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  #1    
Old September 4th, 2013, 05:49 PM
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Why do you suppose many people don't investigate their belief system? Can we formulate a system of thought and knowledge that is applicable to all of humanity? Do you agree or disagree with the following, "The unexamined life is not worth living."??? But, is it necessary to understand why we believe something?
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  #2    
Old September 4th, 2013, 06:31 PM
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Yeah. It's in my understanding that a concept, a belief, or perhaps an entire belief system takes a limited slice of life. No matter how fat that slice is, it's leaving something else - very often a very significant flip-side.

People who don't investigate their belief systems are emotionally attached to it. To me, it boils down to a weird combination of our animal instincts and human abstractness - that even though we're able to come up with abstract ideas and understandings of the world, our identification to that belief system is often emotionally pinned to our survival instinct, so that if our belief system is threatened it feels like our own security is threatened. When people feel that their belief system they identify with falls short, they feel like their own life is meaningless, insofar as they identify with it.

The unexamined life is not worth living to those with the "examined" lives. Plato brings up this idea with his image of the Cave - now we post-moderns would criticize his theory of the Forms because he claims there is a standard, a true, a "real", if you will, reality, but that's another story. Why not worth living? Because we look down on people we think are ignorant, I think.

"But, is it necessary to understand why we believe something?" Not necessary, in the strict sense, that we can continue to exist without doing so. But I've found in my experience that understanding why you believe something opens the door to understanding why others believe something, which is a very useful thing to have, because oftentimes it is the key to learning more. It also tends you to cynicism, which is a nice side effect. Ignorance is bliss.
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  #3    
Old September 5th, 2013, 05:12 AM
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BlahISuck pretty much sums it up right.
  #4    
Old September 5th, 2013, 09:50 AM
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If there's no need to investigate then why do it? I mean, if your beliefs aren't hurting anyone then it's okay if you don't look into them. Of course, lots of beliefs out there are hurting people, but no one wants to think that they're wrong. Especially, as was mentioned, when your sense of identity, importance, and meaning in life is tied up in your beliefs.

And I think we can form a simple belief system that would work for everyone. It wouldn't be complex and wouldn't touch on everything and it would leave a lot of space for each person to believe what they will, but I think such a thing is possible. Of course, if it's not an all-encompassing world view then I guess it's no different that something like the Golden Rule.

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  #5    
Old September 5th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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But people are oftentimes wrong, and this can be hurtful especially when they claim to be right precisely when they are wrong. Even the Golden Rule should be examined. Why should we let people believe what they will - why do we let people believe what they will - not even that, what's in it for us? What's driving that behaviour? When people get all caught up in a belief system, they forget that there is often a world external to that belief system, and that their judgment cannot take a position external to their belief system inasmuch as they are caught up. It is a modern perspective to universalize ideals, but a post-modern one to question reality. The modern thinks he can know everything - and the post-modern says good luck with that. I guess to extend that comparison further: the modern fears being wrong and pursues being right, and the post-modern sees neither right nor wrong, only different perspectives.

Personally, a post-modernist perspective can show me much more of the world than a modernist one. I think Socrates would disagree that "it's okay if you don't look into them" if they're not hurting anyone: wouldn't you be hurting yourself if you willfully live the unexamined life? When one's sense of identity and meaning in life is tied up to a belief system - wouldn't they be sacrificing philosophical growth for the ego? Should we pursue knowing more? or do what feels right? How about aligning the two goals? Should that be pursued?

Also, why should people believe why they will?
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  #6    
Old September 5th, 2013, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by BlahISuck View Post
I think Socrates would disagree that "it's okay if you don't look into them" if they're not hurting anyone: wouldn't you be hurting yourself if you willfully live the unexamined life? When one's sense of identity and meaning in life is tied up to a belief system - wouldn't they be sacrificing philosophical growth for the ego?
Hurting yourself? Maybe. But we all do things that aren't perfect for us, that hurt us in big or small ways in the short and long term. We make bad decisions. So why can't we be free to make the decision not to examine if we're free to do other things that aren't in our best interests?

