Currently viewing the tag: "belief"

The propagandist seeks to change the way people understand an issue or situation for the purpose of changing their actions and expectations in ways that are desirable to the interest group. Propaganda, in this sense, serves as a corollary to censorship in which the same purpose is achieved, not by filling people’s minds with approved information, but by preventing people from being confronted with opposing points of view. What sets propaganda apart from other forms of advocacy is the willingness of the propagandist to change people’s understanding through deception and confusion rather than persuasion and understanding. The leaders of an organization know the information to be one sided or untrue, but this may not be true for the rank and file members who help to disseminate the propaganda. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene where your protagonist rebels against propaganda.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the propaganda you were exposed to today and how it made you feel.

Art Prompt: Propaganda

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Talk about propaganda in our culture and how it affects our society.

Photo Credit: Roman Harak on Flickr

People Watching / People Watching

…delusions are false beliefs that a person holds on to, without adequate evidence. It can be difficult to change the belief, even with evidence to the contrary. Common themes of delusions are persecutory (person believes that others are out to harm them), grandiose (person believing that they have special powers or skills), etc. Persons with Ekbom syndrome may have delusional beliefs of an imaginary parasite infestation, whereas depressed persons might have delusions consistent with their low mood (e.g., delusions that they have sinned, or have contracted serious illness, etc.). Karl Jaspers has classified psychotic delusions into primary and secondary types. Primary delusions are defined as arising suddenly and not being comprehensible in terms of normal mental processes, whereas secondary delusions are typically understood as being influenced by the person’s background or current situation (e.g., ethnicity; also religious, superstitious, or political beliefs). –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or poem from the POV of a character having delusions.

Journaling Prompt: What delusions have you had in your life that you have outgrown?

Art Prompt: Delusions

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about secondary delusions and how they manifest in our culture.

Photo Credit: Tim Haynes on Flickr


All that one can say is that these tales are not to be taken as history in any rigid sense of the word, but must for the most part be regarded as mere hints, caught from chaos, and coming down through a hundred broken mediums… –The Story of Ireland by Emily Lawless

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a tale that presents an alternate version of a myth.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your favorite legend, tale, or myth. What is it that appeals to you? How does it inspire you?

Art Prompt: Historical tales

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about your favorite legend, tale, or myth and explain what it taught you about life.

Photo Credit: Sharon Brogan on Flickr

In the absence of scientific explanations, our ancestors were forced to conclude — quite reasonably — that hardships such as plagues, floods, and famines were instigated by supernatural forces beyond their comprehension and control, that human behavior may have been responsible for bringing it on, and that “corrections” in this behavior might help prevent future problems. What’s more, the socio-cultural adaptations required to survive these hardships inevitably led to dramatic changes in human organization, cooperation, and moral values.
“When life is tough or when it’s uncertain, people believe in big gods,” noted Russell Gray in a statement. He’s a professor at the University of Auckland and a founding director of the Max Planck Institute for History and the Sciences in Jena, Germany. “Prosocial behavior maybe helps people do well in harsh or unpredictable environments,” he says. –George Dvorsky

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in a harsh climate and create a religious system for your characters.

Journaling Prompt: How does the strength of your faith vary according to your life circumstances?

Art Prompt: Harsh weather – big god

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about a religious revival that occurred during extreme circumstances.

Photo Credit: Surian Soosay on Flickr

Icon in Sunday school classroom

Scientists have been debating for some time what influence ecology might have on the religious aspects of our culture. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that culture and the natural environment interact, and there’s reason to believe that believing in god might increase cooperation even in anonymous interactions. Those two factors suggest that societies who most need to cooperate—for example, groups living in places with few resources or unreliable agricultural conditions—might have the sort of gods that would encourage cooperation. .. -Nathan Collins

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add to your character sketch? What does your character’s religious beliefs say about the environment that he/she grew up in?

Journaling Prompt: How do your religious beliefs flow from your childhood and current environments?

Art Prompt: Religion and Ecology

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story from your childhood and how what you learned is reflected in your beliefs today, especially about the environment.

