Definitions: (1) being trusted by another; (2) certainty in the existence, reliability, truth, or value of something
Quote: There was a time when ‘I believe’ as a declaration of faith meant, and was heard as meaning: ‘Given the reality of God, as a fact of the universe, I hereby proclaim that I align my life accordingly, pledging love and loyalty.’ — Wilfred Cantwell Smith (1916-2000) Canadian Professor of Comparative Religion
• Much of what is considered to be true is based on mutual agreement.
• The most compelling validation to believe something is because you have personal experience of it.
• Belief is not faith. Faith is the central reality – Objective Reality. Belief may be close to this pure truth or it may be very far from it.
• Belief is nothing more than a theory. In science one postulates a hypothesis and then proceeds to present a proof. If the proof can be repeated, finding no errors or omissions, then the hypothesis is declared to be true – at least temporarily. We have only a limited vision of what is going on outside of our own consciousness, but when we can share with others we get more information to round out our limited view.
Suggestion: The particularly touchy beliefs are the ones considered to be historic or theological “facts.” Examples: The earth is the center of the universe. The earth was created in its full and current state five thousand years ago. Christ was born of a virgin. My sacred book is the only word of God, etc.
There is room for truth to be different from “facts.” If you find you are relying on your perception of the facts and there is a conflict, it is wise to move up a level or two into meanings and values. Ask yourself, “What is the overlaying truth?” In order to “prove” a belief we should embrace not only the long-established scientific facts but also be willing to use our mind (meanings, logic, and philosophy) and our spirit (values) to see those facts from all sides.