Can you choose to believe?

Bob tries to fall asleep, but he is too excited. His tooth is under his pillow and he wonders what the Tooth Fairy will bring him. He can’t wait to be tomorrow morning.

In the middle of the night, Bob startles awake. There was a loud crash in his room. He turns on the light and sees his mother by his bed. She had tripped over his toys in the dark. She is holding a little package. A little package just like those that the Tooth Fairy leaves under his pillow… He is sure it has been his parents all along. The Tooth Fairy doesn’t exist! Bob starts sobbing. He loved the idea of the Tooth Fairy.

Falling asleep thinking about the tooth fairy was so sweet. Now that feeling is lost forever. Could Bob decide to believe again? How could he choose to give up his doubts?

Mary is having a difficult week. She lost her job and does not know how she will pay her rent next month. She reassures herself thinking that god is watching her and will look out for her. Everything will be OK.

Joe also lost his job. He will be out on the street in a few weeks if he doesn’t find another job. He would like to believe in god and that he would take care of him. But he doesn’t. He just can’t.

Could he choose to believe in god? Somehow, through your education, your upbringing, the people who have influenced you, your experience, you believe or you don’t. How could you choose to throw away your doubts?

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If god chooses those to whom he is revealed, then it is his plan that atheists do not believe. Why doesn’t he make everyone believe?

If you have no power over your belief, how can doubt be criticised or faith praised? The best people can do is close their minds to doubt, refuse to consider questions, think about contradictions. Is that a quality we want to encourage?

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Stupid or crazy?

Bob strongly believes he will win the lottery and buys a ticket. He believed this the week before, but didn’t win. But, this week he is sure. His coworkers make fun of him.

Joe strongly believes in god and prays for good fortune. His prayers weren’t answered the week before, but he keeps praying. He is respected for his faith.


When someone strongly believes some improbable story and keeps believing against recurring evidence, we either laugh at or are worried for the person. We think they are either stupid or crazy. The only exception is religious or other superstitious beliefs. Why do we value irrational beliefs and the behaviours that are related in people’s worldview, when we don’t in every other part of their lives?

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