What Factors Are Involved in How People Change Their Beliefs?

by Eric Chabot

I have spoken to hundreds of people from different religious backgrounds. I have also spoken to my share of atheists and skeptics. One thing that I have thought about a lot are the complex factors that are involved with people when it comes to changing their belief system/worldview (i.e., they way they view reality).

What factors play a large role in how people form their beliefs? In my experience, here are some of them:

1. Sociological factors such as parents, religious institutions.

2. Experiential, psychological/existential factors: (i.e., some beliefs bring comfort, hope, meaning, purpose).

3. Learning through authorities: (i.e., professors, people who are experts in a certain field of study).

Sadly, one area that plays a smaller role is evidence, data, reason, and philosophy. Granted, I am just being general here and nobody can be boxed into one category. But I do know many people who have a religious background have developed convictions through a specific community or family. But the question is, what factors play a role in how people change their belief system/worldview? (i.e., they way they view reality).  From my own experience, these are some factors that continue to play a large role in this topic…

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What Factors Are Involved in How People Change Their Beliefs?