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Related Words, Beliefs, Background

Assessing Worldviews; Examining Beliefs

alphabetical listing: A to K 

  alphabetical listing, continued: L to Z
adopting healthy beliefs -- where the evidence for or against buying into a particular belief is not persuasive one way or the other, deciding whether to adopt the belief based on the extent to which it will promote your health and the health of the society you live in. Example: Consider whether to believe in the idea that human beings are all connected to each other in an unseen way. Whereas clearly in the three dimensional world perceived by our ordinary senses human beings are separate, unconnected entities, the possibility exists that humans could be linked in other ways: in higher spatial dimensions, in a spiritual realm, by each being connected to God, etc. Suppose after investigating pro and con evidence related to this belief you are still undecided as to its ultimate truth, but do become convinced that if in fact this were true, and everyone believed it, the world would be a better place -- or at least if you believe it your psychological health will be enhanced (you won’t feel so alone, so alienated, etc.) So you weave this belief and others into your worldview because they have psychological advantages and make you a healthier, more together person and, if others believed them, could make the world a better place -- not because you are unequivocally convinced that they are part of the ultimate, true description of Reality. Similarly you do not buy into other beliefs, not because you’re convinced they are untrue, because you see that they could potentially be unhealthy to you or to society. Example: as a young child you decide not to believe in the idea that if you behave badly that you will burn in hell because burning in hell scares you and gives you nightmares. You decide to behave (for other reasons) but not believe in hell and this choice seems healthy.

attitude--a characteristic evaluative orientation and / or response tendency toward something previously experienced or encountered.  The associated evaluation can be positive (like), negative (dislike), or neutral  (no opinion.)  Beyond this evaluation--which may or may not be directly communicated--observing the particular response allows more about the underlying attitude to be inferred. Attitudes form based on inputs from three domains: 1) cognitive (thoughts, beliefs), 2) affective (emotions, feelings), and 3) conative (volition, action tendency or disposition).

justification of belief -- This involves 1) believing that according to some standard or by some criterion a statement is actually true, 2) having evidence or data to support the above conclusion, and 3) evaluating the certainty with which the belief is established. In this latter regard, if the evidence or data is complete and fully applicable or relevant to the standard or criterion, the belief can be accepted with certainty; if the evidence is only partially complete and / or not fully applicable or relevant, some doubt should accompany accepting the belief, if it is accepted at all. And, of course, the standard or criterion used should be subjected to similar scrutiny, or at least identified when promoting the belief


life coach – one who offers support to people who are struggling with life’s problems.  It is possible to become trained and certified in this relatively new profession.  The term generally refers to those who specialize in life or personal coaching, but some who offer assistance to aid those desiring career counseling, help in starting a small business or advancing an organization’s goals, etc. may also think of themselves as life coaches.  Since happy and productive lives are ultimately based on healthy worldviews, if an individual is having difficulty assessing values and understanding / articulating his or her worldview, the right life coach may be of great help.

reason vs. faith—essentially the distinction here is between belief supported by facts and concepts, ultimately linked to observation and experience, which fit together in a coherent way as part of a useful, logical framework, and belief for which there is no such basis, but instead only one’s unshaken feeling of confidence, trust, and willingness to believe.  When one’s knowledge and experience is limited, belief can be extended based on trusting the authority of someone else, rather than doing one’s own investigation into the rational basis for belief.  Sometimes, there is no way to rationally or scientifically decide and anyone holding such belief holds it through faith.  In this way faith can be connected with belonging.  Some see faith as a valid basis for knowledge, others say it provides no such basis.  Some see reason as threatening faith--meaning as one increasingly relies on it, one’s reliance on faith diminishes.  

useful fiction -- even if you mostly don’t belief in something, if believing has psychological advantages then for you this belief can be a useful fiction. This is related to the practice of adopting healthy beliefs.

worldview theme--given a formal name and description,  this refers to the beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior that come together in a way that is articulated in similar fashion by lots of people. Many such themes can be used to characterize a person's worldview.     


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