Just a few thoughts from the rather circular conversations I've been having with knightbear
Ok, discussion has been centered on the old belief that "We create our own reality". Now at one point, I fully agreed with this, however, over time, I've reconsidered.
I think a better way to put this would be to say "We create our own perceptions of the reality that surrounds us". Or more to the point, while we can and do influence reality, it is through our own perceptions that we do this. Otherwise, we start running into paradoxi of "If my reality is correct, yours isn't". Also, we run into the problems of "If we do create our own reality, why the fuck does my life suck so much?"
I could also point out examples of folks who bit into the original thought hook, line, and sinker. What ended up happening was they became delusional to the extreme. Living in a fantasy world is certainly a created reality, however, it remains an illusion.
It's much easier to switch a perception. Hell, we at least attempt this all the time. People make mucho dinero off the concept. "With a good attitude, you can gain the world!" "Look for solutions, not problems!" "Don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff." Things can and do happen to us. Death, dismemberment, winning the lottery, becoming a parent. There are things we have control over, and there are things we don't. It's up to us to decide how we percieve those things, and how we let them affect us. If, say, I get hit by a car, do I spend all of my time bitching about how G-d hates me, or do I find ways to work around the damage? (Or do I just enjoy the pain meds and say Fuck it?)
We also have belief working here. The overwhelming issue with belief is that it tends to lead to inductive reasoning, and also goes back to the whole black and white perception of the world. A belief means you start with the conclusion and then start working of finding evidence to support it. I'm sure we can all find our own examples of this. I'm sure we can all also cite examples of conflicting beliefs trying to outshout one another instead of trying to find common ground. One of the best lines is Dogma
revolves around the concept of it being better to have ideas than beliefs.
To me faith is a bit different, Faith doesn't say if it is correct, any other faith is wrong. Faith to me means I have something that works for me, which can only grow when it gets challenged by something contradictory. With faith, I can take new information an incorperate it, rather than discounting it entirely.
Any rate, enough rambling.