What it Means to Believe

How to imagine belief into substance

The true meaning of belief is to powerfully imagine“.

Humans have great imaginations and will consider criticism of such supernatural/religious fantasy as an affront to character. If you cannot imagine what they imagine at a ridiculously high level, you are not fit for the kingdom of god.

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”—Mark 9:24 / ie; Lord, I can imagine that; help my imagination!

Finding the right things to imagine is the key to strong faith. “In my fathers house there are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you“. Notice he never explains what it is like in heaven, but lays it at the feet of your imagination—the most powerful tool in the playbook.

Imagine that! Belief/imagination/religion is to pretend that the question trumps the answer and the search is the true meaning. A philosophical approach that sets “I don’t know” to wordplay. There are answers, but few want to know much beyond feeling good by believing in a system with no substance.

Now we are at an impasse. I am supposed to imagine the unimaginable, and believe that select humans have a personal relationship with it. The masterful play on human psychology—to pretend substance comes through belief and arrival rests on the pinnacle of imagination.

Meanwhile, we imagine a Saviour, someone to come down out of the sky to fix our wastefulness while we remain a greedy people and rationalize human destructiveness by waiting it out—but belief in god will not save us. That is up to us to address reality.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

85 thoughts on “What it Means to Believe”

  1. Red Cogitans / Res Extensia. Even the greatest minds of logical discourse found solace in faith, or the simple capacity the human mind has to manifest ether into matter through the simple acts of belief in hard work.

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    1. But in western culture our initial premise, our training from the beginning is a belief that we are “made” and on probation, which that belief leads to what we have today—a culture that reshapes the world to fit its beliefs. You are here as a visitor, a one time player in a very specific game. We raise our children to accept the myopic monetization of life as normal and the only hope for mankind is to beat this place, including ourselves into submission.
      Or the other current option is to believe the universe is dumb, a freak accident ruled by libido and there is nothing before nor after. I’m open to discover a way of preservation and oneness—a more complete way of seeing this experience than the popular religions (which have yet to meet its objectives) while we continue to spiral divided.
      Beliefs have become a destination, not a temporary waypoint to achieve an objective. Such beliefs are not helpful to humanity. Yes, no, maybe?

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      1. Hello Jim. I am not speaking of a Western perspective. When we delimit aspects of West versus East, self versus Self, Man vs. God, we fall into the common paradoxical nature consciousness affords us. Unfortunately, this is an all to human phenomenon, that stands as the basis of exclusionary versus inclusionary methods.
        You are using as a basis for your methodology aspects of psychology, what appears Freaudian in nature, if our reference to Libido is correct. However, within the tenets of Jungian analysis, a dualistic aspect of psychology is present, which builds upon the reductive nature of the empirical sciences. However, these notions of philosophy, primarily Western in nature, do not even begin to touch upon the monistic aspects of Eastern models of philosophy, which unites Atman and Brahman into one objective reality, a notion that some great philosopher’s such as Descartes was privileged to know and understand.
        To think and to exist. We build upon those foundations from the common belief in one’s ability to think. However, this is not inclusive of the ether needed to bring that which is ether into the material form. Faith, persistence, and hard work.

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        1. Thanks DM for the insightful comment. Certainly faith in the right perspective moves us to achievement, and I think we mostly agree that is a necessary element of operations. My problem is that faith now has become an honor in itself. The “belief” is heralded as some type of achievement, while it is really, merely a thought conviction without evidence that takes no academic or effort to achieve it at all, but it is treated like the pinnacle of being. In reality it has bred stagnation of thought, achievement, and exploration.
          And those same beliefs are what certainly divides humanity. I don’t think what people believe is nearly as rooted in the plague of strong belief itself. Belief, the regionally based thought convictions (really without evidence other than a long history of platitudes and division)
          It’s interesting that challenging someone’s belief is considered an affront to character, when in reality it should be more pliable to actually benefit us.

