Yes that poor little word belief has been molested by halfwits. The word in my books does not mean 'I know'.
There are so many other words that have equally unhelpful ambiguosity or multiple meanings. 'Jewish' is one for instance. How can a person be free of the religious label they were given if it is the same word as indicates their racial heritage?
'Faith' is another as its meaning seems to mean well founded trust or confidence at one pole and at the other, ignorance and denial. And the word 'love' has been dressed up like a 4yr old in a beauty pageant.
I imagine - perhaps foolishly that peoples opinions aren't so unreconsilable. That a little but fundamental tweak here, a little clarification there and half the worlds disputes evaporate. If ever I find myself involved in or privy to a dispute, it always seems to turn out that the crux of the issue is a nothing that has been blown into a something through a communicative error or errors or the silliest misconception. I know (I believe) I'm amongst others here who share my sentiments on the value of openness and honesty.
'...these metaphysical discussions are interesting - although not life-changing in terms of my ACTIONS, just my perspectives...which becomes part of my "circumstances"...so maybe more insidiously influential than it would seem on first glance?'
Sorry, I'm struggling with the meaning of this a little erm.... Your perspectives have sway on your actions of course. The metaphisical stuff for me is vaguely interesting in the same way as wondering if the matrix is actually true...wait, that is exactly the same thing.
I'm a pitifully uneducated person, I had to work the fallacy of free will out for myself. Only a couple of years ago in fact, whilst working as a farm hand in Australia - as good a place as any for an epiphany I think.
I brought it up with my family at Xmas and it was prettymuch laughed at and swiftly placed on the back burner. I didn't feel inclined to force the issue at the time but perhaps I should have. After researching it a little I find out that not only is there a complete lack of evidence for the existence of free will but that it has already become the scientific consensus that it does not (or rather that we should assume that it does not until we have the slightest cause to consider it a possibility - I think would be a more accurate way of putting it as the scientific consensus is that 'knowing' anything is almost certainly impossible).
Re: Poly marriage rights.
Do we make life more complicated than it needs to be? ...ah, after reading that again I see that's exactly what you're suggesting. Perhaps the unecessary aspects of marriage will (are already?) falling away. Many people don't go in for marriage at all in England. It means less and less. Any children are protected by law anyway and are as a default, the responsibility of those named on the birth certificate. If there is a dispute, both parties should have equal legal backing - I've wondered this; is it possible that we could have a system whereby any dispute has a basic government funding. If either pary wants more they can pay more into a fund which is then split 50/50 so you don't end up with haves getting better legal advice than have nots.
...anyway, off the subject a bit and not my area of expertise to be fair. Still, it's not a bad idea to wander from ones comfort zone. I offer my thoughts with humility.