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  #7    
Old September 5th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Hurting yourself? Maybe. But we all do things that aren't perfect for us, that hurt us in big or small ways in the short and long term. We make bad decisions. So why can't we be free to make the decision not to examine if we're free to do other things that aren't in our best interests?
Such a position takes the freedom to do something as an assumption and begs the question why? What's the point of being free? Why would you do something because it's not as bad/just as bad as something else? It doesn't tell us anything about ourselves - and therein I reveal one of my assumptions, my bottom line, that I want to know more about myself, not just merely exist. The justification that because we hurt ourselves in other ways, so it's okay to hurt ourselves some in this way tends to lead me away from questioning myself and finding out what it means to be yourself, so it wouldn't satisfy me much. But that's two persons' takes, so respond to this thread people! This is a quality discussion!
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  #8    
Old September 5th, 2013, 12:35 PM
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Because people generally don't want to learn that what they "know in their hearts is right" is, in fact, wrong. It leaves them in an awkward, scary place that almost nobody is comfortable with. And the life is most certainly one worth living, it is generally a happier one. Not that one should live that way, but who am I to say.

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  #9    
Old September 5th, 2013, 05:56 PM
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On the topic of our liberty, here's a quote from Ai Weiwei:

Quote:
"Liberty is about our rights to question everything."
Taken from his twitter feed apparently, but how do you guys feel about his take on questioning your beliefs?
Denny Hamlin. ugh so late
  #10    
Old September 5th, 2013, 06:17 PM
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People come from different backgrounds and are limited to their own experiences, so we can't formulate a system of thought and knowledge that is applicable to all of humanity. We all strive for the same thing, but the steps taken there are different. I mean, what are you going to say to a person that finds happiness in killing people?

Also, we know that not everyone believes in the same system, but we know systems that have a pretty big group of believers. Now, what if that system had factual proof? Do you think non-believers/others would start to bandwagon???
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  #11    
Old September 6th, 2013, 09:12 AM
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what are you going to say to a person that finds happiness in killing people?

That sounds like it would go more into a debate of morals, rather than an issue of beliefs. I'm pretty sure the general populace would find something like that sick anyway, and, as society has proven, if the majority rules, it becomes a staple on paper.

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  #12    
Old September 6th, 2013, 11:54 AM
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That sounds like it would go more into a debate of morals, rather than an issue of beliefs. I'm pretty sure the general populace would find something like that sick anyway, and, as society has proven, if the majority rules, it becomes a staple on paper.
Do you realise how difficult it is to read your font?

Everyone should investigate their beliefs as much as possible. I think a lot of problems in the world would be solved if everyone could look at what they feel in a logical way and see if it really makes sense, but alas nobody really has time (or even the reasoning ability) for that. I don't really think too much about my religious beliefs but I'm pretty sure I've analysed it enough to know my view is basically "well it seems dumb but sure why not", so I'm pretty comfortable.

  #13    
Old September 6th, 2013, 11:59 AM
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What happens when you ask everybody to examine their beliefs and because they're not equipped to do that properly (because of a lack of experience, or exposure, or critical thinking skills, or whatever) and they conclude that they were totally right all a long and that just strengthens their beliefs?

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  #14    
Old September 6th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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What happens when you ask everybody to examine their beliefs and because they're not equipped to do that properly (because of a lack of experience, or exposure, or critical thinking skills, or whatever) and they conclude that they were totally right all a long and that just strengthens their beliefs?
Well I guess they wouldn't be looking at it in a very logical way in that case.

  #15    
Old September 6th, 2013, 02:07 PM
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What happens when you ask everybody to examine their beliefs and because they're not equipped to do that properly (because of a lack of experience, or exposure, or critical thinking skills, or whatever) and they conclude that they were totally right all a long and that just strengthens their beliefs?
That'd be a very sorry excuse for not doing it. It's not about justifying inaction through human weakness, but developing human ability. If humanity can be improved a more productive decision would be to say "let's strive for it" instead of saying "they're not ready".
Denny Hamlin. ugh so late
  #16    
Old September 7th, 2013, 06:38 AM
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Do you realise how difficult it is to read your font?
Wouldn't know, not using the default theme.

