SIGN UP

Freedom To Choose

Avatar Image
nailit | 20:13 Mon 25th May 2015 | Religion & Spirituality
91 Answers
Why do religious people think that we have a CHOICE in what we believe or dont believe?
I had an interesting conversation this morning with a couple of door knocking JW's. Unlike most people I actually enjoy a bit of banter with them when they come knocking, actually makes me feel good that I'm relatively sane when they've gone.
The conversation went along the lines that we have a choice to accept (their version of ) God. I pointed out that belief is not a choice, I cant make myself believe something that I find patently absurd. My present beliefs (religious, political or otherwise) are based on my level of understanding to date aquirred through knowledge and experience. They then talked about the need for repentance when I pointed out that that in itself is a belief...and one that I dont share as I dont see myself as a sinner in need of forgiveness from some deity. They seemed a bit aghast at that. I pointed out that I was quiet aware of my shortcomings but that wasnt the same thing as sin, which is an alien concept to me.
What I didnt point out to them was that I went through a religious period in my teenage years but eventually had to give it up as I valued truth over doctrine...I couldnt 'make' myself believe what I was been taught anymore than I could still believe in Santa.

I just wondered if any religious ABers (goodlife, keyplus etc) can grasp the concept that non believers are not non believers by choice but by understanding, experience and knowledge?
Thanks

Answers

1 to 20 of 91rss feed

1 2 3 4 Next Last

Best Answer

No best answer has yet been selected by nailit. Once a best answer has been selected, it will be shown here.

For more on marking an answer as the "Best Answer", please visit our FAQ.
In as much as you have choice about anything (and I can give an argument that all is deterministic and you don't) then you have a choice about what religious stance you take. And discussion should, theoretically, allow you to change your mind if you haven't closed it to alternative viewpoints.
Question Author
Thank you OG.
//and I can give an argument that all is deterministic and you don't//
That would be interesting to hear.

You are perfectly at liberty to choose your own standpoint and beliefs - or no beliefs. My daughter is a non-believer by choice. I don't try to change her mind, she's intelligent and I ensured that she went to Sunday School in order to be able to make a choice. After all, how can you reject something without knowing what it is that you reject? She does know - so it is her acceptable choice.
Question Author
//You are perfectly at liberty to choose your own standpoint and beliefs//
No your're not. Beliefs are based on reason. I believe that I am presently posting on answerbank not on facebook. I cant change that belief at will no matter how many people tell me that I am at the moment posting on facebook.
Question Author
//My daughter is a non-believer by choice.//
No she isnt. Shes a non believer by reason, knowledge and experience.
Nailit, you choose by way of reason, knowledge and experience. I have no argument with you.
Question Author
Thanks jourdain, no arguement with you either, just trying to understand how believers (of any persuasion, religious political or otherwise) think that those of other beliefs can just drop their own beliefs and suddenly adopt other beliefs. Beliefs are based on evidence that is obviously 'true' for a particular individual at any time.
Question Author
Ive changed my mind on a number of 'beliefs' over the years but those occasions havnt been a result of CHOOSING those beliefs, they have been a result of examining the evidence and comparing the evidence to what I already know.
Of course, nailit. No problem. :)
Question Author
I'm curious jourdain, why did you take your daughter to sunday school?
If it was to give her a choice to accept or reject then did you also expose her to Islam, sikh, buddhist, wiccan, hindu, atheist teachings as well? Just curious here not contentious as I myself introduced my own son to numerours ideologist teachings to give him a broad spectrum to expand his worldview?
In a nutshell every effect has a cause and in itself has effects for itself; thus you are merely stating the outcome of the connections your neurons make and over which you only believe you have control. You are an automaton with delusions of control.
nailit wrote:
Beliefs are based on reason. I believe that I am presently posting on answer bank not on face book. I cant change that belief at will no matter how many people tell me that I am at the moment posting on facebook.

you are not 'believing' you are posting on AB you ARE posting on AB (not a belief a fact) and can easily prove that, so that example is not a good one to qualify your statement that belief is based on reason and not fact.

Belief in anything is a total choice -no one absolutely no one can make you believe anything, its your choice to accept what they are saying or to reject it. As no human is capable of proving or disproving there is a God, then you cannot base your religious views on experience or knowledge but on what you feel or understand may be true -your beliefs. The JW's were right -you have free choice to believe or disbelieve their Faith -you have free will up until the point you start to believe any Faith, then you have to follow their 'rules' -that is when free choice is taken away as you are expected to follow blindly their Faith without question.

Religious Non-believers are that by their own choice -they choose to reject the beliefs of others .
Yes, I did, nailit. As I had myself ( belatedly and after a long period in which I explored various options including atheism) become a Christian I felt that Sunday School was the appropriate first choice (that word again!) I do not proselytise!!! There were plenty of opportunities to meet with and explore other religions in our area (Wiccans were missing from the mix, they are few and far-between). I/we took advantage of these opportunities to broaden understanding. She gives me plenty of hard arguments and head-to-heads - because she has a lot of background knowledge!
I was made to go to church and Sunday School and ended up a Pagan
Question Author
OG...I need time to digest that.
Retro //Religious Non-believers are that by their own choice -they choose to reject the beliefs of others .//
Eh? Its not a choice, its an inevibility.
Question Author
Thank you jourdain, appreciate your input
I am really unable to understand that on one side you are saying that you CHOSE your belief through knowledge and on the other side you don’t seem to agree that you have a freedom to choose. Don’t you think that you are contradicting yourself?

As for the reason (knowledge) you gave for choosing what you believe in is questionable too. What about those people who chose to believe, say for example that Earth is flat on the basis of the knowledge available at that time? Were they right? After all they made their choice on the basis of the knowledge too because only a few centuries ago people did believe that.
Question Author
//I am really unable to understand that on one side you are saying that you CHOSE your belief through knowledge and on the other side you don’t seem to agree that you have a freedom to choose. Don’t you think that you are contradicting yourself? //
Err, no. really dont get what what you mean. Are you misreading my post? Havnt got a clue what you're talking about.

The rest of your post about flat earthers...so what? if thats what their experience tells them are they about to be dropped in to the jaws off hell because they had a 'wrong' belief?
Question Author
As I said belief is NOT A CHOICE. Its based on understanding and evidence at the time.
You do choose to believe. You have to, there's no other way. There's no evidence for the existence of a deity, so the only way you can believe in one is to make a choice to believe in one.

I don't know about the poor bu66ers who've been lied to since birth though and never had the chance to make a choice. I'm not sure where they fit into it.

1 to 20 of 91rss feed

1 2 3 4 Next Last

Do you know the answer?

Freedom To Choose

Answer Question >>