This very short post will look at the particular meanings of two words – beliefs and claims – that are frequently misunderstood in the context of the debates between atheists and theists. It’s brevity is to ensure clarity. In a nutshell…
Beliefs are held. Claims are stated.
The first point is that a belief is unstated. It is held by you. When you communicate that belief to someone else it becomes a claim that the other party can choose to agree or disagree with. But wait, you say, aren’t you just quibbling over semantics? No, I’m not. To explain why, let’s go to the second point.
The second point is that the strength of a belief can have little correlation with the evidence for the belief, whereas the strength of a claim rests solely on the evidence for the claim.
That’s it. If you want to discuss this further, then go to the comments.