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Why do you believe the things you do?

PART A
Most people have views that are strongly influenced and informed by philosophy, often without realizing it. Discuss the following:
1. Identify a view you have - whether on politics, religion, science, culture, or even the media and entertainment - that might be regarded as being related to philosophy.
2. What kind of reasons do you have for holding that belief?
3. What figure from the history of philosophy section do you think might have some views that are similar, or at least relevant, to your own?
4. Explain why you chose that particular figure.

PART B
Many philosophers insist that our most strongly held beliefs should be examined and critically evaluated.
1. Explain what philosophers mean when they say that beliefs need justification?
2. What is the importance of subjecting our beliefs to critical scrutiny?
3. What are the advantages of believing something without examining it?
4. What are the disadvantages?
5. Identify a specific belief you have that you think is worth defending, and then explain your reasons for holding that belief.

Be sure to include logical reasoning as well as factual evidence in all your arguments.

Solution Preview

PART A
1. I believe that human beings have intrinsic value because they are created in the image of God. Their value is not based on their appearance, value to society, intellectual ability or wealth.

2. I believe the Bible is the word of God. The Bible teaches that God created the original humans (Adam and Eve) in His image. This means they contained a reflection of God's characteristics. Some of these characteristics include: creativity, emotion, personality, free will, the capacity for language, abstract thought and the desire for relationship. In spite of the fact that Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan instead of God, God pursued mankind motivated by His love and mercy. He sent his son Jesus to pay the price man had incurred for his disobedience; the penalty was death. Humans have value then because they are created in the image of God. The value of something is also determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. God was willing to give the life of his son Jesus in order for mankind to be restored to a right relationship with Him.

3. You should respond to this since you have the philosophy section. However, I would imagine that some of the things that Aristotle believed would support this position.

4. Aristotle spoke about virtue ethics. His idea was that a virtuous life was an ethical life. Pragmatism, ...

Solution Summary

This solution examines the reasons individuals have for holding to their beliefs. Most of our beliefs are influenced by philosophy, environment, tradition and a host of other factors. Understanding why we believe what we do is a strong deterrent to superstition and irrational beliefs. Over 930 words of original text along with links to sources for further research.

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