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William James Quotes on Belief & Faith (11 Quotes)


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  • Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible.
    (William James)

  • Faith is one of the forces by which men live, and the total absence of it means collapse.
    (William James)

  • Belief creates the actual fact.
    (William James)

  • Every sort of energy and endurance, of courage and capacity for handling lifes evils, is set free in those who have religious faith.
    (William James)

  • Our faith is faith in someone else's faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case.
    (William James)


  • The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.
    (William James)

  • These then are my last words to you. Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.
    (William James)

  • There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true Self.
    (William James)

  • The faith circle is so congruous with human nature that the only explanation of the veto that intellectualists pass upon it must be sought in the offensive character to them of the faiths of certain concrete persons.
    (William James)

  • The belief in free-will is not in the least incompatible with the belief in Providence, provided you do not restrict the Providence to fulminating nothing but fatal decrees.
    (William James)

  • The inner need of believing that this world of nature is a sign of something more spiritual and eternal than itself is just as strong and authoritative in those who feel it, as the inner need of uniform laws of causation ever can be in a professionally scientific head.... Our faculties of belief were not primarily given us to make orthodoxies and heresies withal, they were given us to live by. And to trust our religious demands means first of all to live in the light of them.... The part of wisdom as well as of courage is to believe what is in the line of your needs, for only by such belief is the need fulfilled. Refuse to believe, and you shall indeed be right, for you shall irretrievably perish. But believe, and again you shall be right, for you shall save yourself.
    (William James)


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