Do you believe in God? Do you believe in science? Do you have someone you believe in? In this article, we will first see what is believing and how a belief is formed, and secondly, we will see how people can keep having belief in something or someone.
Believing and Knowing
Knowing is about having knowledge and being sure of something. This is rather a physical realm and eternal, which does not accompany any doubts and gives self-confidence. On the other hand, believing is a firm conviction and reflection of trust towards some idea, value, or belief. This is rather a temporary mental domain, which could accompany some doubts. (askanydifference.com)
When you say I believe something, that means you do not know. You can believe what has not happened yet, but when things have already happened and there is truth, you cannot believe it, but you know it. Plus, the big difference between knowing and believing is that you can choose to believe but cannot choose to know, because what you can know is only the truth, but what you believe has more choices. (DifferenceBetween.net)
People believe in many abstract and concrete things such as fake news, God, people, values, science, authorities, and so on. What is the mechanism of believing? When you have doubts, how does that mean you are losing belief?
Mechanism of believing
Michael Shermer provides two long-standing observations about the formation of belief. The important thing is that people first form the belief and then start to find the evidence which supports it. There are two ways of the brain working- “pattern-seeking” and “agency-attributing propensities- and it could cause misunderstandings. Because of pattern-seeking, any date including “noise” could be seen as meaningful. Agency-attributing is seen in animism as trying to "explain natural phenomena by analogy with the one causative power our ancestors knew well: their own agency." (Michael, 2011)
Belief affects people’s . Sometimes, people start to believe something just because authorities (institutions, parents, other people) believe it. When people can get arguments in favour of believing it, more arguments make the belief stronger. People who share the same belief make connections as a social group with each other, which could cause exclusions for those who do not share the same belief. However, when the belief is as solid as not needing to be compared in order to make it look real, those conflicts will be less. Science and morality are some examples of getting reliability with more agreements. Science is seen as truth, which can be proven by experiences. On the other hand, belief based on the five senses tends to be seen as less reliable and with no proof (David, 2017).
Belief and Doubts
Doubts mainly mean unrest, confusion, and the unsolved. It is a vacillation between belief and unbelief. But doubts do not always mean the opposite of belief. Even science starts from doubts. Scientists start to ask questions, and questions bring belief based on knowledge. To understand more, people need to keep being humble and let themselves have doubts to pursue their interests. (Gary, 2021)
Also, doubts are an expression of humility. For example, doubts make religious tolerance possible because authentic faith can come from ignorance. Having doubts means having interest in it and having space to accept more explanations and interpretations. (encyclopedia.com)
Having doubts does not mean stopping believing but it can bring more understanding and knowledge, which support and grow the belief.
Believing and Trust
However, when it comes to human relations, how do doubts affect them? When you believe in someone, do you also trust that person or do you also have some doubts?
Trust is stronger than belief. Believing is based on observations but trust is based on closeness and proximity. Trust is all about completeness and universality and having perfect understanding, which belief does not have. Trust is not only about believing but also following their suggestions or orders from your heart (Koshal, 2011).
Moreover, trust also makes you vulnerable. Therefore, when people have experienced bullying, rejection, trauma, PTSD, or other negative relationships, it could be more difficult to trust someone. However, when people cannot trust others, it will bring difficulties to build relationships with others. When people feel they are not being trusted, they tend to have negative images of that person and tend to behave selfishly. (Kendra, 2022)
On the other hand, stopping trusting someone also could be a challenge. As we see above, people tend to find evidence that suits their faith. Even if your instincts tell you that you cannot trust someone anymore and have doubts, your brain could keep finding evidence to keep believing in them.
The importance of knowing what you believe
Knowing what you believe is important because it gives you the intellectual humility to know you may be wrong. It may bring some doubts about it but do not be afraid of having doubts. It is the start of rethinking your beliefs and strengthening or purifying them. Why don’t you look again at your belief to know what you are really believing?
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