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  #17    
Old September 7th, 2013, 01:24 PM
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Wouldn't know, not using the default theme.
In almost every theme it's impossible to read. I have to highlight it to read it.

ANYWAYS.

*cracks knuckles*

Why don't people question their beliefs?

The better question is, why don't people question their religion?

Beliefs are heavily influenced by a lot of things, but religion is one of the key factors. The other things can all be attributed to religion in some sense; family being the biggest one. Indoctrination. It's a fancy word used to talk about cults, but, in truth, every religious family does it. The child, a lot of times, has no other outlet, no other choise, no other worldview to experience besides that of their parents. Children, especially young children, are extreemely vulnerable to this. Young children idolize their parents.

So why don't people question their beliefs? Because religion tells them not to. Faith is something that keeps people from asking the big questions, and when they do, it's the answer too. It's a multipurpose system meant to keep people in the right lane. It's what's often called circular logic, or maybe a loaded question. Does god exist? Well, I have to have faith that god exists... it's a test... have faith.

This faith is dangerous, because it's not only blind faith, but it's DRIVEN faith. It directly influences people's actions, and FORCES their beliefs. They, in the terms of indoctrination, are trained from birth to think that way, act that way.

Then there is fear. You were trained from birth to believe that faith keeps you safe. Like a blanket. It's something to fall back on, and for a lot of people, it's been the only stable part of their life. Maybe it's not the most forthwith thing in it, but they take comfort in knowing its there. People use it as a safety net.

I hate religious faith. Very much so. My thoughts follow closely alongside those of Sam Harris. (I highly suggest reading his book "The End of Faith") Some quotes from him.

Quote:
“Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence what so ever.”
Quote:
“It is merely an accident of history that it is considered normal in our society to believe that the Creator of the universe can hear your thoughts while it is demonstrative of mental illness to believe that he is communicating with you by having the rain tap in Morse code on your bedroom window.”
Quote:

“It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail.”
  #18    
Old September 7th, 2013, 05:51 PM
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Why should your belief system be investigated unless there is a need to do so?
  #19    
Old September 7th, 2013, 06:35 PM
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People want security, they don't want to entertain the idea that what they've come to accept as fact, may not be so factual after all. It challenges their reality, which can be a scary thing. People like to think they're right.
  #20    
Old September 7th, 2013, 06:57 PM
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They haven't found the need to yet.

For example, many people (especially people who were against the idea before) have told stories of "how they found God" in a crisis or when they were near death. Now, this isn't proving or disproving anything, but it's because they were in a state of chaos that they chose to get themselves out of this mess, and the only way to change the things going wrong around you is to reexamine your life, your beliefs, etc. They simply found that they really did find whatever they found to be helpful, and whether or not it's the truth, they found something that helped when they were forced to look for it. But otherwise, they ignore the possibility of other things, because they feel what they have to work with now is enough for them.

By the way, whatever conclusion they came up to should be treated with respect, because it helped them, and it's very real to them. You don't have to believe it, but it worked for them, and you should consider tying to improve your life by considering those things too.

idk if that made any sense.
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Old September 7th, 2013, 07:51 PM
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Why should your belief system be investigated unless there is a need to do so?
I feel a constant need for my beliefs to reflect - or rather to make sure that my beliefs do not misrepresent reality. Why do I feel the need? good faith? discipline? But why even that? I suppose it's to have productive and meaningful exchange. If both parties are rooted in their beliefs, not aware of their assumptions - perhaps not even aware that they may have assumptions - then how can they disagree without simply agreeing to disagree? No learning, no empathy, no respect can come from no exchange. It takes two to tango, so one might as well show good faith by going halfway (which is as far as one can). And if one don't commit this to a habit, then it'll be all too easy to fall back on the emotionally easier option, which is closing his mind and rooting himself further in his beliefs. To me, the need to investigate your belief system goes as far as your need/want to have productive conversation. You might have different uses for conversation, or value it in qualitatively different ways, but I believe that desire to have it is fundamental.
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