1

This question came to me after watching a nice debate between theist and atheist. In one of the atheist arguments, he ultimately based his atheism on the basis that we (should? It's not clear from his words) believe what is true, instead of what makes us feel good.

I'd like to question that statement and ask (epistemologically or theologically) do we really believe what is true? I know that in classic epistemology the first stage for claiming something as true is the belief (you have to believe in something first, then you go through all the rest of the epistemological steps), so it seems that the statement should be at least reverted - what is true is something we believe in (which then render the statement as at best unrelated to the debate, but moreover - it makes the theism/atheism discussion completely biased via personal belief system).

Going further, we can state that if what is true is something we believe in, we have no problem to claim that we can believe in something good, making the next statement to be: what is true is what we believe to be good. In other words we get the final statement - we can believe what is good, which may be claimed to be what is true.

I know I may have done some illogical steps here, so correct me if I'm wrong. But the point is, I'm questioning the claim that we believe what is true, and even further (can be separated) I can claim that even what we consider to be true is considered via our belief system.

[Note- I've considered mainly the epistemologically aspect of the question here, but the theological one would be much appreciated in the answers as well.]

  • According to Arendt truth plays only a small part in human affairs, but nevertheless an important part. – Mozibur Ullah Mar 7 '18 at 9:04
  • Kant held that belief is that which is grounded sufficiently subjectively, but insufficiently objectively, so belief may involve complete certainty with respect to the truth while lacking the means to demonstrate it to others objectively. He said, "Complete holding-to-be-true on subjective grounds, which in a practical relation hold just as much as objective grounds, is also conviction, though not logical but rather practical conviction (I am certain). And this practical conviction, or this moral belief of reason, is often firmer than all knowledge." (italics his) – user3017 Mar 7 '18 at 12:51
  • 1
    "what is true is something we believe in" → This is clearly an unjustifiable claim. You seem to have missed the difference between something being true and something being understood to be true; we claim something is true only after we have the belief, but the belief is based off of evidence which comes only after the actual truth. – Veedrac Mar 8 '18 at 1:24
1

In one of the atheist arguments, he ultimately based his atheism on the basis that we (should? It's not clear from his words) believe what is true, instead of what makes us feel good.

As far as I understand the position of atheism, it definitely would be "we should believe in what is true", expanded to "We would be better off (better at predicting what will happen) accepting what we have tested for falseness and found to be true".

It should be noted that for this position, it is also usually implied that if new tests arise, which falsify a thing we accepted to be true before, we should reject that thing as demonstrated false now. So the position is not set to a set of immutable facts that were found true on prior evidence alone, but rather to the specific way of determining truth every time anew.

I'd like to question that statement and ask (epistemologically or theologically) do we really believe what is true?

If you accept the explanation set in the previous paragraph, you can see that this question now makes no sense. The original quote is then understood to be used in deontic mood, not in epistemic or realis one. Therefore, we can only say: People believe anything they damn well please, but they should believe in what is true.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.