Reasons to Believe

2017 ,    »  -   18 Comments
Ratings: 7.24/10 from 42 users.

Is belief an essential human need? Why do so many people harbor beliefs that are antithetical to scientifically proven facts? How does society preserve the sanctity of truth in the midst of widespread misinformation and delusion? These substantial questions drive the new documentary Reasons to Believe, a fascinating study of the many forces which form our political, religious and moral ideologies.

The film features insights from experts in the fields of science, psychology, sociology, and neuroscience. Each interview subject addresses the aspects of belief that are as old as humankind itself, and continue to define who we are and how we relate to the world today.

The need to believe seems to be stitched into the fabric of our DNA. The film sets forth the notion that our beliefs are often based on raw emotional need rather than rational thought and logical reasoning. We choose our beliefs based on how they make us feel, how they are reinforced by those around us, and how they help us integrate into our chosen group. Any scientific evidence that contradicts our strongly held belief systems are easily dismantled, dismissed and distorted. We will go to any lengths and embrace any illusion in order to justify our core beliefs.

We've witnessed this disturbing phenomenon play out in recent times through our politics, and the growing dismissal of the science behind climate change. Ideologies have made us more divided than ever before. But these tendencies express themselves in more than just political debate. They form the basis of all magical thinking, superstitions, conspiracy theories, and cult mentalities.

The film takes its time in exploring the facets of the human experience that enable our beliefs, including the role of evolution, the divide between perception and reality, the battle between fear and reward, and our need to discern patterns from chaos. Most interestingly, the film debates the rights of the individual to choose and practice their own beliefs even if they run of the risk of endangering the masses.

Reasons to Believe is an absorbing examination of human need, the pressures of group-think, and how we can break free of the social and psychological ties that distance us from truth.

Directed by: Ben Fama Jr.

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18 Comments / User Reviews

    jack stephens
  1. jack stephens

    If need to belief is stitched into our DNA then modern science could never have arisen. Evolution established itself against very fierce resistance because its logic is unavoidable for those able to weigh the evidence dispassionately. In the parts of the world gripped by the thrall of religious fanaticism where violence is commonly practiced against apostates belief remains very strong due to this kind of terrorism, not some kind of DNA determinism.

  2. ND3301
  3. ND3301

    Science is just another belief system, backed by "evidence" and dogmas. The core of any belief system is to be arrogant enough to believe you are right. It is the same rotten system where mistakes are inevitable inherited in every definitive conclusion made. The only difference is, that science uses more complex system of finding "evidence", to back their belief, making it harder to argue against.
    If you do not believe me, then just observe how scientific community reacts to any contradictory new findings, in their own field.
    Scientifically put, they disproved the majority of their own theories and facts, hence it is most reasonable to conclude that the rest of their theories and facts are also wrong. To claim otherwise, is as to make the case that, since a good portion of humans had never died (are still alive), they therefor are immortal, until proven otherwise.
    Be humble and modest about how wrong you are (about everything) and just explore the world with that premise in mind.

  4. Pete
  5. Pete

    so why is mental illness not cure?

  6. SharonH
  7. SharonH

    I am constantly amazed how some of the most intelligent and rational thinking people I know can fall for the craziest things, including absurd religious beliefs. The speaker at around 24:30 makes a lot of sense and has reinforced my belief (LOL) that religion is actually a means to provide socialization and the comfort of thinking that someone is watching over oneself and/or can intervene in life affairs. If you don't go along with a particular group-think, you are somehow evil or there is something wrong with you. Good documentary.

  8. Terry
  9. Terry

    It is fascinating that individuals who deny the reality of anthropogenic global warming, assert the science behind this reality is not settled, when indeed it is.There are approximately 50,000 peer reviewed case studies in scholarly journals to support this fact. Those who deny this reality base their beliefs on a few unpublished scientists who are invariably found to be funded by the fossil fuel industry. Some even admit to accepting over a million dollars from them. Regrettably, individuals such as these will claim just about anything to pad their wallets with “dark money”, even when it is to the detriment of others. Deniers frequently refer to individuals who are not climate scientists at all, but just individuals with trumped up credentials. The fossil fuel industry “fuels” AGW denier beliefs by putting forth ads and articles filled with falsehoods in an endeavour to greenwash the fact that they are harming our planet. With these facts in mind, it is perplexing that some individuals continue to deny AGW.
    The only logical conclusion is they aren’t aware of the established facts and/or don’t understand these facts and/or have been influenced by greenwashing and fossil fuel industry shills.

