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Blupete's Weekly Commentary


May 28th, 2000.

"Belief"

A belief is where one is convinced, or sure, that the idea possessed is true. A belief is a mental acceptance of a proposition, statement, or fact, as being true. Usually one comes to this position on the grounds of authority or evidence. The authority or evidence maybe of an infinite variety; some reliable and true; some not. Some people have a belief in ghosts; most all in the reality of ordinary sights and sounds, seen and heard.

There is no need to go about trying to change the belief of another or others simply because they do not correspond to one's own. One might try, if it is felt that the belief held is erroneous and hurtful. The art of persuasion is to induce another to believe in something in which the persuader believes; to make one's belief, the belief of the other. The holding of a certain belief will usually exclude those beliefs that are contrary to it. So, if the person you are trying to persuade holds a contrary belief (as apposed to having no particular belief on the point one way or the other, a situation which makes the persuader's job much easier), then, my friend, you will have your hands full.

The belief to be dispelled -- as wrong as it may be -- is held by condition, or habit, of trusting to or confiding in another person or a thing; to give up a belief is tantamount to losing trust or confidence in the person or thing from which the belief had first sprung. Indeed, as we learn from the OED, belief was the earlier word for what is now commonly called faith, viz., the word belief originally meant loyalty to a person to whom one is bound by promise or duty, or to one's promise or duty itself. To change a belief, is to change an allegiance. In the larger context of society, we have those, partisans or adherents, who are on one side in a contest united in maintaining a cause, policy, opinion, etc., in opposition to others who maintain a different one. Often, all too often, the beliefs that the different sides have on public questions, are ones that come about because of attachment to or zeal for some group or party that has exerted authority over him. Thus, to change a belief, it seems to me, it is likely necessary to get the impugned individual out of and away from the party with whom he associates. To convince him that his beliefs are but dogma and that they do not serve him.

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Peter Landry

May, 2000 (2015)