Believing is Seeing
Thoughts come and go—we have many thousands of thoughts every single day, but not every thought is a belief. A belief is a thought, which has been empowered by becoming accepted as true and owned.
We say, “That is my belief!” And whereas a thought has (practically) no power, a belief can range in power from weak to very powerful. And when someone attacks our beliefs we feel we have been personally attacked, and react with strong emotion. The stronger the belief, the stronger the emotion it evokes when attacked.
Some beliefs are so powerful that their owners are prepared to give their lives for them. Across the ages, many, many millions of people have died for beliefs, which in the final analysis were just thoughts empowered by emotion and made ‘real’. And many, probably, almost all of these beliefs later turned out to be lies. But those giving their lives for such beliefs are convinced that their cause is just.
Belief is the cause of man’s greatest triumphs, and also the cause of his greatest failures, and of his greatest sufferings.
Such is the power of belief, which starts out as an impotent thought.
What Causes Thoughts to Become Beliefs?
- Analysis: Each of us has been programmed with a set of standards against which to compare and analyze information and then decide whether it is true or false. This includes analysis of the source of the information—the more faith we have in the source, the more readily we believe the information.
- Repetition: The more times we are exposed to something, the more inclined we are to believe it. Even a known lie repeated often enough, starts to become convincing.
- Emotion: The more emotion the information evokes, the fewer exposures are required for it to become a conviction. An extreme example of this is a phobia, which, because the emotions the exposure evokes are so strong, usually requires a single exposure to become established for life.
- Choice: If one wants to believe something, one becomes much more receptive. The stronger the desire (emotion) for something to be true, the quicker and easier it is accepted as true.
Belief Versus Conviction
“Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing” (James 1:6—7). Now, what kind of belief is Jesus talking about, when he says that we should have faith? For the sake of clarity, I distinguish between belief and conviction.
Every conviction starts out as a belief, but not every belief becomes a conviction.
Belief is when you think something is a certain way—for example, you believe that someone else is older than you—if you find out that he is not, you might be mildly surprised, but you would not perceive this as a major issue in your life.
Conviction is a much stronger version of belief. For example, you have conviction that if you drop a lead weight, it will fall downwards, not upwards—if this did not happen, you would be extremely shocked, and would start wondering if you were perhaps dreaming.
Conviction is when there is absolutely zero doubt—this is as close to knowing as one can get. In fact, one often hears people express a conviction, in those very words, when they say for example. “I know that I have been saved!”
But of course, actual knowledge is not possible, unless the thing known has already happened. (Even then, it is still a case of we believe it has happened, because there is no objective experience. So our ‘knowledge’ is nothing more than belief, based on perception).
And when we are talking about conviction regarding some future event, the only place the object of our conviction (namely, this future event) could already have happened, is in our imagination.
So, it is clear that the only possible way to have true conviction, is to accept in our imagination that what we want has already happened.
“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall receive them” (Mark 11:24).
How a Thought Grows Into a Belief
A thought is just a thought, until emotion and repetition empower it, and cause it to grow into a belief.
To illustrate this concept, let’s say:
- Because a thought is just a thought, it has a nominal value of 1,
- Emotion can have any value from 0% (absolute indifference) to 100% (strongest emotions possible—e.g. fear of death),
- The strongest belief possible, namely, Conviction, has a value of 100%.
- %Belief = Thought×Emotion×Frequency = (1×%E×F),
- In the case of a phobia, the emotion is so strong that one exposure is enough to cause Conviction = (1×100%×1) = 100%,
- In the case of a much repeated lie, the emotion might be very low, therefore, many exposures are required to cause Conviction = (1×1%×100) = 100%,
- Whereas, if the emotion were reasonably strong, less exposures would be required to cause Conviction = (1×10%×10) = 100%,
- Because a conviction is the strongest belief possible, once a thought has become a conviction (i.e. once it has reached full power of 100%), no amount of extra exposure will make it stronger.
for allowing me to share this article, Believing is Seeing. I hope you found this discussion interesting and informative. Most of all, I hope you found it thought provoking.
Would you like to:
- Read the first article in this series on logical decisions, beliefs and convictions? You can find it here,
- Read the next article in this series on logical decisions, beliefs and convictions? You can find it here,
- Read the entire story of our purpose in this physical reality and how we create our own reality? You can find it here.
Fond regards, until next time
John RichardAbout the Author
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