Belief and Organization

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In contrast to other belief systems , religious beliefs are usually codified. A popular view holds that different religions each have identifiable and exclusive sets of beliefs or creeds , but surveys of religious belief have often found that the official doctrine and descriptions of the beliefs offered by religious authorities do not always agree with the privately held beliefs of those who identify as members of a particular religion. First self-applied as a term to the conservative doctrine outlined by anti-modernist Protestants in the United States, [37] "fundamentalism" in religious terms denotes strict adherence to an interpretation of scriptures that are generally associated with theologically conservative positions or traditional understandings of the text and are distrustful of innovative readings, new revelation, or alternative interpretations.

First used in the context of Early Christianity , the term "orthodoxy" relates to religious belief that closely follows the edicts, apologies , and hermeneutics of a prevailing religious authority. In the case of Early Christianity, this authority was the communion of bishops, and is often referred to by the term " Magisterium ". The term orthodox was applied [ when? The Eastern Orthodox Church of Christianity and the Catholic Church each consider themselves to be the true heir to Early Christian belief and practice.

The antonym of "orthodox" is " heterodox ", and those adhering to orthodoxy often accuse the heterodox of apostasy , schism , or heresy.

Belief and Organization

The Renaissance and later the Enlightenment in Europe exhibited varying degrees of religious tolerance and intolerance towards new and old religious ideas. The philosophes took particular exception to many of the more fantastical claims of religions and directly challenged religious authority and the prevailing beliefs associated with the established churches. In response to the liberalizing political and social movements, some religious groups attempted to integrate Enlightenment ideals of rationality, equality, and individual liberty into their belief systems, especially in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Reform Judaism and Liberal Christianity offer two examples of such religious associations. Some believe that religion cannot be separated from other aspects of life, or believe that certain cultures did not or do not separate their religious activities from other activities in the same way that some people in modern Western cultures do. Some anthropologists [ who?


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Even in modern Western cultures, many people see supernatural forces behind every event, as described by Carl Sagan in his book The Demon-Haunted World. People with such a worldview often [ quantify ] regard the influence of Western culture as inimical. Others with this worldview resist the influence of science , and believe that science or "so-called science" should be guided by religion.

Still others with this worldview believe that all political decisions and laws should be guided by religion. This last belief, written into the constitutions of many [ which? In addition, beliefs about the supernatural or metaphysical may not presuppose a difference between any such thing as nature and non-nature, nor between science and what most educated people believe.

In the view of some historians [ who? Adherents of particular religions deal with the differing doctrines and practices espoused by other religions or by other religious denominations in a variety of ways. People with exclusivist beliefs typically explain other beliefs either as in error, or as corruptions or counterfeits of the true faith. This approach is a fairly consistent feature among smaller new religious movements that often rely on doctrine that claims a unique revelation by the founders or leaders , and considers it a matter of faith that the "correct" religion has a monopoly on truth.

All three major Abrahamic monotheistic religions have passages in their holy scriptures that attest to the primacy of the scriptural testimony, and indeed monotheism itself is often [ quantify ] vouched [ by whom? Some exclusivist faiths incorporate a specific element of proselytization. This is a strongly-held belief in the Christian tradition which follows the doctrine of the Great Commission , and is less emphasized by the Islamic faith where the Quranic edict "There shall be no compulsion in religion" is often quoted as a justification for toleration of alternative beliefs.

The Jewish tradition does not actively seek out converts. Exclusivism correlates with conservative, fundamentalist, and orthodox approaches of many religions, while pluralistic and syncretist approaches either explicitly downplay or reject the exclusivist tendencies within a religion.

People with inclusivist beliefs recognize some truth in all faith systems , highlighting agreements and minimizing differences. This attitude is sometimes associated [ by whom? Explicitly inclusivist religions include many that are associated with the New Age movement, as well as modern reinterpretations of Hinduism and Buddhism. People with pluralist beliefs make no distinction between faith systems, viewing each one as valid within a particular culture.

Examples include:. People with syncretistic views blend the views of a variety of different religions or traditional beliefs into a unique fusion which suits their particular experiences and contexts see eclecticism. Unitarian Universalism exemplifies a syncretistic faith. Psychologist James Alcock also summarizes a number of apparent benefits which reinforce religious belief.

These include prayer appearing to account for successful resolution of problems, "a bulwark against existential anxiety and fear of annihilation," an increased sense of control, companionship with one's deity, a source of self-significance, and group identity. A belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs of any such system can be classified [ by whom? Philosopher Jonathan Glover says that beliefs are always part of a belief system, and that tenanted belief systems are difficult for the tenants to completely revise or reject. A collective belief is referred to when people speak of what "we" believe when this is not simply elliptical for what "we all" believe.

Durkheim's discussion of collective belief, though suggestive, is relatively obscure. Philosopher Margaret Gilbert has offered a related account in terms of the joint commitment of a number of persons to accept a certain belief as a body. According to this account, individuals who together collectively believe something need not personally believe it themselves.

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Gilbert's work on the topic has stimulated a developing literature among philosophers. One question that has arisen is whether and how philosophical accounts of belief in general need to be sensitive to the possibility of collective belief. Jonathan Glover believes that he and other philosophers ought to play some role in starting dialogues between people with deeply-held, opposing beliefs, especially if there is risk of violence. Glover also believes that philosophy can offer insights about beliefs that would be relevant to such dialogue.

Glover suggests that beliefs have to be considered [ by whom? Each belief always implicates and relates to other beliefs. At that point, the patient has a great deal of flexibility in choosing what beliefs to keep or reject: the patient could believe that the doctor is incompetent, that the doctor's assistants made a mistake, that the patient's own body is unique in some unexpected way, that Western medicine is ineffective, or even that Western science is entirely unable to discover truths about ailments.

