belief in a higher being

after having dinner with Sam Harris (and reading his book: End of Faith), i find myself thinking about religion and higher beings.

it is not a common thing to think about … especially for someone that is rational.

it is not rational to believe in God.   there’s not any proof in God.   and I am a highly rational person and engineer.   yet … yet i believe in God.   even though i am well aware it is not rational.

is it because there are so many unexplained things?   is it because i am a product of society and a specific upbringing?   i’m not sure.

but, as i am thinking, there are a lot of things i do that are not rational.    when i am at a restaurant, even if i will not ever be in that restaurant again, i leave a tip (and i tip the cab drivers, bell-boys, coat-check person AFTER i get my coat, etc).   that’s not rational either … but i do it. 

i also believe that most people are inherently good and that people often put others in front of their own self interest.   and this makes the world a better place to be in.   

maybe, even for us super-rational types, there is a side to life that is beyond the rational.   not sure if that means it is supernatural …

so … i sit here in a small struggle.   knowing i strongly believe in a higher being while knowing there is not proof to support my belief.

6 thoughts on “belief in a higher being

  1. john

    You say: “I believe in God.”
    Now, please: Define “belief,” and what it means when you say: “I believe.” Is it the same as when you say “I believe I stubbed my toe,” or “I believe in MC^2,” or “I believe that all men were created equal”? Why or why not?
    Then define “God.” Explain the scope of this word. Do you believe in my God? Saddam’s God? Why or why not?
    Then we can talk.

  2. Ben Casnocha

    An honest post Auren. We should definitely talk about this sometime. I’ve given it a lot of thought. I think it’s important for all people to think about things like this.

  3. Scott Young

    Faith offers certainty without proof.
    Science offers proof without certainty.
    Unfortunately men need certainty to live their lives and science offers none. Therefore faith must fill its place.
    I don’t personally believe in God, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a whole bunch of beliefs I don’t have proof for. Hopefully you will find your own certainty in your spiritual ideas.

  4. VirianFlux

    One irrational thing doesn’t make another irrational thing, rational.
    If you really thought tipping was irrational, why tip?
    Perhaps there are feelings that urge you to tip, what kind of reward mechanisms might we expect?
    I have a few suggestions:
    -tipping makes you feel good, because you didn’t HAVE to tip (unless you wanted to feel good perhaps?), you are making money, and thus are being valuble to people in society, so much so you can give people money when you didn’t ‘have to’
    -encouraging general, positive heuristics: perhaps waiters and waitresses are persuaded to think: ‘well-off men usually tip’ (and this makes them more likely to treat people like you well in the future)
    -perhaps there is no need to risk negative consequences of not tipping, just in case you DO come back there again, or your colleagues, friends or family do
    -perhaps you tip because you know the people receiving the tip will like it, your mirror neurons think ahead and have a positive association
    -perhaps when dining with company it reflects well on you to tip
    To me, it seems part of you wants to believe in things you can’t prove, while another part of you will never believe. So you will never totally believe in a higher being, perhaps there are evolutionary reasons for conforming with group opinion, while there are still evolutionary reasons for having rational, intelligent beings. Perhaps it was once usefull to believe in a god, or multiple…
    Have you heard of the simulation argument? To me it suggests the chances of their being a god or universal system-admin, are high. But does this make me believe in what is generally thought to be the Christian God? Nope, not a bit.
    What is the matrix? ;D


    Organised religion. Thats the problem. How many lives acrooss the histories, accross the world could have been avoid? But I do think however ir-rational ‘religion’ is and I do; Faith is the most important thing. I speak to the strongest aggostics and they have accepted the universe and everything in it they know they can (attemp) to explain, and they have a strong argument in ‘well…prove it’. I’m with them, yet I can’t accept this is all there is. Faith brings a comfort that nothing else can bring, and no matter how people would like to peal that onion you can’t. Not for some.

  6. best psychic 

    You are not alone in this struggle, most people are confronted everyday with the notion of faith and the supernatural, and it is up to them to believe or not. Most of them say they believe, just so they can leave the unexplainable things unexplained. While some say they believe because they know there is a higher power always at work in our lives.


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