This arose in the another thread and it deserves some discussion.
I have struggled with this same thing. Just do a “scientific experiment” in which you choose to believe (I suggest believing Catholicism, since over many years of such experiments this is what I have found yields results).
How does one “choose to believe” something? Is that even possible?
And having done so, can an individual believe and not believe in the same thing at the same time? Put another way, is it possible for deep and true religious faith and inner skeptical reservations to coexist?
Then observe the results.
Why? In order to determine… what? The individual already believes, since they’ve already made the leap of faith back at the beginning. So the procedure appears to be circular, designed to provide some kind of subjective verification of the truth of things that the individual already believes to be true.
It has often been said that one cannot understand faith until one has faith. Just try it.
That makes it sound awfully easy. I don’t know, maybe there are people out there who can simply will themselves to believe things.
But if such an inner movement really is possible, wouldn’t it be possible to perform it with any idea whatsoever? So how does the leap of faith differ from madness?
A writer who favored and even idealized taking the leap of faith but felt the insanity of it very strongly was Soren Kierkegaard. He discusses this stuff passionately in his book ‘Fear and Trembling’.