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          1. I see your point. The logical discourse you engage in is faith based. The tenets of Western philosophical discourse crumble with the addition of monistic theories of consciousness. I will explain.

            Part of the problem I see is that Western models of religion have become dogmatic, and with that, they have excluded other areas where growth can occur. This is where the power of psychoanalysis and other methods of scientific discourse have had a great effect, but eventually fail with a reductive aspect of reasoning. You see, when we are reduced, we cower, and become less than. But when we expand, we show areas where our own internal growth can mirror and amplify the growth of others, and take part in the collective Self. Carpe Diem!!!

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      2. Quote: “A culture that reshapes the world to fit its beliefs.” Indeed, how true. And if it was true only of religion, but the same can be said of politics and certainly capitalism, or money.

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    1. That’s funny. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you today. Remember, things aren’t always what they seem, even after they seem like it. Hehe. When I ask for signs I am simply looking for confirmation that these people are indeed the people of God, and not impostors. There is nowhere in the Bible to excuse this. It’s just one of a host of inadequate claims. Virtually every item in the Bible is at odds with what we see with our own eyes.

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            1. Haven’t you combed the internet yet to find the textbook answer to my questions? It’s hard to be you, but beneath that indoctrination is a real person. It’s hard to find out who people really are these past 1000 years. Quoting creationist science bits just doesn’t do you justice

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  2. Already, starting from backwards the writers were inspired by God – as many writers proclaim. And firstly, the neat thing about God is he forgives our sins. And lastly, the signs are everywhere – that’s what makes most people believers.

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    1. People have proven they’ll believe anything. It’s much easier to fool someone than it is to convince them they’ve been fooled. The natural man is actually the believing man. From the time they are born they are gullible. You get points for doing something few can help but do. I notice you didn’t address my request. If you were a believer you’d be able to at least turn water into whiskey (better miracle) or make the blind see. Of course Christians should all be world class ophthalmologists and have no lame among them. You were promised these things. If you are not getting them it means the book is a lie or you’d imply don’t believe it like you claim.
      These writers that were inspired by god have had to struggle to keep up with the morality of men. God (the writers) have demonstrated very well, if there was a god he is quite cruel or incapable.

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      1. Really well said Jim.

        ‘It’s much easier to fool someone than it is to convince them they’ve been fooled.’ – They sit poles apart as folks run toward one and will kill when challenged with the other. The other way round would be preferable though I am not for killing, more custard-pie in the face-ing.

        – Esme Cloud

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        1. Why, thank you dear. I cannot take full credit, for that little snippet was brought to me by Sha Tara just the other day. I love it! I would like to see Christians itemize their beliefs and compare them with what we see with our own eyes. Nice to see you as always.

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  3. Food for thought. It is impossible to be an atheist because an atheist cannot prove that God does not exist. The correct term is agnostic – neither believing or disbelieving in God. The dexterity of your posts gives claim to the aforementioned.

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    1. So with your definition, you are an agnostic? You cannot prove that god does it doesn’t exist either. I simply don’t believe the story. I see the outcomes of the Greek/western depreciation of the inferior human and its outcome is entrenched in mediocrity.

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      1. I am not agnostic because the existence of God to me has been proven. Researching Intelligent design and observing the miraculous conformity of our universe proves to me that there is actually a divine intelligence.

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        1. I am an atheist. There is little to convince me the natural order of things needs guidance to align itself with compatible attractions. I do not naturally concur or conclude any god or gods, but only by desperate, impatient persuaders and force-fed answers are we convinced—surrender to its message or be damned.
          Humans are better than what your system has to offer. Ever since the Greek/Christian philosophy deprecated the human being as insufficient—and through fear have us convinced we are unworthy (even to tie his shoes) and have essentially stalled the cause of humanity for 2000 years or more.
          Your god is far to small and getting smaller by the decade, to be of any consequence.

