It may be a fairly obvious observation, almost to the point of being unnecessary, but all people are different. We may have some similarities with some other people but no-one is exactly like us.
When it comes to what we ‘believe’ people in small communities or groups (such as your group known as ‘friends’ for example) are likely to have similar beliefs and likes, within a somewhat narrower range than that of the rest of the world’s population anyway.
A belief is generally something that we hold to be true (at least we think it is for us) for various reasons, some of which are less able to withstand scrutiny than others. A belief is generally held by someone to be on roughly the same level of veracity as that of a ‘fact’;
“I believe i love chocolate and that’s a FACT!” Or:
“I believe dogs are far better pets than cats.” when, in fact, beliefs are largely a matter of personal choice, (based upon previous experiences) and can be disputed, even among the friendship group (sometimes even by yourself) while, by-and-large, facts are generally agreed upon by the great majority of different people and can be tested by independent observers who achieve comparable results.
To give an example: regardless of what kind of group you belong to, almost everyone agrees upon a single fact – that the sky on a cloudless day is the colour Blue (or whatever the name for that colour is in whatever language you speak). If i believe the colour of the sky is blue then my belief is a reasonable one based upon the commonly agreed ‘facts’. If i believe that the sky is green (the same colour most people believe green grass to be for example) in those circumstances – even though i hold it to be true, my belief would be considered by others to be unreasonable to the point of either me being deranged or having something seriously abnormal with my eyes or my brain, as such a belief is not supported by anything approximating a ‘known fact’.
There are some beliefs which cannot be either supported or refuted by ‘facts’, one of the most often encountered being belief in the existence of one or many supernatural beings some call God or gods.
If we only determine if beliefs are considered reasonable by whether or not they are supported by uniformly agreed upon facts then all such indeterminable beliefs above would be considered unreasonable, and indeed there are some on this planet who hold firm to such a belief themselves. There are also a very great number who would disagree with such an assessment of their belief in God/gods.
I suggest there is a better way of assessing the value in a belief than just basing it in fact. That is to attempt to assess whether or not an individual performs better with the belief or with a different (perhaps opposite) one. In other words is holding such a belief of benefit or disadvantage to the individual concerned and how does it affect the community/society they live in. Is it a positive or a negative belief for the person/community?
Sadly, this is rarely done by any individual or any belief; rather we are all inclined to stubbornly stick to our own beliefs, especially when someone has the audacity to suggest their belief is in some way to be preferred (is superior to) our own. This is often done more frequently and sometimes more aggressively than we like. (All terrorists please note).
Many of us can recall numerous instances of people with a strong faith committing some act that adversely affects other people, even entire society’s. Such instances are often widely reported in the mass media, far more so than are the millions of daily acts people of faith perform that does good to a society by reason of their faith.
Perhaps if there was a fairer way of comparing nett good with bad instances we may find that some of our commonly held beliefs would need to be re-evaluated, one way or another.
It might even show there is good reason to Believe? ( Even if there are no facts to directly support/deny it)