Belief Systems: Definition & Types

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  • 0:00 Belief Systems Defined
  • 0:54 Religious Belief Systems
  • 1:36 Political Belief Systems
  • 2:20 Philosophical Belief Systems
  • 2:54 Other Belief Systems
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Deborah Teasley

Deborah has 4 years of teaching experience and a master's degree in program development & management.

Do you associate with a specific religion or political party? In this lesson, we will discuss belief systems and explore the numerous ways that they influence our lives.

Belief Systems Definition

Do you believe that the Bible is the word of God? When you vote, do you register as a Democrat or a Republican? When it comes to human nature, do you believe that we are inherently selfish or selfless? These are all great examples of different types of belief systems.

A belief system is an ideology or set of principles that helps us to interpret our everyday reality. This could be in the form of religion, political affiliation, philosophy, or spirituality, among many other things. These beliefs are shaped and influenced by a number of different factors. Our knowledge on a certain topic, the way we were raised, and even peer pressure from others can help to create and even change our belief systems. The convictions that come from these systems are a way for us to make sense of the world around us and to define our role within it.

Religious Belief Systems

Belief systems are something that affect our everyday lives. They are commonly associated with religions. A religious belief system is usually structured around a moral code, the belief of one or more deities, and the ability for supernatural occurrences to affect us and the universe that we exist in. A spiritual belief system is closely related to this, but it is not as structured. Some choose to believe in an after-life and follow a moral code of conduct but do not affiliate with a particular church or denomination. Since it affects the way a person views the world and defines how they treat others, it still counts as a belief system.

Political Belief Systems

Though religion is the most recognized form of belief system, there are others as well. Would you say you align more with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party? Maybe you do not agree with either of those and feel a stronger connection with Libertarians or the Green Party. Perhaps you do not like politics at all. These political associations would be considered a political belief system. A political belief system forms a person's opinion of the government, economic system, and various other social structures. How do you feel about topics such as immigration, health care, and welfare? What you think about these issues forms your political belief system.

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