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How does one "choose" a Belief System?

Discussion in 'Religion and Faith' started by BetteTheRed, Apr 7, 2018.

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  1. BetteTheRed

    BetteTheRed Resident Heretic

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    From another thread, quoting myself,

    "...A more interesting question, to me, is "can you choose your belief system"? I don't think it's possible. I believe what I believe, not because I chose it, but because this is the vision that life has unfolded before me, based on what I have received via my senses in the past, and how my brain has organized that information. And I'm not entirely talking about our five physical senses. I believe we have at least one more sense - call it intuition, spirit, inner vision - that also informs this logical process in my brain."

    Also, if I use the words BS in this particular thread, I'm usually referring to belief system...that is not the case everywhere.
     
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  2. Luce NDs

    Luce NDs Well-Known Member

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    It all depends on how one avoid determinates as these can cause incidents in the dark ... kohl a' void antes?
     
  3. blackbelt1961

    blackbelt1961 Well-Known Member

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    can you choose your belief system?


    I think that is quite a loaded question, assuming we are speaking of spiritual beliefs here. I believe that atheists have some very good merit when they state that by default a child is born an atheist. As we develop and grow we are influenced by many external sources like parents, school, friends, events that happen in our lives ect. We are the sum of our experiences.

    So yes we can I believe choose our belief systems, but then again, is the belief we choose simply tradition for us or is it actual Truth of reality?


    I was raised Catholic in an Italian family, was it the truth of reality for me? , no it wasn’t, it was tradition. Was I exposed to the idea of God? Sure I was, we all are through various means. Did I believe it? No not really, I wasn’t sure, I was agnostic on question of God.


    So what happened to me?, I went searching on my own when my wife at 48and had her 1st heart attack, it was the first time in my life that I felt and realized that we are really not in control. It was a good years journey for me, reading and reading all kinds of books on spirituality.

    To make a long story short, one day I experienced Gods presences and that was the beginning of my Belief as reality .


    So


    Did I choose God?, did God choose me ? or did we choose each other?


    hmmmmmm
     
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  4. Mendalla

    Mendalla A Node in the Interdependent Web

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    I'm not sure we choose our belief system. It's a product of personality, upbringing, education, life experience, and so on. I certainly never chose to go the road I did, I just kind of followed it as I found it. Being a naturally curious person, I sought to learn about anything and everything that interested me. The rest kind of just followed from there.

    Now, my religion, that is how I choose to express that belief system in community, that is for sure a choice, but it is based on belief system which naturally narrows one's choices. I chose UU'ism because it was the faith that best accommodated my personal belief system, not because it is my belief system. Pentecostal, RC, Islam, etc. never entered the picture because I just can't see how I might fit in. Bahai'ism, some Buddhist sects, and liberal/progressive Christian denominations like the UCCan did because there might be room for my BS there.
     
  5. Carolla

    Carolla wondering & wandering

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    There is that old quote - I don't know by whom - "we see what we believe". I think this is true to a large extent - we place our experiences into our belief context - which often has been learned/assumed/chosen in childhood. Some people go on to learn and question those belief systems, growing into new or revised BSs - some do not, perhaps because questioning/critical thinking/exploration is not part of that original assumed BS, perhaps because of their personal nature, perhaps for who knows what reasons. For myself, I would say my beliefs have evolved considerably.
     
  6. blackbelt1961

    blackbelt1961 Well-Known Member

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    Its most certainly true that Beliefs are extremely powerful , people and nations kill for them. No wonder Scripture teaches that our battle is in the mind and not against one an other. Control the mind and one can extremely influence and or control the will.
     
  7. crazyheart

    crazyheart tomorrow,tomorrow

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    We are taught right and wrong and I think this is the beginning of our belief system.
     
  8. Luce NDs

    Luce NDs Well-Known Member

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    Can one be conditioned to hate ...

    Tis numb eh boy ... to not be able to see through it ...
     
  9. Pavlos Maros

    Pavlos Maros Well-Known Member

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  10. Pavlos Maros

    Pavlos Maros Well-Known Member

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    It is a fact that people choose how they worship a god, else they wouldn't be so many cults/religions. That is what one would refer to as a belief system. (following the tenets and doctrines of their particular flavour of cult) However they never choose to believe in a god per se, that was indoctrinated/inculcated into them long before they chose which way to worship.
     
  11. Pavlos Maros

    Pavlos Maros Well-Known Member

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    None of the above. you were indoctrinated/inculcated.
     
  12. GeoFee

    GeoFee I am who I am becoming...

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    Hi,

    I was born into a Calvinist belief system. It shaped my early imagination to conform with social expectations. By puberty I began to ask questions. These were rarely answered. Either in Church or School. Indeed, I spent much of my school time standing in corners or being otherwise punished for insubordination.

    Now as my maturity takes root, I am happy to say that I am pretty much free of all systems. These include Church and State. Paul Tillich speaks about the courage to be. Most find courage to be by being incorporated and subordinated to some belief system. Few find courage by stepping out of all external constraint to explore the deep potential of their own human being in creation.

