Belief: the Chicken/Egg puzzler

In a departure from my usual long-windedness, I offer just a quick question for today, and an example to flesh it out:

Do we humans believe in things because those things are real…or do things become real because we humans believe in them?  Or is it more a case of that kind of miraculous realization in which the belief and the thing believed in somehow both become real at exactly the same time…?

Example: what if we posit that the Olympian Pantheon of Deities did actually exist in some form during the height of the Ancient Greek civilization (which I’d personally take up as a rather excellent stance…)…so would that mean that the Olympians and their associated fantastical and fabulous roster of fellow Deities, Titans, and assorted Monsters and Mythical Beings existed first, then happened upon Greece, and subsequently became objects of worship and love and lore there…or did the Greeks as a collective whole begin to spin tales about this amazing cast of Characters, hone their attributes, and believe in them in unison, only to find that whatever ambient energies existed in that part of the world began to coalesce into exactly the Beings that the Greeks were envisioning…???  Or did the Olympians and the Greeks’ belief in the Olympians all somehow magically just appear simultaneously…?

[NOTE: you’re also allowed to go off the board here entirely, and believe that the Olympians never existed at all in any “real” form if that’s how your worldview has to have it…that will make me sad, but it is your worldview…]

The Olympian Pantheon: was belief in them in Ancient Greece a response to their existence, or was it the other way around...?
The Olympian Pantheon: was belief in them in Ancient Greece a response to their existence, or was it the other way around…?

Which comes first: the thing itself, or our belief in the thing?  Both?  Neither…?

2 thoughts on “Belief: the Chicken/Egg puzzler

  1. Enid

    I don’t want to make you sad, but I guess I’m part of the group that thinks that you gotta see it to believe it and that much of religious lore, mythology, etc. is manmade to explain the inexplicable. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Actually I rather envy people who find comfort in their faith.

    Thanks for getting me thinking. I believe in you.

    1. This doesn’t make me (too) sad — I’m happy to hear the different views on things that people have. I get it if you prefer to have some serious evidence of something before granting it your belief, too. I feel like I’ve been able to somewhat relax my own such needs over time, although I don’t know that one approach is necessarily “better” than the other…they just are. But thank you for weighing in here — I believe in you, too, and very much appreciate your input!

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