Is There Such a Thing?
A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. David Hume
The word evidence is derived from the Latin ēvidēnt-, meaning “obvious.” Evidence issomething that furnishes proof.I don’t believe all beliefs are obvious or evidence-based. In fact, I believe it is hard to know what to believe about believing. That’s what this blog is about.
By definition a belief is something that is accepted, considered to be true. The feeling of being certain that something exists or is true. These definitions make it sound like belief and truth are synonyms. Unless you can say that a truth is something that IS true, and a belief is a feeling that something is true.
So how does a person determine if his/her belief IS true? The answer seems obvious: by evidence-based believing. Evidence-based believing is the process of looking for proof. Proof is the evidence that makes the assertion true; something that induces certainty or establishes validity. How many believers look for proof of what they believe? Some never do; maybe most. Can you think of anyone? Do you?
I have often said that beliefs are powerful: “Beliefs become behavior”. And quoted others. For example: Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around, Henry David Thoreau.All beliefs can be powerful, even if they are not evidenced-based and not true. For example, faith is extremely powerful and defined as: firm belief in something for which there is no proof, Dictionary.
A belief is both mental and emotional. It is imbedded in the mind and in the heart.A belief belongs to the believer. Yet many believers are not aware of their beliefs. My conclusion in this review of believing is that beliefs are indeed powerful; therefore, it would be important for me to know what I believe, and to seek evidence for its validity. The problem for me, and for everyone, will be: Where to look for evidence?
While beliefs can be very empowering they can be equally disempowering. Many times our beliefs are negative, or pessimistic. Negative beliefs produce negative results. This complicates what we believe about beliefs. Beliefs are powerful, even if they aren’t evidenced based. So, what should we believe about beliefs?
I wonder: Can there really be such a thing as evidence-based believing? If a belief is based on evidence (proof), then it is truth.
It is always wrong, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence, William James.