How to choose what to believe in? Do you choose your beliefs based on what you would prefer to be true, or based on the authority of someone who tells you how things are? Or are you simply compelled by evidence? How do you define what is good enough evidence to compell you?

A lot of people have offered their views on reality to me and given as a reason to accept them as true because they would be preferable. I find the suggestion absurd. But apparently this is a widely used method of choosing what people take for real. People choose not to believe in climate change, and they choose to believe in all sorts of comforting ideas about afterlives and what not. Simply because they prefere the idea of not dying and not being in any way responsible for damaging the one world we have to inhabit. If anything this should tell us, that people so easily brush aside scientific evidence and even facts, is that we are indeed just evolving apes, but instead the silly idea of creationism sits tight.

We can not all be experts in every issue, and when we are not experts of for example biology, evolution, or abiogenesis then whose opinion on the matters should we take as authority? In these matters people often enough refer to the ultimate authority of a god, but we really do not know what any gods think about these issues, or even if they exist, what we do know is what the modern scientists who have done the research tell us, and of course we may compare it to the old scriptures of ancient people whose level of information on these issues was to say the least limited. It may be that the ancient scriptures were indeed inspired by some supernatural entities, but untill we know which and for what ever purpose it is simply stupid to take them at face value.

The main trouble about religions is that they all have given us the impression that faith is a virtue, when it is clearly not. To have faith is to believe unsubstantiated claims. Unverifiable claims may be true, but they certainly should not affect our choises in matters we do have actual and researched information about.

I believe in freedom of religion, but if a religion causes harm to outsiders, it is morally on a very questionable base and by making generation after generation think that faith is a good method of choosing what is true, it is actually more hamfull to the society than one would think.

I personally think that we do not really choose what we find believable, or not. We are either compelled by the evidence to believe something, or we use suggestion to make ourselves to believe something we would prefer. When people tell me that their version of truth is more true because they think it is preferable, it allready tells me, that such people do not care about the evidence, but rather have chosen to believe despite the evidence.

The main influence on what we do find believable comes from our cultural heritage. If our heritage is to see science and critical thinking as the best and only ways to really know what is true or not, then that is how we determine reality. If our cultural heritage tells us that unseen, untasted, and unheard spirits roam the material plain and interact whith us trhough our subconscious, then we are inclined to believe, thatĀ  through our subconscious comes greater understanding of the reality. If our cultural heritage is to take at face value the ideals of a certain religion, then we are inclined to regocnize the other religions as mere human inventions and cultural phenomenons as we should, but in addition also to think that we happened to be lucky enough having been indoctrinated to the mystical truth of the one and only real religion. Wether the spirits, or the particular religion any person is a member of is true or not, however, does not change the fact, that the only way to really know is through scientific research. No, personal experience about the supernatural does not count, because how do you know, if it is just your subconscious talking to you, or if you are having a mental lapse? Yes, through scientific research.

One curious thing about the English language I have learned, is that a lot of you English speaking people seem to think, that the research of history, or archaeology are not science. They are not natural sciences, but they also fall under the scientific rigour of comparing evidence and comparing it to other scientific research. Hence, stories from ancient times are not taken at face value. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

To establish, that something supernatural happened in the ancient times the scientific integrity of historical research would require, that there is scientific evidence of anything supernatural having ever happened. There is none.

To believe that Zeus had flesh and blood sons, would require such a claim to be verified by other than anecdotal stories. A belief, that anything as such happened may be based on faith, but it tells us nothing of the truth value of these claims. People do invent stories, and the real historical places like ancient Greece, or real historical people, like Alexander the Great, do not yield credibility to any such claims as that he was the son of Zeus. Do they?

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But separate historical contemporary sources tell us that such a man as Alexander actually lived in ancient Greece, and as that claim does not require anything unnatural to have happened, it is plausible enough to be a scientific fact. Who today believes he was the son of Zeus? That faith has had no significance to anyone in hundreds of years. Believing in Zeus, or his many sons is not an issue that would bring comfort to anyone, but even if it was, would that make it any more real?

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