passes the polygraph, they must be telling the truth. The polygraph should only be used with a disclaimer; "results may vary".

If you still don't understand the flawed logic in this exercise I suggest you try another discussion board.

I am well aware of the fallibility of polygraph tests, and never did i attest that they were fail proof. I would not say that any evidence given by the test i suggested would be hard scientific proof due to the possibility of failure of the test device or reading of test results, but i think it would been interesting to see the results non the less. You give the example of a trained spy though passing a polygraph. You do realize that would classify as someone with special training to hide the truth, and not an average person off the street. I know of several methods that affect a polygraph, but if a person was not given much forewarning to the nature of the test before it was given, it would likely be hard for them to prepare in time to fake the test out. I simply thought that it would interesting to look at the nature of believing something. How do people get to the point of believing things that go against facts and knowledge they come across in the daily lives. I guess some of this comes from personal experience, because i am such an awful liar. If someone asked if i believed something (contrary to what was in my own head), i would probably not be able to convince myself or them that i did.

The root of what i am curious of is peoples ability to lie on command and believe the lie. Obviously over time most anything can be beat into your mind, but on the drop of hat, how hard is it to do?

On a more personal note, being one of the first posts i have put onto these forums, having only came across them a few days ago, i find it troubling that i am already being told to "try another discussion board". I only suggested an idea that i had, isn't that what these boards are for? Even if my idea is flawed, this should be the place to discuss that and learn from it.

Thanks for your response, JW

JW said, "On a more personal note, being one of the first posts i have put onto these forums, having only came across them a few days ago, i find it troubling that i am already being told to "try another discussion board"."

You have some familiar grammar errors. It's should be -"having only COME across them a few days ago" ---

The first time to comment on the message board - on a discussion that was over a long time ago - and did you notice how many other people didn't agree. What a coincidence - just happened to pick the same person that some ignorant slob has been dogging.

It is also very familiar not to understand what was said. If a polygraph test can give a false result for any reason it would never prove anything period - and they can give inconclusive readings as well.

Outside of keeping on trying to tell someone who doesn't have the ability to figure out why something is irrational - I can't think of a reason for bringing this dead issue up again.

Pi,

You said, "The first time to comment on the message board - on a discussion that was over a long time ago - and did you notice how many other people didn't agree. What a coincidence - just happened to pick the same person that some ignorant slob has been dogging."

Have you ever heard the expression "a hit dog always hollers."

JW,

If you are a newbie to this message board, I must caution you that if you disagree with certain individuals on this message board be prepared to be bullied. They will insult your intellect, correct your grammer and spelling and accuse you of being a theist even if you sincerely say that your a non-believer. This seems to be some kind of right of passage if you've just started posting comments. You seem like you have some valid points to share, don't let the aggressive attacks discourage you from expressing your thoughts, Good luck.

If it seems that i was trying to attack anyone in anyway, I want to assure you that was not my intent at all.

I just thought from what i read that maybe the OPs idea had not been fully understood by the replies i saw. I did not realize i was doing something wrong by doing this.

Pi - the reason why i commented on a older topic was because it seemed like an interesting topic, that i thought i had some ideas about, and wanted to comment on. I wasn't even aware of these forums when that topic was fresh, and as far as grammar errors go, you may need to quit your day job if you intend to keep up with all my errors i make. I do appreciate the effort though.

I'd say that belief is generally not a choice if you only accept facts as the basis for your beliefs. But a person can choose not to accept facts or they can manipulate the facts to fit their beliefs. Although, you have to realize that the measure of belief is not equal. For example, I can say I believe that Pepsi taste better than Coke, but I will drink a Coke if Pepsi was not available. I think how strongly a person believes in something is related to what they think they would have to sacrifice if they made a change. I can go for Coke over Pepsi if I need a drink, but if my life depended on me only drinking Pepsi that might be a little different. The lives of theists are often wrapped in their religion so to simply provide them with facts and evidences may not change their beliefs. I think what is most powerful about theist beliefs is the fear that is instilled into them during their indoctrination. The option to even have a choice is taken away because of fear. I applaud the courage and sacrifice of any theist that finally realizes that there is nothing to fear and hopefully in the process woke themselves up from their God delusion.

The first discussion "belief is not a choice" was based on the assumption that people could not make a deliberate choice to believe something in the face of contradictory evidence. Their reasoning was that when the facts contradict a belief people have no choice other than not to believe it. Besides all of that, later on they added to the discussion, that they think it could be proven if someone is lying about their belief with the polygraph. They also added that the polygraph could prove whether or not the Christian God is moral. I hope they can find God to get "Him" to take a polygraph test, since that is what would be required to prove anything about the Christian God.

The first post said nothing about fear or delusions. They simply opposed the idea that everything is a choice; no matter what the reasons are for the choices. Things that were not in the first discussion after the fact, and after other people's comments, would be a new discussion. The answer to the new discussion is that unless you are brain dead you are making choices.