Photo Credit: Mary Constance on Flickr

The Blessing of the Waters

The Blessing of the Waters is an important event in all countries where the Greek Church prevails. In Greece the “Great Blessing,” as it is called, is performed in various ways according to the locality; sometimes the sea is blessed, sometimes a river or reservoir, sometimes merely water in a church. In seaport towns, where the people depend on the water for their living, the celebration has much pomp and elaborateness. At the Piraeus enormous and enthusiastic crowds gather, and there is a solemn procession of the bishop and clergy to the harbour, where the bishop throws a little wooden cross, held by a long blue ribbon, into the water, withdraws it dripping wet, and sprinkles the bystanders. This is done three times. At Nauplia and other places a curious custom prevails: the archbishop throws a wooden cross into the waters of the harbour, and the fishermen of the place dive in after it and struggle for its possession; he who wins it has the right of visiting all the houses of the town and levying a collection, which often brings in a large sum. In Samos all the women send to the church a vessel full of water to be blessed by the priest; with this water the fields and the trees are sprinkled. –Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add a blessing ritual to your story.

Journaling Prompt: Write about water and the blessings it brings to your life.

Art Prompt: The Blessing of the Water

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how rituals create a sense of community and suggest how we can recapture this in our increasingly secular world.

Photo Credit: Whitstable Oyster Festival on Flickr

Conflict (Chess II)

…research involved the participation of almost 3,000 people: Israelis and Palestinians in the Mideast, Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. The study shows each side felt their own group is motivated by love more than hate, but when asked why their rival group is involved in the conflict, pointed to hate as that group’s motivating factor. This idea is called “motive attribution asymmetry,” one group’s belief that their rivals are motivated by emotions opposite to their own. The idea is driven by a group seeing its own members engaged in acts of “love, care, and affiliation” but, as the report points out, “rarely (observing) these actions amongst (opponents) because we only see them during moments of heated conflict.”
“It’s interesting to see that people can be blind to the source of behavior on the other side, that you can go from saying you are motivated by love of your own group and you can’t seem to apply that to reasoning about the other side,” says Liane Young, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at Boston College…
“What we also found was that these attributions tend to also track with other sorts of consequences so if you think that the people on the other side are motivated by their hatred of your group, you also are unwilling to negotiate with that group,” continues Dr. Young. “You tend to think they’re more unreasonable, suggesting that people’s misattributions of other groups may be the cause of intractable conflict.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene where motive attribution asymmetry provides the conflict. Use inner monologue to illuminate the thoughts behind the conflict.

Journaling Prompt: Think of something you feel strongly about. Examine what you believe motivate that belief. What do you believe about people who hold the opposite belief?

Art Prompt: Motive attribution asymmetry

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about motive attribution asymmetry and give them ways that they can use this knowledge to create common ground when involved in a conflict.

Photo Credit: Cristian V. on Flickr

Kawah ijen blue fire

I burned your name in blue fire and released it to the wind. –The Wind’s Betrayal by M. P. Rossi

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Do you have a ritual for letting go? Write about it.

Art Prompt: Blue fire

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience how to build a ritual for letting go.

Photo Credit: Yann Pinczon du Sel on Flickr


Here is how a lot of people think who are socially anxious:

  • If I am anxious, then people will see my anxiety.
  • If people see you are anxious, then they will think you are a loser.
  • I should always appear in control and confident.
  • I have to get the approval of everyone.
  • If I don’t, it means I am defective or inferior.
  • It’s terrible not to have people’s approval.
  • There is a right way—a perfect way—to do things socially.
  • I should always do things the perfect way when around other people

And, people who are socially anxious often engage in “safety behaviors” which are superstitious behaviors that they think make them more secure and less likely to unravel in public. Typical safety behavior beliefs are the following:

  • If I hold a glass really tightly, then my hand won’t tremble.
  • If I talk really fast, people won’t think I’m a loser and have nothing to say.
  • If I have a few drinks, I can function better.
  • If I prepare my talk and read it, then I won’t lose track.
  • If I wear a jacket, they won’t see I am sweating.

Robert L. Leahy, PhD

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a character suffering from social anxiety. Include inner monologue.

Journaling Prompt: What anxious thoughts run through your mind? How do you respond to them?

Art Prompt: Social anxiety

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about social anxiety and provide strategies for coping with their inner thoughts.

Photo Credit: Mariana Zanatta on Flickr

Pagan Ritual

“The antique religions,” to quote the words of Robertson Smith, “had for the most part no creed; they consisted entirely of institutions and practices … as a rule we find that while the practice was rigorously fixed, the meaning attached to it was extremely vague, and the same rite was explained by different people in different ways.” –Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles

Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a religion and write a story about how different interpretations of it cause conflict in your world.

Journaling Prompt: How does your interpretation of your religion differ from a family member’s or friend’s?

Art Prompt: Ancient religion

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the similarities and differences between two religions .

Photo Credit: Paul Stevenson on Flickr