Ben wrote:Also remember, Saddha (faith/confidence) is one of the seven bojjhangas (factors of enlightenment).
We should distinguish between the meaning of the word "beliefs" and the meaning of the word "Saddha," which has to do with conviction in a course of action, not in a descriptive proposition.
Because conviction is focused not on a descriptive proposition but on a course of action — the skillful mastery of the processes of kamma in a social context — these aspects [social, intellectual and practical] are inextricably intertwined. The social aspect comes from the need to associate with people who have already mastered these processes, learning from their words and emulating their actions. The intellectual aspect — belief in the principle of kamma — is necessary because the development of skillfulness within the mind requires that one understand the nature of kamma, take responsibility for one's actions, and have conviction in one's ability to benefit from developing one's skills. The practical aspect is necessary, for if one does not follow through in developing skill, it shows that one's conviction in the development of skillfulness is not genuine, and that one is not fully benefiting from one's beliefs.
This doesn't mean we have to scorn beliefs. It just means we have to recognize that we all have beliefs (which are not self), just like we all have noses on our faces. I'm not going to scorn the nose on my face. But I'm also not going to treasure every booger that falls out of it.
p.s. I voted 'yes,' just for full disclosure.