I was musing on the concept of Belief the other day.
I wondered...and I still do wonder... if Belief is merely a process of Thought or if it goes deeper than mere thinking.
I have many beliefs, some fundamental, resilient and some much more fluid in their expression.
These beliefs? Are they mere products of my thinking over the course of my life? Or, do my beliefs come from a different kind of source?
Now, I will not call these Beliefs "Faith" here. I do think that there is a quite different thing going on in Faith than in mere Beliefs. Put it this way; if Belief were the Forest, Faith would be the river that run through it. It is connected but its not entirely related to the same thing. One can believe a lot of things but not all of them one will have faith in.
Back to the question :)
Belief is a conclusion. How we arrive at this conclusion is a mystery. One can believe and doubt all at the same time. A belief is something that can be questioned. Sometimes we hold on to very tenuous beliefs with rigorous determination because we fear losing them but we also find we can't sustain our arguments in favour of keeping that belief any longer. Dogmatic Assumptions are not necessarily "good" Beliefs.
Thinking drives Doubt like a roller-coaster but Belief is something much deeper than Thought. We can probably create Belief from a study of a subject through intellectual knowledge and understanding but once the thinking moves into the realm of Belief it becomes more of a 'Hyper-Thought'; a little different to conscious thinking processes but there nonetheless.
Beliefs are self-factualized concepts. We assume our Beliefs to be True and Correct and its only when we have Thought bring argument to bear on Beliefs that we need to consciously drag our Beliefs up from the core of our being and into the realm of thinking and mind. We cannot describe our Beliefs without Thought. We cannot find others who share similar Beliefs to our own without consciously iterating them in word and deed. In order to describe Belief, we need to construct around it words and ideas with our conscious minds. Thoughts are imposed onto our Beliefs and Beliefs feed our thoughts. Like the twin polarities of a battery if you like. This makes for an ever-present current of unseen energy coursing through each human being every single moment of their lives.
But, maybe I now believe that Belief is on a different plane to Thought and thinking.
Perhaps Belief is a State of Being. Mind, body and soul all play their part in the construction of Belief. Our physical body cannot lie, unless trained to do so. Muscles, sinews and tissue hold to its own truth. Thinking transcends the Physical but its also related to it. Soul is another thing altogether but perhaps its safe to assume we can call the Identity, the Spirit of a person's Character, "Soul"...the essence of our individual being here in the world. All these conspire to create and reinforce Belief.
Perhaps Belief is a lens. It is the crystal through which we make out much of our individual worldview. We, each of us, have an individual way of "seeing" the world. Our Beliefs will determine much of our thinking on this worldview. The core of our being, will either be reinforced or threatened, by challenges to our deeply held Beliefs. We in turn, make judgements, assumptions, and declarations based on this lens through which we view the world before us. Belief provides us with a view that is unlike anyone elses...albeit it can be similar to someone elses.
Belief is something we DO. It isn't always obvious what someone is thinking. However, what someone believes deep down at the core of their person; Mind, Body and Soul; will be borne out in their actions and their spoken words. So, Belief is a very observable thing. Some people will tell you things they say they believe but their bodies and their spirits will tell a very different story. Sometimes it might be because they have never brought their beliefs to the surface of conscious understanding and sought to think them through. This is a lie based on ignorance. Sometimes it is because they want to hide what they really believe and so attempt to deliberately construct a lie. This is dishonesty.
Our actions state what we truly believe underneath all our thinking, our physical selves and our soul.
Thought and Belief are definitely intertwined, but they are not necessarily the one and the same thing. What we think may not make us what we are...but Belief that makes it so.