Martano666 - "Therefore, if we can prove that belief is not a choice simply by polygraph, then we can prove that the Christian's god of the bible is atleast immoral and unjust, thereby, possibly enlightening some believers into realizing that obvious flaws in what they follow."

The objective of the polygraph was never to test for moral or non-moral, and the reliability of the polygraph has already been discussed. I will not go any further because anyone with very much going on upstairs knows that none of this had any bearing on what anyone believes. It looks like something just thrown in to try and make this mess a worthwhile discussion, and to be right about something.

Most anyone who has ever argued with a believer knows that the supernatural can get around most any fact or evidence. The theory of "supernatural intervention" can defy logic and does defy logic regularly.

I am not addressing all the remarks made under the guise of (I guess you think that I could just etc.) since it was just foolish, and because they were answering things that were never said by anyone but them. My feelings are that the topic and the rationale were outrageous, and this type of argument doesn't help promote anything but absurdity.

In the first discussion (after they were told that belief does not always depend on facts or evidence) they said that they knew choices about belief are not always based on evidence, then they ignored that fact, and kept the argument going. That was actually the end of the argument because they were proven wrong right there. The argument did not hold up because of the fact that evidence alone is not always involved in what people choose to believe. It was pointed out repeatedly that theoretical beliefs are not always based on facts and evidence, and that did disproved their theory. People can embrace a belief (or make the choice) based on "faith" even if it goes against the evidence, and they do not necessarily have to be "afraid" or "delusional".

If anyone wants to look at the demeanor in the original discussion they were using all caps, putting in exclamation points and becoming irate simply because the answer they got was from someone who didn't agree with them. Then they claimed their adversary was aggressive? No, they were the one being aggressive, and they didn't even answer the comments from others who didn't agree. They only answered one, as if it was the only one that disagreed with them! Har - dee - har - har!

I included this from General Discussion - topic "Theory of God" - From: Martano666 - "BUT, I don't believe any scientists are stating that the BIG BANG is what created space, or time. I believe scientists think the BIG BANG was just an effect due to a cause that happened to be in space. There was VERY likely, time, matter, and space prior to the big bang." This is the person who bases their belief on the evidence, and their speculations were wrong. The scientists think that the Universe expanded from a single point of energy the "singularity." The matter and energy that we know of in the Universe was condensed into a single point, a singularity of energy. Energy can't be created or destroyed; it can only change to another form of energy or matter. That is that the total amount of energy and matter in the Universe is all that there is or ever will be. Time, spaces and the Universe came into existence when the singularity expanded after the Big Bang.

In the first discussion this was pretty much ignored by this advocate for non-belief based on the facts and evidence. It was skipped right over by revealing "As far as the theory of time thing, I can't really comment because I don't know enough about that stuff." Like what does that have to do with the discussion? This is pretty significant to non-believers because in fact it disputes the creationist argument that God had to be the first cause.

It was pointed out that non-belief is not a "belief". Atheists choose not to believe based on the lack of evidence. If non-belief because of there is no evidence constitutes a "belief" we would all be chucked full of "beliefs." He begrudgingly admitted that not believing something is not a belief, but held fast to the idea "belief is not a choice". Even though believers do not have to have facts, proof or first hand knowledge in order to believe on faith. Since nobody can have any real knowledge of God or the supernatural - belief in God is not because of any proof, evidence or facts. Their belief is based on faith alone, and it is a choice. Both belief and non-belief are choices. You make a conscience decision to believe or not believe things. If you believe on faith or on the word of an authoritarian figure you don't need facts. People consider the validity of the information they are given or they don't. They make decisions based on facts or on faith. Those are the choices. There is more than one way to decide what you consider "true." Any fact can be circumvented with supernatural explanations if that is what you choose to believe. That's why some people will always believe some things no matter how much contradictory evidence is presented to them.

There was nothing stated in the original topic "belief is not a choice" that disproved the position that some people do believe things in spite of the evidence, and they sure didn't prove that it is not a choice. They also could never have proven whether or not someone is lying about what they believe with the polygraph. Those people, who do decide to consider the evidence and those who do not consider the evidence, are making a choice. That is because those who believe in God do not have any tangible evidence for that belief, it is on faith. The Bible is not proof of the existence of God; there are no original manuscripts, no eyewitness accounts, and no proof of an inspirer that inspired the writers of any holy book. Belief is not based on the evidence. Other people do consider the evidence important, but to believe or not believe anything is a choice. That should have ended it - but not a chance.

The original discussion was not over choices between things, or about things that are not equal choices. It was not about similar things but you like one better. It was not about how strongly you like or (believe) something. The examples of choices were irrelevant; because drinking Coke when you like Pepsi better, but you don't have any Pepsi, has nothing to do with non-belief or belief in God. To believe something on faith is a choice about something that can not be proven. Pepsi and Coke exist. To drink or not to drink something you just don't like all that much isn't the same kind of choice. It is a well-known fact that many beliefs (not just Christian beliefs) are not based on fact, knowledge or anything that could be examined. Nobody should keep on trying to beat a dead horse, but they do when they can't win.

