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What is the difference between believing and accepting?

Michael Shermer talks about false beliefs. What if we accept rather than believe. Is that different? I think Buddhists would differentiate between the two

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    Jan 29 2012: One is because of reality and the other in spite of it.
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    Jan 27 2012: I think in this context, accepting is believing.Which is distinctly different to knowing.

    Knowing requires some form of evidence. Believing just requires you have faith in it being correct.Accepting means you believe in it, but not neccessarilly through evidence.

    In any cause, the lines can be blurred to see it any which way you want.
  • Jan 30 2012: I love how positive you all are about believing and accepting. I love that believing means no surrender.
    There may be another side to the two. What if believing stopped you while accepting put your opinions on hold and ready to to change?
    Another way of looking at it: what would be the hierarchy of consciousness: believing, accepting, knowing, understanding, experiencing, being... Not in any particular order.)
  • Jan 28 2012: Believing means no surrender and just going for your dreams or something

    Acceptance means letting go,moving on
  • Jan 27 2012: This is actually a very good question.

    For me personally, believing has a different depth to it than acceptance. Believing demands a commitment to something, a knowing, but more than that. It means I stake everything on that belief. I think it means taking action on what you truly believe. Being willing to do that is a huge task.

    Acceptance on the other hand, again for myself, can be very passive in its nature. It can mean that I have realized something is true. Acceptance can sometimes mean simple resignation to the "fact" out there. I think that acceptance can be active, but it takes work.

    I think that is where we often get confused. We assume a fact from authority, nature, or even intuition and never stop and question the fact. We rely on other's perceptions or ideas and accept what they say or think without assuring ourselves that in fact it is true.

    I think in terms of Truth and truths. I believe in both. I do think there is Truth that is understandable and knowable. It is to valued and believed and accepted. truths come and go. They go in and out of popularity, the scientific theory proves false, the common understanding is wrong and the truths, disappear or are replaced by others. It is easier for me sometimes, to accept those truths without considering whether are not they actually square with reality.

    We need in our lives both of these ways of knowing and acting. Surely what some people believe in is false. What some people accept as true is false. But there are things that are both believable and acceptable. We all need to ask ourselves the question however of how much we believe or accept squares with reality as we see it. That perhaps is another question.
    • Jan 27 2012: These are great answers and they all imply a certain seriousness. I especially like Michael's comment that believing carries commitment while accepting is passive. It does define the two as separate.
      I am not a Buddhist but I know Buddha said, "Believe nothing."I think, on the other hand he would champion accepting. What difference does that imply?
      • Jan 27 2012: Rett
        Here is the complete quote (or close to it maybe).
        “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

        Gautama was I think questioning authority, not so much saying "Don't believe anything." I think he was saying make sure what you believe does square with at least your reality, your common sense. Another similar quote from him:

        “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
        Buddha quotes (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

        A person would be totally non-committal to everything, in my understanding, if he truly "believed nothing." Human beings aren't like that. We do commit to ideas and act under what we believe.
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    Jan 27 2012: Accepting something is coming to terms with it. You do not have to believe in something to accept it. Accepting something is acknowledging it, understanding it, going with it.

    Belief is knowing something to be true. You can believe in something but not accept it.

    I think when you accept something then it is the final product of belief.
  • Jan 27 2012: I would distinguish belief as being a view you would champion and argue for, whereas acceptance would apply to a view you would not argue against.

    In other words, they are degrees along the same continuum to me.
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    Jan 27 2012: Well acceptance is in a way a form of belief

    and just like belief, you can accept things w/o have a sufficient reason for doing so...and when I analyzed the definition of both, there was nothing about the definition of acceptance that would suggest that one needed evidence to or sufficient reasons to accept things..

    but I do think that to accept things to be true or false does require more reasoning and evidence than belief.
  • Jan 27 2012: I like it. Sounds like you are saying, accept what is most likely true and believe regardless of truth or not. But then don't you have to accept that your beliefs may be incorrect?
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    Jan 26 2012: Example:
    I don't believe that gravity exists. I accept the fact that gravity exists as demonstrated by dropping a pencil.

    I believe that someone keeps moving my car keys. I can't verify it, but I believe it.