Many a year ago, the author sat in a Philosophy Professor's room and heard one of the most profound sentences he had ever heard in his short ignorant life. It went: "You can't blame a person for belief, only opinion." Strangely that line led to more self contemplation than even the initial topic that had led one into the Professor's room. The discussion of belief versus opinion will be the topic of today's discussion.
A simple foundation of belief for this post is that it is something that comes naturally and more importantly instantly to one's thoughts in a given situation, the person might find themselves in. The belief being a thought process that comes from the amalgamation of the person's life, formed by both his genes and living experiences. A good example of the above topic comes in the act of stereotyping (The author does not condone stereotyping but is merely using it to explain the discussion topic). The initial thought one has of a person due to whatever features they posses is belief. These beliefs being the first natural thought from a collection of data that forms due to the natural survival instinct every person has to deal with every situation. Stereotyping existing to a certain extent because the stereotype existing more often than not on that group even if it does not represent every person of that group accurately.
Opinion on the other hand is a natural thought that has had time to settle in reason and evidence based on the person's reasoning. To continue with the stereotyping example, opinion is how one acts towards the person of certain feature, be it race or otherwise. It is on this point a person can be blamed for opinion over belief. The author himself does admit to having what many would consider racist thoughts at times but it is because one can differentiate that the instant natural belief is not grounded in reason that one can act counter to it based on good reason in action that prevents his person from doing what would be considered a racist act. Opposite to this was a post one saw on Facebook whereby the person did not differentiate between belief and opinion and merged the two. The person happen to have coffee at two places and had decided that the second coffee house being inferior but went on to comment it was due to the one staff that had made the coffee's ethnicity, being from a poor country and the person not possibly having a good education. The initial argument on which serves the best coffee being lost as one staff member does not constitute the coffee house and a race of the coffeehouse staff, a good coffee is not based on.
To put it into perspective, just as one will not blame a person for being mentally unstable and pushing you to the ground, one cant blame a person for literally having a thought. On the other hand, one can blame a stable person of sound mind who pushes one to the ground because he perceives your race deserves it even after time to reason and 'justify' that thought.
In conclusion, belief is the instant reaction of defense to being attacked, there is no foresight to it. While opinion being the boxing match a person chooses to fight with forewarning to its consequences. As many a good man or woman has said in many a way. You make your own choices and have to live with them the rest of your days.
Till next word...