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Can someone simply will themselves to change beliefs?

This was actually asked on Yahoo Answers a bit ago, but I thought it was an interesting question and it's one I have brought up many times.

So do you think someone can simply will themselves to believe differently than they do? Why?

Answer Question

Asked by SabrinaMBowen at 3:50 PM on Mar. 14, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 40 (122,988 Credits)
Answers (27)
  • You can change your mind about anything at any time. I have a good friend that was once a hungho bible thumping Christian & now he's an atheist. I would have never thought that he would be. So of course, a person can change whatever they feel like changing.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:52 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I don't really think so. I tried to will myself into believing in Christianity for a long time, but in the back of my mind, I KNEW I couldn't do that. You can try to lie to yourself, but you'll never fully believe it. At east I couldn't.

    Answer by LovingSAHMommy at 3:53 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I truly believe it has to do with how much faith you have in what you believe if you have total faith no one can change you but if the faith is not there I think someone could have an easier time making someone believe something else

    Answer by buttonlts at 3:54 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I am confronted with things that get me to question my beliefs contantly. So I will go back and re-examine what I "think" is out there. If I find that things don't add up I change things. Maybe that is because I don't strictly follow any one religion - but I think if you are an atheist and you suddenly see a ghost - that might make you change what you believe. Many people have "ideas" about religion and not strict "beliefs" and it is a lot easier to change an idea.

    Answer by NHRachel at 3:56 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • mmmm I'm not sure about your wording - Can someone "will" themselves to change beliefs? Willing to me intimates a quick change or changing because of a pressing influence. I do think that experience is the best teacher. When I was little I believed in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy and now I know there is not an imaginary man who brings me presents or puts money under my pillow - experience has taught me this. Losing or changing ones religions, beliefs etc follows the same logic. I didn't will myself not to believe in Santa - it just evolved over time. I used to believe there was an imaginary man in the sky who judged our every move but experience has taught me that is not the case. that is a different question altogether isn't it. You are right, however, this is always an interesting question.

    Answer by 8Tinkerboo8 at 4:00 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I don't mean changing because you have proof of something, but simply because you decided you want to... Can a lifelong atheist (for example) just wake up and decide to believe in Catholicism?

    Comment by SabrinaMBowen (original poster) at 4:04 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • No. And yes.

    A normal, mentally healthy, emotionally stable individual? NO.

    A deluded, mentally unstable trending towards sociopath? YES.

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 4:06 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • Will or force yourself...not really. See various points of view and change your opinion based on new info,etc...yes.

    Answer by Amaranth361 at 4:10 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I just don't think you wake up one day and change a fundamental belief system - I mean you believe it because of some fundamental teaching or core belief you have - so for a normal person to just wake up and say "I'm THIS now" - No I do not believe that. A stable person grows and changes over their lifetime so anything is possible but no not just waking up one day unless you are Morgan Spurlock! HA HA

    Answer by 8Tinkerboo8 at 4:15 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I can only speak for myself. I can't make myself believe. It's just not possible.

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 4:16 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

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