Glover maintains that any person can continue to hold any belief if they would really like to [48] for example, with help from ad hoc hypotheses. One belief can be held fixed, and other beliefs will be altered around it. Glover warns that some beliefs may not be entirely explicitly believed for example, some people may not realize they have racist belief-systems adopted from their environment as a child. Glover believes that people tend to first realize that beliefs can change, and may be contingent on their upbringing, around age 12 or Glover emphasizes that beliefs are difficult to change.

He says that one may try to rebuild one's beliefs on more secure foundations axioms , like building a new house, but warns that this may not be possible. As Glover puts it: "Maybe the whole thing needs rebuilding, but inevitably at any point you have to keep enough of it intact to keep floating. Glover's final message is that if people talk about their beliefs, they may find more deep, relevant, philosophical ways in which they disagree e. Glover thinks that people often manage to find agreements and consensus through philosophy.

He says that at the very least, if people do not convert each other, they will hold their own beliefs more openmindedly and will be less likely to go to war over conflicting beliefs. The British philosopher Stephen Law has described some belief systems including belief in homeopathy , psychic powers , and alien abduction as " claptrap " [ citation needed ] and said that such belief-systems can "draw people in and hold them captive so they become willing slaves of claptrap [ From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.


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  8. This article is about the general concept. For other uses, see Belief disambiguation. See also: Belief revision. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Further information: Economic ideology.

    Main article: Religious fundamentalism. Main article: Orthodoxy. See also: Religious exclusivism. Main article: Religious pluralism. Main article: Syncretism. See also: Existence of God. Main article: Apostasy. See also: Ideology. Thinking portal Psychology portal Sociology portal. Journal of Mind and Behavior. Retrieved 3 June The purpose of belief is to guide action, not to indicate truth. In Halligan, Peter W. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Saving Belief: A Critique of Physicalism. Princeton University Press. Army Information Operations. Joint Publication 3— Ross, Ph. The Journal of Philosophy. Plato on Knowledge and Forms: Selected Essays. New York: Oxford University Press. The Foundations of Knowing.

    Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Readings in contemporary epistemology. Belief formation, organization, and change: Cognitive and motivational influences. Albarracin, B. Zanna, The Handbook of Attitudes — New Yor: Psychology Press.

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    London: Routledge. Religion, in most cultures, is ascribed, not chosen. The True Believer. Free Press. New York: W. Leadership Therapy: Inside the Mind of Microsoft. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Psychological Review. Religious Studies. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Knowledge, Beliefs and Economics. Edward Elgar Publishing , pages.

    Retrieved 9 August Bortolotti Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs. Retrieved 24 February University of California Press.

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    An empiricist's view of the nature of religious belief. Norwood Editions Norwood, Pa. Archived from the original on 3 December Retrieved 28 November Christianity Today. Retrieved 19 May Theodore 18 October Archived from the original on 7 September Larson; Harold G. Koenig October Psychiatric Times. Skeptical Inquirer. Archived from the original on 19 November Some Christians share this belief.

    At the time of the American Civil War of —, many Southerners used passages from the Bible to justify race-based slavery. Certain campaigners have used the Christian religion as a reason to persecute and to deny the rights of homosexuals, on the basis that the Christian biblical God disapproves of homosexuality, and by implication of homosexuals.

    When a person rejects reason as their standard of judgment, only one alternative standard allegedly remains to them: feelings. A mystic is a person who treats feelings as tools of cognition. Faith is the equation of feeling with knowledge. To practice the "virtue" of faith, one must we are told be willing to suspend one's sight and one's judgment; one must be willing to live with the unintelligible, with that which cannot be conceptualized or integrated into the rest of one's knowledge, and to induce a trance like illusion of understanding.

    One must allegedly be willing to repress one's critical faculty and hold it as one's guilt; one must be willing to drown any questions that rise in protest—to strangle any trust of reason convulsively seeking to assert its proper function as the protector of one's life and cognitive integrity. The presumed human need for self-esteem entails the need for a sense of control over reality—but no control is possible in a universe which, by one's own concession, contains the supernatural, the miraculous and the causeless, a universe in which one is at the mercy of ghosts and demons, in which one must deal, not with the unknown, but with the unknowable; no control is possible if a person proposes, but a ghost disposes; no control is possible if the universe is a haunted house.

    A person's life and self-esteem require that the object and concern of his or her consciousness be reality and this earth—but morality, people are taught, consists of scorning this earth and the world available to sensory perception, and of contemplating, instead, a "different" and "higher" reality, a realm inaccessible to reason and incommunicable in language, but attainable by revelation, by special dialectical processes, by that superior state of intellectual lucidity known to Zen-Buddhists as "No-Mind," or by death.

    A person's life and self-esteem require that this person take pride in their power to think, pride in their power to live—but morality, people are taught, holds pride, and specifically intellectual pride, as the gravest of sins. Virtue begins, people are taught, with humility: with the recognition of the helplessness, the smallness, the impotence of one's mind. A person's life and self-esteem purportedly require the person to be loyal to their values, loyal to their mind and its judgments, loyal to their life—but the essence of morality, people are taught, consists of self-sacrifice: the sacrifice of one's mind to some higher authority, and the sacrifice of one's values to whoever may claim to require it.

    A sacrifice, it is necessary to remember, means the surrender of a higher value in favor of a lower value or of a nonvalue. Your Access Options. Existing Customer You may already have access to this article. Recommendation Recommend to your librarian that your institution purchase access to this publication. Chapter Options and Tools.

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