Power and Beliefs Perspectives from Neurotheology

Was the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq the decision of President Bush alone? Surely not! His advisers, his staff members, and the people of the US were in support of this action. However, it was the final decision of the president to do what he ‘believed’ was right to protect his country. The keyword in the above paragraphs is ‘belief’. Beliefs are assumptions, theories, explanations, conclusions, and states of mental frameworks that help us make sense of our experiences. Beliefs are the foundation upon which we build our expectations. President Bush believed that the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq was the best plan to safeguard his country. Another person in his place at that time might have made a different decision. Therefore it is said that beliefs serve a purpose. They are key components of a person’s personality and sense of identity. Many of our reactions to others are based on our beliefs and our perceptions of theirs, and it is impossible to understand racism, prejudice, religious and national conflicts without considering disagreement in basic belief systems. We join many groups because we believe the group will support our beliefs, and our participation in groups changes many of our beliefs. Even our mundane or consequential behaviors are affected by what we believe. These behaviors also have an effect on the people we come into contact with.Although humans believe in more things they are able to imagine, beliefs can be classified into two major groups: individual and collective/social. Individual beliefs are represented by assumptions, conclusions, explanations, theories, schemas, states of mind, attitudes, etc. Beliefs are implicit and explicit frameworks that help us make sense of our experiences and serve as the foundation upon which humans build their short-term and long-term expectations. Beliefs and belief systems can also be scientific or psychological, religious or mystical, economic or political, cultural or social with much influence from technology and many ethical implications.