What's the difference between Belief, Knowledge and Truth?
Have you ever become speechless with incredulity when listening to someone talk passionately about a belief they hold which has no foundation in any reality you have experienced or contradicts widely accepted knowledge?
And yet, countless beliefs once laughed at, or even persecuted, have been proven true (not that it's likely we will ever discover that all evidence supporting the nature of our solar system and the evolution of our world was wrong, after all!).
Beliefs carry the strongest personal conviction because they contribute to our sense of who we are. Beliefs are felt to be solid, like ground under our feet - we act on them and defend them. We do believe in our beliefs! But if we are honest enough to really look, how often can we say that our beliefs are true beyond reasonable doubt, supported by hard evidence? In fact, although we hold onto them as if they are true, beliefs by definition are an acceptance that something exists or is true, in the absence of proof!
Beliefs are about having faith or confidence in something, and begin life as we start to form an opinion, often as we think about what we have been told or read. Belief is not a choice, it is an involuntary action occurring after our own internal standard for evidence has been met. In other words, belief results when we are convinced of something. But it is important to recognise that our own internal standard of evidence is not necessarily equivalent to actual evidence.
Knowledge is the small fraction of belief that is supported by direct experience or can be independently proven beyond reasonable doubt. Add knowledge to belief and we create a truth. But truth is still only subjective, and even a widely held 'truth' can be found to be false.
So can we be certain that anything is actually true? Einstein's theory, now proven and held to be true, shows that energy and matter are interchangeable. Quantum physics shows that everything in the known universe is energy in motion. So we are energy in motion, expressions of some unknowable connected infinity. Some even say they can sense energy as their essential self, and others that they feel it or even see it in and extending beyond physical bodies like a field, (it has many names; prana, universal life force, qi are examples). There is no scientific evidence yet to prove this form of energy exists, it is more a claimed experience, but it is a fairly easy concept for most to accept, after all, the definition of energy is 'a force acting on an object', and we do feel the impact of something in our bodies that we call emotion. It has a tingling heat, lightness, heaviness etc., and we also feel the peace of a place, or in a room. These experiences certainly have an 'energetic quality'.
In summary, this knowledge, once theoretical, that all things are composed of energy, seems to be gradually become real to more and more people. Perhaps one day everyone will experience everything as energy, and we will know that all is connected within totality. When this happens a belief will have graduated to knowledge, become a truth, and finally be recognised as the ultimate truth.