Ah. . . how elegantly stated, Byron.
Genuine belief is involuntary—the result of evidence and reason founded on sound epistemology truly overwhelming healthy doubt, and it’s at least in theory, tentative, open to revision based upon further sound evidence and reasoning.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I’m not so sure that there is such a thing as “genuine” belief that is anything but self deception. Look how much you had to qualify it in the sentence above just to make it “reason-able”. Because the word has to be qualified using so many other terms, I find I might as well just use those other terms to more accurately describe my “thinking”.
I think the proper use of the word actually is to describe a voluntary self deception either made necessary or possible by a dearth of evidence or reasoning. People should hestitate before they declare their beliefs as those are the thoughts they have without reason. I think that respect for belief are the open door through which inerrant meme’s enter our experience to take up residence in our brain space.
[quote author=“Byron”] Most of the time, however (at least regarding religion), “belief” is used in place of presumption or pretense. Believers in the religious sense are really “presumers” or “pretenders.” If you really believe something you don’t need to go to a narcissistic weekly ego-stroking affirmation session to maintain it.
That’s pretty funny, but yes, belief is another word for pretense or presumption or self deception etc. They are synonyms. Antonym for belief is knowledge.