On beliefs (discussion)
In order to avoid derailing another thread, I’m starting this one.
I’d like to discuss what justifies belief in anything, and what does not.
I’m going to assume at the outset that objective reality exists, and that we can find out – either through reason or through empirical investigation or through both – what the real world is like. If you disagree with either of these fundamental assumptions, please raise your hand.
With that said, it is my point of view as a sceptic that while one should always be open-minded to what others have to say, one does need a good reason to believe anything. If you believe things for no good reason, you will more often than not end up believing things that are not true, and that is detrimental to you and everyone around you.
Furthermore when someone questions your beliefs, you should be able to defend them, and use your reasons for belief as arguments to convince others that your belief can be trusted not to be false.
In my perception of an ideal world, everything is open to debate, and only the beliefs that repeatedly exit the ring victorious are given any credibility. This is why I oppose the mind-set that says one is not allowed to criticise other people’s beliefs. On the contrary – question any belief you come across, and respect only the ones that can hold their ground against sceptical inquiry. Those that are crushed under the heel of reason or factual truth are not worthy of anyone’s belief.
(Tl;dr: Don’t believe anything unless you have a reason to.)
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.