To what extent does belief preclude speculative thought? If to believe is to accept a proposition as being true (as my dictionary claims), do we undermine our belief by testing the proposition? To what extent does testing a proposition imply doubt.
I attend a private Christian university, so I find this question extremely important. I have given up using the word "believe" completely because it seems to undermine my need to question things. When people ask if I believe in God, Jesus-as-Christ, the Trinity, I feel I have to say, "no." Would proclaiming belief in those things while questioning their validity undermine what we mean by "belief"?
Did this question even make sense?
Traditional discussions of this question suggest that thereare two ways of understanding the relation between belief and knowledge. On theone hand, there is a tradition (tracable to Plato) which says that havingbelief about something precludes having knowledge about that thing. (Plato usestwo different words for these notions: belief is “doxa;” knowledge is “episteme.”He suggests that the things we can know belong to a special class of abstractentities called “Forms;” with respect to everything else, all we have isbelief.) At the same time, there is a tradition (which can also be traced toPlato) according to which knowledge is a special kind of belief: roughly,belief that is both true and justified. So there are two traditional answers toyour question: the first says that if you know something then you don’t (just)believe it; the second says that if you know something, then you must alsobelieve it.