Belief is a contingency. To be used when knowledge fails. Belief is not based upon knowledge, just as knowledge is not based upon belief. The last time that knowledge was based upon belief, we had a flat earth at the center of the universe. Belief is what makes people ignorant and weak in their own lives. It usually centers around the blind acceptance of data that someone else has provided. While this is not always harmful, as the data may actually be factual, it creates the persuasion to accept any data as factual, even when it might clearly be an opinion. This is where a critical breakdown occurs in the intellectual development of many humans. If there is no inherent necessity to question and to research, then a fundamental piece of consciousness fails to develop. The ability to learn and to grow. At this point, each consciousness, and consequently each human, becomes more like a puppet. They can be told what to know, what to believe, and how to behave. In effect, they become malleable pieces of clay to be shaped by society. It is when you learn to question and investigate discrepancies in the generalized laws and rules that you begin to form your own ideas and opinions. This is where people begin to define themselves rather than be defined by others. They stop reading books, and they begin to write them. This is one of the most essential requirements in the advanced development and growth of consciousness. At this point in our existence, we must make the conscious choice to grow and evolve. We must also choose to handle the responsibility that comes along with that growth and development, otherwise it will not proceed properly according to the needs of each individual. There are too many people that have been convinced that there is only so far that the human body or mind can go. They do not realize that we are shaping and writing evolution with every decision that we make. This leads to a generalized malaise and lack of motivation to do anything with ones life. Total compliance underwritten with complacence. “Soft will,” if you will. I’ll use Jesus Christ as an example here.
Jesus is the accepted savior and messiah of one of the most widely spread religious doctrines that this world has yet seen fit to record. According to this doctrine, he is supposedly the one who brings peace, everlasting life and forgiveness to all who believe. He will also spread the word of a “loving” and “forgiving” god to those who repent. This is very contradictory even to Jesus’ own words in the accepted gospel of Matthew 10:34-36.
34 Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 And a man’s foes will be those of his own household.
Jesus said here that he would bring much conflict and suffering, as he does often, and people are still convinced that he is a savior to bring everlasting life. He clearly says here that he will turn people against each other, as he “did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” One example of the harm of having other people do the thinking for the masses. They are able to dilute the facts, or the meanings in favor of their own opinions and dogmas. Look at the Old Testament, and the personification of god. He is usually accepted as a kind and loving god that will forgive you of your trespasses, yet in the book of Nahum 1:2, there is clearly a different story.
2 God is jealous and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
This is not a loving and forgiving god, but an angry wrathful “jealous” god who will smite you for your blasphemies. These are but a couple examples of how the "soft will" that people posses can be shaped and made into whatever a “religious organization,” for example, would choose them to be. This can be quite damaging, resulting in religious fanatics who use the Bible as their sole reference for their beliefs and their arguments. Without questioning the doctrine that they are handed, words that have been written and re-written for thousands of years become such a jumbled mass of contradictory information that interpreters become necessary. This results in hearsay and opinions becoming the doctrine rather than factual data, and this is the basis for the problems with organized religion. It is the systematic organization of thought for the purpose of controlling the masses through use of fear. Without the fear of the devil, or going to hell, would people really need God? Before the existence of the devil as an entity, they were persuaded into compliance through the use of an angry wrathful god. This is how people are conditioned over many years not to think for themselves, but to have their opinions, morals and standards decided for them as a member of a “congregation.” That is the difference between religion and philosophy. Religion is based on a blind faith acceptance, where philosophy is the formation of ones own thoughts into observed concepts. Philosophy, unlike religion, tends to weed out those who are afraid to take responsibility for their own lives.
Philosophy is not based upon belief. It is based upon knowledge. Knowledge is based upon observed concepts and ideas that are formed in the mind through the experiences one has while defining their own reality. These ideas have actions, and reactions with definitive observable consequences. Rather than believe that God will strike you down for your blaspheme, one may try an experiment. They will speak out against God, and perceive the reaction. When no lightning bolt or “Finger of God” comes down to smite you, you could use this observation in the formation of a new idea. A new way of thinking, a new philosophy. Now, instead of believing in the wrath of god, you know your own way. Your philosophy is based upon wisdom, (knowledge + experience) and allows you to form your own ideas and concepts. These concepts however, are not concrete. They vary greatly from person to person. They are sometimes used to teach people how to think alike. No two people have brains that work exactly alike; therefore we need concepts to create the general outlines to arrive at similar conclusions. In these general outlines, the details are left to be worked out by you. I’ll use a schoolteacher as an example.
A schoolteacher has a curriculum that they must teach from. In math, they hand out formula, give answers and classify all kinds of hard fact. What are the students constantly left asking? How and why. They have been given all the details, but they do not understand the concepts behind them. They do not know how or why it all relates and fits together, just that it does. A better way to teach is to give the concepts behind the studies, and let the students fill in the details themselves. Look at biology for this one. In class, you get an outline of the chapter from the teacher. This outline identifies the topic of the chapter, and the way that the facts and ideas are arranged. Next, you are to go to the chapter and take notes on the facts. Late in the year, you no longer need the outlines, because you understand the concepts behind them. You understand how to identify the topic of the next chapter, observe how the facts are arranged and fill in the related details. Since the students fill in the details and create the outlines, they retain the information better and longer. Concepts make less effort necessary to do this. They relate ideas to knowledge and create our blank slate minds that help us think in terms that even we can understand. Without the concept of language, I would not be able to communicate these ideas to you. Without making your own concepts and having your own ideas, there would be no advancement of the body or mind, and nothing would get done. No one, not even God has the authority to tell you what to do with your life. God gave that up when he gave you free will and it just seems such a waste to have this free will thing our whole lives, and not do anything with it. You would not be able to learn how not to follow your life around. You would not be able to learn how to take charge of your own life and make your own decisions with the free will that you were given. You would remain trapped in the molds that everyone else put upon you until the day you die. Someone else would have done what they wanted to with your life. At that point, your life would have been nothing but a waste, because you did not do anything with it.