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            1. This is actually an idea, but it is false on two fronts. If you actually believed in god and Christianity, why do you behave in private like he’s not even there? There are no true believers. They will do in private with god, what they would never do even in front of the most vile humans (The source of morality?) Faith is a complete farce in that way and this—no signs follow them that believe. Either the scripture is a lie or there are no believers on planet earth. Jesus (the writers) even stated it would be “greater signs than these”. I have to ask this to know if you are an impersonator or a real believer—can you show any signs? Can you show this power god (the writers) promised without excuse? He promised me tools to work with and I tested them for fifty years. A bit long for belief without results, but I gave it my best and I made every excuse known to man. Turns out I had to leave. My faith had developed to a point where integrity became valuable to me.

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  4. Jesus didn’t need to tell us what it is like in heaven. Dr. Robert Jeffress wrote a whole book on it, right down to answering the question of whether fluffy will be there.

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            1. Well shit wrangler. Now you know why I write irreligious —never run out of ideas when an invasive species lives on your spread. How the Texas heat treating you?

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    1. Yes. Sorry Bill. Isn’t it odd that we spend so much time analyzing things we admittedly can’t or don’t know, and point the finger at atheists for subjective truth. Here’s a real truth—we’re over consuming our planet! Seems like that would be more important than imagining spirits.

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      1. Right. I occasionally think (but don’t know what to think) about there being as many (more?) of us alive today as have ever lived. The planet will survive. Not so much us.

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        1. Well it’s still early. Wait till 2100 when we hit 12 billion. We can all learn to live in congested pollution and like it because it’s the spiritual things that matter most. We can live in a fucking sewer with pretended belief in god and we’ll take our morsel of peace (of mind).
          I wonder what believers will think then about the 2nd coming?

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  5. Look , up in the sky! Is it a bird, a plane, the second coming of Christ? No! It’s water vapor and methane clouds, nitrogen oxides and mercury. My brother doesn’t recycle, because this earth isn’t really important. God will take care of everything. He believes.

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    1. I have a brother like that too. Why worry? Better yet, why not hope it gets so bad that the end times hustles in? They may get their wish with the arctic burning right now. It’s getting a tad warm, isn’t it. Little by little.

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        1. Even if I was a believer I’d say hell no, not on my watch! What is wrong with people. Perhaps we have the same brother? We are all one in the lord

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  6. One of my problems with empathizing with religious mentalities centers on the improbability of the premise. To believe in something that cannot be defined as to what, who, how and where takes a lot of imagination. Which means what they purport to believe in is by definition imaginary.

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  7. It’s true, the very best writers don’t ‘describe’ much at all. It’s rewarding for the reader to fill in the gaps, to paint the faces, the bodies, the streets.

    Notice how there is absolutely no physical description of Jesus, or Moses/Abraham for that matter.

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    1. I really do think it was imperative for the entire thing to have the least amount of evidence as possible. Any evidence at all would diminish faith, which manipulation is the key play on the human psyche where they will defend it using hormones, without evidence their right to hope. Dismantling faith would not end religion, but it would certainly cure the bullshit elements of stubborn pride over their best guess at belief

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        1. You remember how Jonathan Edwards stumbled across his evangelical preaching style where everyone started copying This charismatic crap? People we’re killing themselves after his sermons. I don’t think that much effort went into it, but I could be wrong. Think about the greatest minds of the era, what they had built on over the generations of great philosophers. Plato, Sócrates, etc. They weren’t dumb by any means to use some key insights to manipulate the masses. Why else would you choose something with ZERO evidence? It is imperative there is no evidence for faith to work.

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          1. Faith, by definition, precludes evidence. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” There you have it. When faith based believers start pushing forth physical evidence for their beliefs, they are contravening the very basis for their faith. Too bad they’re mostly too dumb to get that point. Imagine (say what?)… yes, just imagine that if Christians, instead of foisting their beliefs on others or fabricating ‘evidence’ for their fairy tale they would, instead, attempt to live the life of faith as expounded explicitly in the synoptic gospels. What if they were all and sundry generous, kind, gentle, peaceful, patient, soft spoken, helpful, self controlled, loving to a fault, including loving their enemies, compassionate… what if they “sold their possessions, gave the proceeds to the poor AND THEN actually “followed” their Jesus as he ostensibly asked them to? What if they stopped preaching and started living? I don’t engage conversation with faith-based people simply because there isn’t one ounce of truth in anything they have to offer to me. I have a standard approach to proselytizing Christians, a simple challenge: show me, right now, the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God inside you. Don’t give me demagoguery, show me your power.

