The Belief Book

This is another one of the books that has been sitting on my desk for longer than it should have. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of kindism.org


I don’t remember where I first heard about The Belief Book by David G. McAfee and Chuck Harrison, but I do remember coming across very positive things about how it explained religion to children.

 The Belief Book is a slim, 74 page paperback, aimed at “readers and thinkers of all ages, including kids and kids at heart.” The nine chapters (including introduction and conclusion) map out the path questions take to becoming religions.

People have questions! They form stories to help answer them. These stories are passed along from generation to generation and gradually they become beliefs. These beliefs are people’s creations, they create myths and gods, which go on to become religions.

I appreciate the simple, straightforward manner in which the information is presented. I also like that they define the words they are using to clarify their points, and provide examples of the way the words are used, for example on page four they define Believe, God and Religion:

Be-lieve:
verb

  1. To think a thing is true or that something is real. “Dave and Chuck believe definitions are important because they have seen many people get angry or upset because they disagree about a word’s meaning.”
  2. Trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something. “Dave and Chuck believe definitions are important and they believe in always telling the truth.

They also define words in the text, such as “logical” on page 30.

A mix of the things you’ve tried, like Brussels sprouts, and the stories you’ve heard, have led you to some beliefs that are log-i-cal. Logic is what makes sense based on the facts. Dave and Chuck think that following the evidence and looking at all things with a logical mind is the best way to get good answers to big questions!

 The Belief Book is a quick, fun, simple read, that touches on really big ideas. I will probably read it to the children at some point in the not too distant future — most likely the older one, it is still a bit advanced for the little one, and once they’re reading on their own, I’ll probably put it on their bookshelf for them to discover.

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5 thoughts on “The Belief Book

  1. Bill Sweet says:

    If Christian Science had evolved more on its science side than just its religious side, the evolution could have both saved Christian Science and kept it in correlation with the changes in society. Going deeper than belief would also have been more of a “check and balance” on how we make some decisions, some of which have come back to haunt us.

    • kat says:

      We are going to have to agree to disagree, because I don’t think we are ever going to see eye-to-eye on this issue.

      Christian Science is a branch of Quimbyism and the New Thought movement which is not “scientific” by any stretch. I highly recommend reading Each Mind a Kingdom (I reviewed it a little while back) for more information on the formation of the movements and the social/political/gendered issues that it arose from.

  2. Bill Sweet says:

    I have attended a Quimby group gathering once. I think that there are linguistic similarities. Some of the same terms have different definitions. It’s seems fair to say that Mrs. Eddy got several ideas in terminology from Quimby. Also, she had to be impressed with his healing ability, as she walked with him from patient to patient as he healed them with his style of treatment. Quimby was MBE’s mentor. She absorbed something.

    I think it’s Arthur Corey who has an unpublished quote of Mrs. Eddy’s where she says in effect that two of the important rivers of thought that helped to pull together her system came from Quimby and from Homeopathy.

    I don’t see how one could disagree with the statement I made that had Christian Science gone more in the scientific path that it could have saved itself as well as been an improved form of itself. What is the disagreement? Christian Science was supposed to be a nexus between Christianity and Science rather than religious conservatism.

    On another page on your website is this notation….

    NY Times July 10, 1904 “True Origins of Christian Science”

    Gill’s assertions of poor scholarship are not entirely incorrect, as her claims are extensively footnoted. The main point of contention being that The Quimby Manuscripts, were not published by Horatio Dresser until 1921, by which point P.P. Quimby had been dead for over 50 years, and Christian Science was well established and thriving. Furthermore, they had not been given directly to Dresser, but had instead passed through several others before arriving with him (Gill, 121). Gill’s further research shows Dresser omitted papers that were not favorable to Quimby (Gill, 138) — the fact that the early Church attempted to suppress some of Ms. Eddy’s early work seems lost on her (Fraser , 142).

  3. Bill Sweet says:

    In July, I attended the Noetic Sciences bi-annual meeting. Noetic Science was begun by astronaut Edgar Mitchel.

    Noetic has a staff of 13 credentialed scientists working on various consciousness projects. Some of the consciousness projects involve tracked studies of a few alternate healing methods. The placebo effect was tracked separately from the effects of the consciousness healing. Neotics uses the term “spiritual” which granted is a vague term. Even so, there are some studies that are paradigm changers or at least making some people consider that there is more to fixed matter as the end of all scientific inquiry.

    Fringe scientists doing science is still doing science. Amateur scientists doing science is still doing science. Charles Steinmetz said the Mrs. Eddy definition of electricity was the best definition he ever heard. It’s horrible that Christian Scientists didn’t investigate being scientific about their extreme beliefs. We all know the disasters that follow being too religious without checks and balances.

    There tends to be a prejudice or preconception that only large scientific institutions can do anything truly scientific. Look at the inventions that have come from the nerds in ham radio experimentation, for example. Look at the random number experiments that originated with the far-out fringe experimenters at the Duke University Rhine Institute. Today, there has accumulated enough data to show that randomness can be altered by directed thoughts. That theory about randomness used to be considered a scientifically insane claim to make.

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