  10. Shelton Ranasinghe
  11. Shelton Ranasinghe

    A very good documentary. I couldn’t understand why the guy who came out of the cave and went back was treated as a shadow or got the status of a shadow once he went in. Something the documentary missed was the fact that all the believes get stitched into the brain at childhood and it becomes the vital element of the foundation of thinking we develop at childhood and carry over to adulthood. Once the believes gets into the framework of one’s Psyche it is very difficult to dislodge these ideas from the thoughts generation system. The background sound was good but too loud.

  12. Maria
  13. Maria

    My doubt is what is the GOAL of KNOWLEDGE
    Whatever category has been divided, boxed and teach for a high cost, even at the price of the human spirit
    Are the people who are handling, teaching and disseminating this knowledge, conscious enough to truly protect the Sanctity of Truth?

  14. Peter Zbinden
  15. Peter Zbinden

    The Ted Talk from emergency physician Thomas Fleischmann where he describes the phase called out-of-body experience that occurs in near-death experience cases of patients returning back to life after brain death has been diagnosed and even telling emergency physicians and emergency nurses what they were talking while trying to bring them back to life after they incurred a horrific accident. They watch from above how emergency stuff try to save their body. Thomas Fleischmann says it’s a well known phenomenon so why do scientists not acknowledge that some extraterrestrial might exists. The definition of phenomenon is confusing and described as a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question. The address From life to death, beyond and back | Thomas Fleischmann: shows many aspects. Besides three other Ted Talks of ca. 2 min, the extract from Tomas Fleischmann jumps directly to the description of the out-of-body phenomenon in one of my first videos which is less lengthy, 15 min, Listening skills practice videos are fun because one can pick the most interesting part of a documentary and improve one’s own skills.

  16. Liz
  17. Liz

    14.30 "It's just part of how the brain is designed to operate." So who, or what designed it??

  18. jim james
  19. jim james

    Beliefs are nether truth nor fact. They are powerful, scary, guiding, motivational, limiting, expanding and (pick one). My answer to "What do you believe?" is: "I don't believe; I think."

  20. john
  21. john

    Used to be I'd be very impressed by these folk and their findings but now with just a little more wisdom I see this as liberal leftist propaganda where they claim to know what is true and what is a conspiracy. Now before you disregard my POV remember I spent the first 55 years of my life as a confirmed liberal. But I've come to realize they are dangerously crazy in much the same way the extreme right is. In other words I'm not buying what they are selling. YMMV

  22. Paul
  23. Paul

    So Who decides which beliefs are faulty? You people? Th Democratic party? Why can't people think for themselves? Debate with each other? Question everything.

  24. jim james
  25. jim james

    Paul, to quote Henry Ford: "Thinking is difficult which is why so few people do it."

  26. john
  27. john

    I've unfortunately come to the conclusion that the people that are most sure they have the evidence and are most sure they are on the right side are the most dangerous. Everyone else of course is a "denier" and seriously flawed. Things in the long run hardly ever turn out that way from my experience of 65 years. I was so certain for instance that Obama was a liberal and all about our freedoms and constitutional rights. . lol.

  28. Jodie
  29. Jodie

    Really pleased to be reading these beautifully put, non offensive comments. So often when i have a nosey through commentary, there's such hatred, and anger towards anyone who thinks differently. Here, i'm witnessing only from your comments true open mindedness, and appreciation of other view points. This ensures my discovery musn't remain static for long, always be prepared to adapt your perspective, and welcome different ways of thinking. xx
    Thanks x

  30. Alex
  31. Alex

    Why Abrahamic Gods came into picture only around 3000 years ago when our Universe has been around 14 billion years .What were they doing for billions of years and what did they create infinite stars for which now thanks to science know as suns

  32. Stevieboy
  33. Stevieboy

    Excellent documentary; I enjoyed the content and the way it was produced. Science is the candle in the darkness, not in all cases, but in many. I respect those depicted in the film who have dedicated their lives to the question of belief.

  34. mondomacabro
  35. mondomacabro

    So here we have a documentary which states that your 'belief 'is only morally sound if it benefits rational society as a whole - if your belief system is outside of that rational belief system that society holds to, then you are anti society, anti science, anti justice, peace and austerity ... so YOU are the problem! All i see here are a few arrogant, opinionated philosophers with enough intellect to be dangerous... There is no problem with questing what you consider wrong - skepticism of 'what we are told in MSM' is healthy - Does Bigfoot exist? Is Religion necessary? Who was really responsible for 9/11? What is population control and Agenda 21? Is Anthropogenic Global Warming a multi billion dollar Carbon Fund scam? Why do Vaccines kill and injure so many innocent young children? ... Fundamentalists and extremists who take things too far exist across the board - but by denying the questioning of what are clearly 'designed conspiracies with political agendas', allows Democratic nations to become Totalitarian nations. Belief is dangerous - constructive scientific debate and transparent Government is healthy ...

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