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Belief Systems

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 8 Jul 2018

A belief system is any set of ideas and beliefs that people use to make sense of the world around them.

Traditionally, people made sense of the world through supernatural explanations whereas today (some argue) it is more common to understand the world based on scientific evidence while others put their faith in both religious and non-religious ideologies.

Karl Popper differentiated science from religion on the basis that religion was a closed belief system while science was an open belief system. What he meant by this was that religion claimed a monopoly on the truth accepting no criticism or opportunity for development. Religion was based on doctrine and to challenge that was sacrilege or blasphemy.

On the other hand, for Popper, science was an open belief system as it constantly opened itself up to criticism and testing and constantly sought to discover new knowledge.

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