Many people never question their beliefs because they don't want to, and some people do think that it is wrong to doubt their belief. Some people think it is perfectly reasonable to expect everyone to believe in God because nobody can prove that God does not exist. That claim has been made repeatedly as proof of God. Nobody can prove that something is "not real" just because I have no evidence that it is real. Believers do think it is a good argument. When believers are asked what reason would God have for not giving proof to the believer of 'His' existence? They usually answer "it's to test your faith." I guess they believe that testing people's faith is more important than giving them tangible proof of something. If you ask them how did people first know about God? They believe that we are born with the knowledge of God, which is not true because it is learned. I have read very reliable studies that concluded that some people are much more likely to believe in numinous things. It is an inherited trait. Believers never consider the possibility that the reason there is no tangible proof of something is because it just isn't there. Believers always have explanations for why they believe in nonsense; "it's a mystery" that only special chosen people can understand. Special means thinking like a child; belief is a piece of cake for childish adults.

A person can believe things without evidence or facts - on faith - and then someone else can use their reason and choose not to believe, but they are both choices. Revising the issue or creating new issues, and then answering them as if they had anything to do with the original issue, doesn't change a thing. That was done in the first muddled meaningless mess. There are plenty of choices, but they are all choices. People can ignore anything that disputes what they already believe; that is the choice of most people, and is exactly what was done in this discussion. When their proposition doesn't make sense or is wrong, they throw in things to fix the problem. It is obvious that some people do just that.

The statement "Belief is not a choice." can only be certainly true if free will does not exist. (Free will: The ability of the mind to slightly escape the prison that past and present experiences give the mind by means of information.)

I am convinced that free will exists. Implying that belief is a choice to some degree.

Makeroni,

More ideas (free will) won't help this 'whimsical' theory because that was not the issue. It makes too much sense. The issue was that if the evidence contradicts a belief a person could not believe it therefore "belief is not a choice". He is not discussing "free will" or what most people would think this topic implies, like being indoctrinated into a religion from birth therefore their "belief is not a choice". That's not what this was about. If you read all of the past messages it is very clear that it is the assertion that people can not believe something if they are given indisputable contradictory evidence. When I pointed out religious beliefs are not based on evidence the polygraph test was introduced to prove that they couldn't still believe. They were lying? I pointed out that non-belief is not a "belief" since he is really saying that people can not believe (non-belief) if they are given evidence that disputes their beliefs. Therefore, they have no choice but to not believe. What evidence is there for the existence of god? None.

Martano666 -"Also, you say "belief definately CAN be a choice." as if sometimes it IS a choice and sometimes it ISN'T a choice. Well, you lost me. It NEVER is a choice."

Besides the fact that (definitely) is not spelled (definately) they must not understand what was said. Nobody said, "sometimes belief is a choice" and then "sometimes it isn't", that was never stated by anyone in the discussion. This was just something thrown in, look the other way while I evade the fact, belief is not based on evidence. I said that belief is always a choice, religious beliefs do not require evidence, and the revised "issues" were never stated. I said that you can believe things without evidence or in spite of contradictory evidence, and lots of people do. I previously stated, "Throughout human history there have been millions of people who claim to have personal knowledge of God through an inner spiritual experience. This is a "belief" it is not knowledge. Theistic "belief" has never been based on knowledge, facts, or reason. There are plenty of people who "believe" things in spite of the facts."

There are no religious beliefs that are backed by any reliable evidence. Am I the only one that has picked up on the little glitch?

The constant nagging to give people polygraphs, and all the rest of it, didn't change a thing. He was finished way before that. I couldn't have cared less what he thought because it was just a revolting needless contention.

Since nobody can have any real knowledge of god a belief is without evidence. Religious beliefs are without hard physical evidence and must be considered outside the methodology of scientific investigation to confirm or disprove them, beliefs of that nature are ideological and metaphysical not scientific in nature. It is a whole other issue if you want to include that many people do not originally choose their beliefs, but many people do very strongly renounce this kind of indoctrination at some point in their life. Which proves that they choose what they believe at some point in time.

There is an obvious confusion about what "belief" and "non-belief" means. Non-belief means that some people do not think that they have any basis for a belief in god that is not a belief. People who think that every word in the bible is literally true do dispute a scientific claim that proves the bible is wrong about anything. Others choose to believe that god created everything on creation week no matter what science has proven. They take stands against science and rational thought because their beliefs are not based on evidence?

"Nobody has ever seen god other than a very few and really crazy people."

Martano666 - "I CAN CHOOSE to neglect religion, and I can choose to IGNORE religion but I can NOT choose to BELIEVE or NOT BELIEVE something. Our, justice system is actually based on this."

What the hell does that mean? Our justice system is (supposed to be) based on proving someone is guilty (not innocence) with evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt. There is no relationship! Religious belief is not based on any evidence! Nobody was talking about "neglecting religion" or "ignoring religion" it was just dumped on us like a load of crap for no apparent reason, and so was this whole discussion.

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From the officers:

The audio and video from Steve Bratteng's July 13th lecture are now available.