People often get annoyed with memes because, by their nature, they are prone to oversimplifying complicated issues. However, this one brings up a very important point about the language we choose to use.
Often I have heard people who, bogged down by conversations with religious people, creationists, conspiracy theorists or the like, exclaim in frustration “No! I don’t believe in your religion! I believe in science! I believe in evolution! I believe in facts! I believe that we landed on the moon!” It is a poor choice of words. One that is set up by people who do hold faith-based beliefs.
By using the word “believe”, you are unconsciously putting evolution and creationism (for example) on an equal footing. You are allowing creationists/religious people/whomever to dismiss the argument as a simple differing of opinion. “Well, I believe X and you believe Y, oh well, it’s OK to just believe different things”. Accepting evolution is not a matter of faith. There are far better reasons for accepting evolution than there are for believing in creationism. It’s not just a matter of opinion.
Just yesterday, I was trying to explain to an Italian colleague of mine what a New Agey/Spiritual person meant. I was giving examples: the kinds of people who meditate, who go to seminars about meditation, who believe in homeopathy…
Another colleague of mine started laughing at how I had phrased that last part: believing in homeopathy. But yea, it is a belief, one that is based on faith rather than facts. There is no scientific evidence to support it, no rational reason to think it works, that makes it a belief. It’s not a matter of believing in homeopathy vs. believing in modern medicine. It is a matter of believing in homeopathy vs. understanding, and accepting, that modern medicine is the best we’ve got right now.
We need to try to distance ourselves from the word “belief”. It is doing us no favors.