    I am aware that this media constitutes a belief system. I freely use it but wholly reject its totalizing trajectory and would be happy to live in a world without it. A world of children at play under a blue sky, parents dedicated to their health and happiness, and communities resistant to the incursion and seductions of power seeking power.

    George
     
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  13. Mendalla

    Mendalla A Node in the Interdependent Web

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    I think there are two ways to understand belief system, though.

    You are viewing as an external set of beliefs with which we align ourselves or that is imposed upon us. I agree with that.

    But, IMHO, it can also mean simply the set of beliefs that we hold internally.

    IOW, there are both internal and external belief systems. I would also argue that we all, to some degree, have an internal one even if it is not aligned with any external one.

    So I would add "external" to your "incorporated and subordinated to some belief system".

    My current internal belief system is very much my own and does not align with any external belief system that I know of, which is why I am not a member of any given sect, faith, denomination, etc. And, like you, that applies to my political beliefs and philosophical outlook as much as my religious beliefs.
     
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  14. Jae

    Jae Well-Known Member

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    God chose me. He predestined me for Glory before he created the world. At just the right time, he saved me. Since that time, he has built within me intellectual assent to the faith he gave me in Christ. He continues to strengthen my faith through his word and through Communion.
     
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  15. GeoFee

    GeoFee I am who I am becoming...

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    Thank you,

    Stepping away from the influence of external belief systems I soon realized that many of them had been internalized. This entailed a more challenging exodus. At this point along my way there are few remaining beliefs. I have little hesitation in saying that I have abandoned belief as a necessary condition of being. My trust is in the life animating my mind as it thinks and my fingers as they strike the keys. A life which knows better than I the way forward along the evolving way.

    George
     
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  16. revjohn

    revjohn Well-Known Member

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    Initially maybe not. It is as much a part of family culture as anything else which influences us as we grow.

    If we live in a particularly religious/devout home we will be introduced to that belief system and it will be "normal" to us.

    As we grow and gain exposure to other belief systems or even the ideas of non-belief we are presented with options we may choose from.

    Our relative "freedom" to chose other than what was normalized for us will likely hinge on relationships that bind us/repel us from our initial norms and those that attract/disgust us with respect to aluen ideas.

    At some level we do choose what we will believe and that variation from our initial norms might be huge or slight.

    Theoretically, I could reject Calvinism and embrace Arminianism. It would take one amazingly convincing argument but one could possibly be made.

    Theoretically, I could reject Reformed Christianity for Eastern Orthodoxy, Judaism, Islam or nothing. None of it would be easy since most of my suppirt systems are located in Christian and Reformed thought.

    I doubt that most of us invent our own belief systems from scratch even if we cobble together a nonsystematic theological dog's breakfast. Choice is inherent at some point.
     
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  17. BetteTheRed

    BetteTheRed Resident Heretic

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    John, I just can't see the choice. I absolutely get the "not from scratch". I have walked on and off an ostensibly "Christian" path for more of my life than not. I came from atheists, and people who read a lot of books, for fun. Some sort of wyrd God-gene caused me to grow up as a Lutheran (I dragged my younger sisters to church, had them baptized, etc., on my own volition; for the record, they largely think I'm crazy, religion-wise). And as a family of serious readers, I am so culturally Christian that I can't divorce myself from that (Steinbeck, as much as anyone, with a soupcon of Montgomery's war horror plus a huge pile of Robertson Davies and Atwood).

    So, I am wedded to social justice and environmental issues, thanks to my atheist Dad's passion for those issues. My immigrant childhood, and my lapsed Catholic mother and her family, tells me that living in community and finding friends outside of your family is vital to your health and well-being. So, in a Christian country, these types of urges lead me into a liberal, social-justice-seeking Christian congregation. In another culture, I think I'd be led into a different religion, probably the dominant literary one. I just don't see the choice. I see logic.
     
  18. paradox3

    paradox3 Well-Known Member

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    Similar to @BetteTheRed, I come from an atheist father and a lapsed Christian mother. In my case Anglican rather than Catholic. My mom was the product of an Irish Protestant mother and a Jewish father.

    For my religious upbringing I was mostly "sent" to a United Church although I was sometimes accompanied by my mom.

    I have wound up as an active United Church member. Fairly liberal in my views although not embracing the progressive label for a variety of reasons.

    So I am a Christian (rather than a Muslim or Buddhist) because of my upbringing. But I have made a conscious decision to stay with the faith of my childhood.

    There is something powerful that still draws me to it. Is it the call of God? Nostalgia? An emotional connection to the stories and music? Right now I really don't care about the reason(s) for my commitment to this path. I have done enough intellectualizing about it for the time being.
     
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  19. paradox3

    paradox3 Well-Known Member

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    I agree that in another culture I would likely be in a different religion, especially if I had been exposed to it in childhood. I see both logic and choice, however. There is also the community aspect and social justice efforts which influence us as you mentioned upthread.
     
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  20. BetteTheRed

    BetteTheRed Resident Heretic

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    But P3, it's absolutely not about a choice, for you, is it? I guess we could choose between going a spiritual path all alone, and trying it in company. The latter is a lot more appealing; I guess it's a choice of sorts but it doesn't feel very wise to choose solitary. To me, the only 'choice' is finding a group that can tolerate my questioning/ideas.
     

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