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            1. Show me! That is fantastic. But you are part of the wicked generation that seeks a sign. Apologetic gymnasts 8:22

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            2. How did they get away with this? Tell us what we can believe, what questions were allowed to ask, and certainly don’t tempt the lord with your pitiful little wish for a demonstration? Well played. Tragic, but masterful.

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            3. Actually it is totally legitimate to expect to see signs and wonders in the presence of “true” believers, i.e., those who do have the indwelling spirit of god, and I quote,
              “Mk. 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
              Mk. 16:18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
              Mk. 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
              Mk. 16:20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
              When I ask for signs I am simply looking for confirmation that these people are indeed the people of God, and not impostors. Needless to say they don’t want people to know this. They’re all and sundry literally driving without a license. Should we wonder at the corruption, the subterfuges, the lies which are the real signs that accompany those who claim to believe? When I believed I made it a condition of my faith that these signs would accompany me and manifest through me as a given. When it steadfastly did not happen I was given no choice but to quit. You can’t work a job if you are given neither the tools nor the sustenance to make it happen. The alternative is to fake it but I was also taught that was a great sin, mockery of God’s power. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. So if I could be more “me” without God; if I could approach people without prejudging them, with the only intent being to be of some practical assistance, then that had to be my choice.

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            4. Those scripture quotes reminded me so much of the “Holy Roller” church I used to attend. Funny thing though. The healings and the signs that follow and the tongues, etc. all tended to be confined within church walls.

              This isn’t to say there weren’t “genuine dedicated and devoted” evangelical pastors who took their “faith” outside the church to “lay hands on the sick” and speak gibberish to a dying church member. But for the most part, people forgot the scriptures once they walked outside.

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    2. ‘the very best writers don’t ‘describe’ much at all. It’s rewarding for the reader to fill in the gaps, to paint the faces, the bodies, the streets.’ – ooh I have a small sync going on with you there John, for only today I wrote the same thing about writing fiction. (The bible is also fiction of course.)

      – Esme – sync-me *monocle falls out all Pimpernel style

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        1. By the Gods and medium sized frogs . . . this is just where I am in many ways, it’s somewhat like e.e.cummings and his freedom with poetry to some extent. You can do so much more with so many less details that just fill up you’re shopping bags.

          – Esme knowing J of Zfame gets this totally whilst being very glad her editor doesn’t bother reading her blog for all the arguments this would cause.

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  8. The worst part of religious imagination for me is that one is not doing their own imagining, but imagining what someone else has told them to imagine. It was this realization that opened the door for me to leave religion, and the idea of god, behind. Looking back to earlier times in life it is easier to realize what happened to us than it was when it was happening. What I had to fight for then is obvious now. My imagination is the cosmos, where it used to be a grain of sand.

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    1. Certainly. We’re not even believing our own story, but that of the expert men of words, when our own perceptions are stashed away waiting while we follow gibberish at half the potency.

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      1. Supposed “experts”! They tell us they are experts over and over until we allow them to be, when really the only thing they are expert at is believing what they themselves were TAUGHT to believe…

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    1. Unfortunately persuasion holds most of the tools. It is unusual to find ones that are aware the power is within themselves, when from the word boo we are trained to fear and doubt through deception and shun reason for belief. Religion has tapped our insecurities and created a turn key salvation out of human ignorance. One that falls quite short of our potential, mind you.
      One thing you and I spoke about, what is true requires no belief. For your methods to work I should be able to follow certain steps and achieve a level of enlightenment without submitting to a system that has never met its objectives. Capishe?

