I see the idea of choosing our beliefs get tossed around a lot. "You can CHOOSE to believe what you want..." or "that's your CHOICE to believe that..." or "I REFUSE to believe in that..."
So the question is, how much of what we believe is choice, and how much is determined by actual contact with said belief. In other words, do you choose your god or did your god choose you? Is there a difference? Do you think it's entirely psychological? Is it entirely your choice, like, Oh, I like this deity, I will believe in them....
I realize this opens up to all sorts of questions and discussions, but I think it's interesting to explore the WHY of things and the psychology behind it all.
For myself, I know that at least part of my belief is a response to my upbringing, my lack of a male authority figure, and probably a whole bunch of other issues. All of this coupled with my ridiculously strong desire to experience God has played it's role into leading me where I am now. BUT, I also believe very strongly in what I believe, and I personally feel like it came to me, as opposed to me finding it. And there's probably a lot more that I have yet to figure out, I don't claim to know it all yet...
Discuss. No hate, please. :)
I guess many have that Choice in their lives and others Do Not, they get programed into what they are bred into, groomed you can say. Some have what they call A Calling. You get pulled into what or who you are going to be or become in your future. Which you have no choice but to go with it, and believe me you cannot fight it. Not just Faith But Fate can become strongly in your life, for it is fate that controls whats to come. So i say Yes you either make your choice or that choice will make you
I think as individuals... some things makes sense to us while others things don't...I also think that astrology plays into it alot. our individual charts and where we are on the spiritual(evolutionary) ladder
People can CHOOSE to do think or say whatever they want....that is not to say they will always make the right choice.
I think there is a lot of people who choose a belief based on their upbringing....I know I did and have refined some of the images my mind created growing up...
Here is an example of a choosen belief... The toothfairy, Santa, the Easter bunny etc. We know (as adults) these 'beings' are just mom and dad leaving gifts. As children, we believe these entities to be real physical beings. This belief only exists because parents choose to lie to and/or manipulate their children into good behavior.
That being said, I feel that the aim of (most) religion is to 'regulate behavior', much like the example I used above.
If you ask me, we form beliefs based on out life experiences, what we are raised to believe, etc. Then the brain takes over. The human brain is wired to find ways to back up what we believe...and in some cases will do so even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, probably out of a psychological reinforcement type deal where we are simply not able to cope with the possibility of being wrong. So it's a bit of both...our beliefs may 'choose us' so to speak...but then we, either consciously or subconsciously, choose to keep them or throw them out.
MANY variables get us to believe as we do,I think,some are simply ingrained early on,.accept and continue,others search out what is right for them,others are chosen by a certain patgh and othees can be easily talked into things,including beliefs.....the answer is as unique as each of us.....
I am not a great believer in free will. I see that people, myself included; react to paradigms, react more or less predictably with in the model they're occupying. There are those that have irrational patterns, and certainly an allowance can be made in statistics for the aberrant. Though the larger the group, the more predicable the behavior is.
At the individual level, when considering the self contained interior life; choice is manifest by thought. What we think and what we do, or act upon, seldom are spontaneous. We consider, rationalize, scheme, and plan. All done with information learned, very little intuitive.
Those that reach a point of self actualization within that interior life may increase the range of accessible choices that the model of their exterior life allows, but once again they are still constrained by what knowledge is available.
We can never be more than what we are, as multiform and unique as we may like to believe we are, we are at the core all a replication. We withdraw from fire and nearly as quickly from threat, emotional or physical. Everyone of us, who has normal brain function; recognizes the flight or fight response. It's nearly impossible not to be caught up by the feverish intensity that a large crowd generates at a sporting or musical venue. We respond to kindness and love. Think of an elderly lady passing you a plate full of cookies she just baked for you. Nearly everyone likes that and they'll all respond more or less the same way.
The same thing applies to belief. You are a Christian. Something inside of you triggered to believe in that faith system, but you did not come out of an isolated environment and spontaneously decide there must be a religion based upon the son of God sacrificing Himself for mankind salvation. You were educated about the faith, whether directly or by absorption. My Christian education failed me because my environment exposed a great deal of hypocrisy in that model. Followed up by the irrational premise I found all monotheistic faiths built upon I concluded that should there be any spirituality it would make more sense that it is universal and abundant. All things have spirit, and the various forms would express themselves in ways that I, as a human; would find impossible to fathom. It doesn't mitigate them being real though, worthy of my acknowledgement but certainly not my worship.
Even in this the range of choice is governed by exposure to knowledge. My lack of religion is a default, moving my esoteric experience into what could be considered a primitive acceptance of my surroundings.
mmmmmm What kind of cake??
It is not a matter of choice to acknowledge the fact that for instance a deity, exists in other peoples minds.
Now for me, belief does not equate worship (as pursuing deities/other entities) therefore the beliefs I have, are not a matter of choice. It's more material being stored away in my minds archive.What I do about it is the choice part.
Nothing can make me "choose" to like grapefruits. I can say that I choose to love grapefruits, but then I just sound like a pretentious tw*t, sorry.
I can eat and drink the grapefruit because I acknowledge it's nutritional values, and eventually I can work myself towards a more holistic appreciation.
This is analogy is far from perfect, but I think a lot of "choose" is just pretentious pep talk and "political truth".
When I think about this question I remember how when I was around 18 I started to have some strange theories about what God really was. It was like these ideas appeared from nowhere.What I wanted wasn't to choose a religion, it was to find one that fitted these ideas.
First I thought Buddhism fitted it, then Hinduism and yoga, then occultism, which was a way of getting to study all these.
Now that I communicate with gods it feels more like choosing, because I see what the god is connected with and if that is something I want.
I think everything we believe is choice. You either believe, or you don't.