Is it possible to 'choose' your own beliefs?

by nicolaou 17 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • nicolaou

    To my mind the answer is an obvious "no". What I believe is drawn from my experiences, reasoning, research and endeavour. My beliefs may well be wrong but I have no other choice than to believe them until evidence or superior reasoning convinces me otherwise.

    It narks me to hear people say "this is what I choose to believe".

    Am I weird?

  • james_woods

    Nicolau - maybe you need to explain this better (at least for folks like me...) - You seem to say you select your beliefs on reasoning between various teachings you hear, apparantly on the basis of your own selection and logic.

    You also say NO in answer to the thread title question. Then, you say -

    "but I have no other choice than to believe them until evidence or superior reasoning convinces me otherwise".

    You seem to be trying to say that your first logic in selecting the beliefs is sort of like a predestination of belief...if so, then what is the point of sorting them out in your mind in the first place?

    Or, am I reading you wrong? - James

  • littlerockguy

    If you are weird, it isn't because of what you posted above. There has to be a reason for you to believe something and usually it is through logical evaluation. I guess people can try to fool themselves into believing something even though there are mountains of evidence against it.


  • Dansk
    To my mind the answer is an obvious "no".

    Sorry, Nic, but I don't think it is obvious!

    What I believe is drawn from my experiences, reasoning, research and endeavour.

    But that's exactly it! We CAN choose by doing those things!

    Oh, and yes, you ARE weird!


  • fullofdoubtnow

    I think you can choose your beliefs. If someone shows you a belief system that you think might be right for you, but you're not sure, you then have the choice of whether to learn more about it or dismiss it from your thoughts. Those of us on here who became jws as adults all faced that choice at some point in our lives, and chose to become jws, we weren't forced.


  • kid-A


    Are you saying that you believe we have no choice in our belief systems due to our intrinsic natures, psychological dispositions and temperaments?

    Or are you suggesting that all of our beliefs must come from extrinsic sources and are therefore due to blind fate rather than personal choice? Or have I

    completely misunderstood your post?

  • dmouse

    I know exactly what nicolau means, and I agree with him.

    You cannot choose what you believe. Belief is not like a switch that you can choose to turn off or on, left or right.

    You believe what you believe until something comes along to influence that belief enough to change it - you have no control.

    For example, it may be nice to believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden. I would love that to be true. But I cannot say 'I choose to believe in fairies' because, no matter what I state, say or do, I DON'T believe in fairies and NOTHING can change that ( unless a fairy knocks on my head and says 'excuse me!' ) Our beliefs are not fixed, they can change, but not without significant evidence.

    And it really narks me too when I say I don't believe in God and people say 'that's your choice'. NO IT ISN'T!!!! If I were going to choose then I would much prefer to believe that there was a God up there that cared for us.

    But we can't choose what we believe.

  • nicolaou

    You're right, I wasn't as clear as I wanted to be, let me use an example.

    For almost thirty years I believed in God. I did so because the evidence of his existence was compelling and so I had no choice but to believe. Then, some six or seven years ago, I re-evaluated the evidence and was forced, painfully, to the opposite conclusion - again, I had no choice in my new belief as the evidence and reason had forced me there.

    My quibble is that so many individuals 'choose' their beliefs via adoption from parental instruction or convenience or peer pressure. Holding beliefs arrived at through independant reasoning seems rare among the nice people I mix with.

    At least here we have people who are holding onto beliefs that are valued and personal, beliefs that have been fought for at great personal cost in many cases. I may disagree with many posters here but I love them for fighting their corner and holding their beliefs through effort and conviction.

    I don't believe that I choose what I believe and so I believe my beliefs are true.

  • Narkissos

    An interesting angle to revisit the outworn problem of "determinism" vs. "free will"...

    To me there is no real contradiction. I would readily admit to choosing, or deciding to believe whatever I have ever believed -- implying that I did it and am responsible for it; but it doesn't follow that I, at any given point of my life (with the knowledge and personality I had) was ever able to do otherwise. Determinism imo doesn't cancel but encompasses the notion of choice (which is not exactly "free will").

  • slimboyfat

    Good to see dmouse back - where's you been?

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