A mental attitude of acceptance or assent toward a proposition without the full intellectual knowledge required to guarantee its truth. Believing is either an intellectual judgement or, as the 18th century Scottish skeptic David Hume maintained, "a special sort of feeling with overtones that differ from those of disbelief." Beliefs have been distinguished according to their degree of certainty: a surmise or suspicion, an opinion, or a conviction. Belief becomes knowledge only when the truth of a proposition becomes evident to the believer. Belief in someone or something is basically different from belief that a proposition is true.


Belief is, in short, the single most powerful force in this world, and is only kept from grabbing the Universal Title by the overwhelming veto power of the supernova and the complete planetary eradication that it brings. This problem is rapidly being circumvented by the developing space program, which will free us of this planetary system and sever our fate from its. On close examination, this program is being fueled solely by Belief -- to wit, the Belief that there is something good out be had.. somewhere.. Out There. And so Belief asserts itself.

The supernova clause notwithstanding, Belief is the undisputed master of this Earth, and is perhaps the least recognized weapon of mass destruction in the human arsenal. This is, perhaps, caused by the fact all young people (called children in some circles) are infused with a more-than-healthy dose of Belief early in their lifetime, such that many of them can never remember a time when they were without it.

The individual who perhaps best understood the horrible power of Belief was René Descartes, a 16th century French Philosopher. He got it into his head that the only way to arrive at the ultimate truth concerning Man and God (that being a rather pressing question of the era) was to dismiss all your fundamental beliefs, going so far as to assume that your very eyes are lying to you, and build Truth upon fundamental Truth until you reached the correct and accurate state of the world today.

Given that his entire arguments took place in the weird metaphysical world of the mind, they are seen as either absolutely brilliant or complete hogwash. The continued ambiguity of the question testifies to the all-reaching monopoly Belief has on the human race.

People can babble on about Truth, or about Science, and about how they really determine who we are and where we’re going, but few people realize that both are directly subservient to Belief. Science is the study of Applied Truth, and Truth itself, as Descartes and all his boosters and detractors showed, can never be known.

People may preach that there must exist an Ultimate Truth, and all we have to do is sit long enough and think hard enough and we will find it.

This is Belief. You begin to see my point? It is at the root of everything.

George Orwell recognized the power of Belief. In his book, 1984, he pictured a society built totally on the Authority of Belief. (We’re at war with East Asia. We’ve always been at war with East Asia.) He portrayed a world in which the government dictated the very Beliefs of the masses: directly, effectively, and at whim. This total control led to the 1984 world: three massive countries exerting themselves to the utmost in states of perpetual war. That is power. Can an atomic bomb truly compare?

Look to the American Revolution. The French version thereof. Stalinist Russia; Mao in China. Pol Pot. Hitler. None of these people started with weapons, or science, or technology -- they wielded only Belief, and as the preacher often shouts, ‘Belief can move mountains’.

If a human mind was removed from its body, still dripping from its soggy stay in its brain, placed in a large, figurative vat and boiled vigorously for a long enough period of time, what would be left over would be concentrated, finely rendered beliefs, because when it comes down to it, you are your beliefs.

Your beliefs tell you who you are, and what you hold dear. Your beliefs dictate what you are capable of, and at what you will always fail. Your beliefs are the slippery center of your being, and really, on a fundamental level, can never be challenged, or attacked.

Be careful of your beliefs, for they are the point from which others gain first leverage, then power, and finally domination over you. Once someone knows your beliefs -- your real, deep-down beliefs -- they can begin to control you. One you know the beliefs of a large enough group of people, you can manipulate them, and force others to believe, and it grows.

People put great stock in standing armies and huge arsenals and massive spending, but in the end its only Belief that gives people the Will to use the tools you set before them. After that, all else is trivial.

Don’t beware what a person has, or what he might do. Beware the person’s beliefs. Without them, the man is nothing, and can do nothing, but with sufficient Belief, a man can do anything . Really and truly. This is the most powerful force in existence. Harness it at your own risk.

Be*lief" (?), n. [OE. bileafe, bileve; cf. AS. gele�xa0;fa. See Believe.]


Assent to a proposition or affirmation, or the acceptance of a fact, opinion, or assertion as real or true, without immediate personal knowledge; reliance upon word or testimony; partial or full assurance without positive knowledge or absolute certainty; persuasion; conviction; confidence; as, belief of a witness; the belief of our senses.

Belief admits of all degrees, from the slightest suspicion to the fullest assurance. Reid.

2. Theol.

A persuasion of the truths of religion; faith.

No man can attain [to] belief by the bare contemplation of heaven and earth. Hooker.


The thing believed; the object of belief.

Superstitious prophecies are not only the belief of fools, but the talk sometimes of wise men. Bacon.


A tenet, or the body of tenets, held by the advocates of any class of views; doctrine; creed.

In the heat of persecution to which Christian belief was subject upon its first promulgation. Hooker.

Ultimate belief, a first principle incapable of proof; an intuitive truth; an intuition.

Sir W. Hamilton.

Syn. -- Credence; trust; reliance; assurance; opinion.


© Webster 1913.

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