why belief matters

They say "when in Rome, do as the Romans do". Well yes, in Rome the word belief is inevitably associated with the concept of god, after all the Vatican is IN Rome. But we're not in Rome, we're in the US and we practice a 'seperation clause", which allows us to use the word belief in its proper place and definition. The entire concept of the establishment clause is to prevent linking Religious beliefs with Secular beliefs. Let us practice the seperation clause and not let theists dictate our language. They will just confound it!!
But the Romans being referenced in the phrase were pre Christian Romans. They were polytheists. Does that mean that when you're in Rome you have to be a polytheist or at least act like one? Suppose it's Saudi Arabis we're visiting? Even if you claim it refers to modern day Rome, would we have to practice Catholicism as the Romans, do? Can any of us switch our beliefs around because we're in the company of people who think differently than we do? If it's just a matter of "acting" as the Romans do, do we have to go to confession, attend Mass and receive communion to act as the Romans do? How far does this "acting" go? Do we just have to go through the motions or do we have to believe? I'll be in Rome soon, so I'd like to know before I go whether I'll have to turn Catholic again. Lois LOl, I don't believe you need go that far, but I do believe it would be considered bad manners to stand in the middle of St Peter's Square holding an atheist sign debunking the word belief. It might be interestiing, though. In fact, I'll bet it's been done. Lois

I keep thinking of the Star Trek episode “The Changeling”, where Nomad asks “What is opinion?” Spock replies that an opinion is a “belief or judgment”. Nomad concludes that this is an insufficient response. Being a machine, Nomad classified all things as either fact or not fact. Unfortunately humans don’t have that luxury. Most of the time we have to do the best we can with judgments about what is most likely true in a given circumstance.

After reading posts on the use of the words belief and faith.... Whether one realizes or admits it we humans use belief and faith every day of our lives. You might try to cut the terms out of your speech but they will still be operative regardless. I'm pretty sure any decent psychologist would agree. For example have you ever tried stopping the rationalizing we all do so often when making decisions? So I thought it wise to add to those the often accompanying term identity. A few other related terms are attitude, character and conscience. This is all in the ontological category of philosophy and can be construed or argued we are created beings. The first two more often than not produce a change in one's identity when moved from unbelief to belief in the gospel testimonies, etc and therefore a change in world view (creation vs some sort of evolution). This change in belief produces change of heart/mind which leads to repentance. This leads to a change in attitude and behavior and then faith/peace/patience/understanding/wisdom (i.e. character) begins to grow with the addition of the Holy Spirit. So then also there's the changes that occur in the adoption of scientific/materialist/philosophic/religious beliefs which result in all kinds of variety of identity. The main difference between these two and other belief systems is that true conservative bible believers ( not fake professing, far right or the far left liberal types) become similar or "like minded" and many topics/subjects get ironed out between ourselves like differences in doctrine or interpretation of scriptures while the other becomes less coherent like the differences in the posts above and the other threads. A wide variety and opinion based discussion/argument ensues instead of harmony. Thought I'd add this important clarification and addition of the term identity to this thread "Why belief matters" because I can't think of anything more important to a human being than what they chose to believe in this life and the change that is so well documented by countless human testimonies of changed lives by belief in Jesus Christ and the often frustrating puzzling lack of change that occurs in all the other belief/faith systems. They may change but it is usually an adoption of some behavior, attitude which is superficial and takes energy and conscious effort to maintain vs real true change from within that takes only some willingness to conform/obey. Another way to put that is natural stays natural and spiritually unregenerate.
Do you really think anyone chooses to believe in anything? If so, you can choose to change your belief, let's say in Jesus, on a whim. interesting position.