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  9. Meanwhile, we imagine a Saviour, someone to come down out of the sky to fix our wastefulness while we remain a greedy people and rationalize human destructiveness by waiting it out—but belief in god will not save us. That is up to us to address reality.

    Excellent. Accepting reality is a rational process, but we are primarily emotional creatures. Fear is a powerful emotion, and fear of the unknown compels us to seek the sanctuary of faith and self-delusion. Facing the unknown (both inwardly and outwardly) requires curiosity and courage – not the false kind like bravado, but the cooler intellectual kind which is not all that common among people today.

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    1. I was reading grouchy farmer this morning and he was in awe of a quiet morning. We are not evolved to appreciate the constant noise, light, and air pollution. It was a beautiful quiet morning and even all the birds were out and appreciating the early Sunday quiet. We’re giving up the best parts of life to accumulate garbage and endless hustle. For what? There is a better way.

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      1. That is an astute and intriguing observation. I’ve done some research on humankind’s transition from tribal hunter-gatherers to complex agricultural (and later technological) societies. From a biological standpoint, human evolution has not kept pace. Underneath the thin veneer of civilization, we still are what we were 10,000 years ago. However, this doesn’t mean that we are incapable of adapting. It just means that natural evolutionary processes are too slow, and that more responsive sociological processes are required.

        That said, the ethical question then arises about whether or not we should be pursuing social evolution. Some see our natural state as preferable, while others envision an enlightened and progressive future. With respect to the problem of religion and faith-based psychology, the choice is clear but not necessarily hopeful. Tribalism breeds religion, but our future is most uncertain.

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        1. I suspect we’re not too different from other animals. Turn out most house pets into the wild and they adapt pretty quickly and in a generation or two they are right back into the wild, recapturing their old appearances and survival skills. Hunter gatherer I shall become (if I survive the initial crazy onslaught

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  10. Yea, we already have the answers. No need to look for something outside of us: “You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” Luke 17:21

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    1. I and the father are one? If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen an extension of the cosmic energy fields? Then one claimed he is the only way to it? Nice contradiction.
      I like the lost sayings of Jesus from the book of Thomas
      “(1) “The one who seeks should not cease seeking until he finds.
      (2) And when he finds, he will be dismayed.
      (3) And when he is dismayed, he will be astonished”
      . I think dismayed is a great choice of words here. All the searching here and there, but it is us that is what we search for. “This unknown is which is the foundation of the universe is precisely you. It’s not the you you think you are. It’s not your opinion of yourself. It’s not your idea or image of yourself. It’s not the chronic sense of muscular strain which we usually call “I”. You can’t grasp it—of course not, why would you? Need you suppose you could, what would you do with it and who would do what with it? You can never get at it. So there it is—Alan Watts

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      1. Haha, yup! That’s awesome I haven’t heard those lines of the lost sayings of Jesus but they seem true. And I always love me some Alan Watts! – one of my favorite philosophers.

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    1. But, does the recipient of such spells, good or bad, have to believe in the magic too? I have a Brazilian friend who gets really nervous (like he has something to hide) when he has had dealings with the curandera. He really believes it and maybe allows its power? I, on the other hand really feel nothing about it. Cast away, but I believe I’m immune. Does this mean we’re just making whatever reality we allow?

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      1. It depends on the magician and the target. If the spell is done in public, then the target is warned. The theory is that the target will contribute to the effectiveness of the spell. If it is done in secret, the target may never know. If you run into a string of bad luck or odd things happening, it could be magic.

        Magic is about changing the improbable to be more probable.

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        1. Or it could all be coincidence or luck. The magicians cannot demonstrate that their “spells” have done anything. it all goes back to “belief”. (the original post) And believing something does not mean something is true.

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          1. That is the one problem with chaos magic is it relies too much on the belief of the caster. It assumes that the mind is all powerful and can rearrange reality. Traditional or ceremonial magic relies more on correspondences, which seem to line up.

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