Friday, December 12, 2008

Belief and Knowing

Belief, by definition, means that we do not know. There are things we know from experience. Beliefs are a matter of choice. Knowing is what we have after experience. Belief is what we have when we like to think that things are a certain way.

We know that fire is hot and if we stick our hand on a hot stove we will get burned. We know that from experience. Thinking that heaven is some big picnic ground where angels play harps is what some people believe because they find that vision comforting.

Heaven may or may not be like that, but you can bet that if you put your hand on a hot stove, you will get burned. See the difference?

When we act from knowing, there is a strength. We can be fairly certain what will happen because of experience and history. If you say that you know something, there is a certainty based on experience. If you say you believe something you are saying that you think or hope it might be true, but you don't know.

Belief can also be a source of strength, but it must, by definition, be more flexible. When we choose to believe something, but then we have an experience, we must incorporate that into our belief system because we cannot simply ignore it. So then our beliefs may shift.

Have you ever contemplated the differences between what you know and what you believe?

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