EppsNet Archive: Belief

An Atheist Falls Into a Swamp . . .

[David Hume] once fell into a swamp near the house he was building in Edinburgh. Owing to his reputation among the locals as an atheist, a woman refused to pull him out of it until he recited the Lord’s Prayer and the Belief, which, being practical-minded, he did. But not before he argued with her about whether Christians were obligated… Read more →

To Be a Believer

You probably seem to yourself to be a believer, even if you are a believer in disbelief. But you cannot really believe in anything until you are aware of the process by which you arrived at your position. Before you do this you must be ready to postulate that all your beliefs may be wrong, that what you think to… Read more →

Praised Be Blindness

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, published in Rome his spiritual exercises. There he wrote this testimony of blind submission: “Take, Lord, and receive all my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will.” And as if that were not enough: “To get everything right, I must always believe that what I see as white is black, if… Read more →

I’d Like to Believe in the Existence of a Loving God . . .

. . . but I can’t. The quality of evidence is very poor. Do you believe in ghosts, fortune tellers, psychics, werewolves, vampires, astrology, alien visitations . . .? I don’t believe in any of those things, but they’re all out there and a lot of people do believe in a lot of things for which the quality of evidence… Read more →

Mysterious Ways

Whenever I see headlines like this I wonder why God couldn’t find an atheist family to drop a concrete slab on. The infant, whose shirt appears to say KING JESUS, was also killed. Read more →

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The notion that we have limited access to the workings of our minds is difficult to accept because, naturally, it is alien to our experience but it is true: You know far less about yourself than you feel you do.   A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from… Read more →

Why “We” Believed Jackie’s Rape Story

Embed from Getty Images That’s the title (minus the quotation marks) of an article on politico.com regarding Rolling Stone‘s retraction of a story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia. The article is written by a female student at that university. “We” believed the story for the same reason Rolling Stone didn’t fact check it: because when you… Read more →

Pope John Paul II Just Killed a Guy

Man crushed by giant crucifix dedicated to Pope A man has been crushed to death after a giant crucifix dedicated to Pope John Paul II collapsed, just days before a historic Papal canonisation in Rome. The 30-metre-high (98ft) wooden and concrete cross fell during a ceremony in the Italian Alpine village of Cevo, near Brescia. Another man was taken to… Read more →

Thoughts on a Turbulent Flight

I can’t sleep on planes. I’m afraid the damn thing will crash and I’ll miss it.   I don’t believe in anything. I wish I did. It seems comforting to imagine holding the plane aloft with prayer.   I’m not a good person. Why shouldn’t something terrible happen to me? Read more →

The Gettier Problem

What does it mean to say that you “know” something is true? According to traditional philosophical thinking, you can be said to know that some proposition P is true if and only if: P is true. You believe that P is true. You are justified in believing that P is true. These three conditions jointly form the concept of justified… Read more →

The Best Measure of Truth

If you act as if something is true, you will shortly find out whether it is or isn’t. Any reduction of effort or increase of abundance you enjoy as a consequence of your new belief is the best measure of its truth. — Jim and Michele McCarthy, Software for Your Head Read more →

What You Say You Believe

What you say you believe isn’t as important as what you believe. And, obviously, you don’t believe what you don’t enact. Although describing, proselytizing, or otherwise articulating your beliefs in media other than your own acts can be fun, it is seldom very useful to you or anyone else. Babbling on about a value is a distraction from attaining it.… Read more →

The State of Evidence on the God Question

By the way I’m an atheist. I don’t claim to have a proof that God cannot exist. It’s just that I consider the state of the evidence on the God question to be similar to that on the werewolf question. — John McCarthy Read more →

The Law of Conservation of Ignorance

A false conclusion once arrived at and widely accepted is not easily dislodged, and the less it is understood the more tenaciously it is held. Read more →

He prayed in his silence: O God, make me human, let me feel temptation. Save me from my indifference. — Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote

Belief and Vodka Both Wear Off

“I want to believe. And I want others to believe.” “Why?” “I want them to be happy.” “Let them drink a little vodka then. That’s better than a make-believe.” “The vodka wears off. It’s wearing off even now.” “So does belief.” — Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote Read more →

There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking. — Alfred Korzybski

The Final Belief

The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction and that you believe in it willingly. — Wallace Stevens Read more →