Knowing vs Believing: Difference and Comparison

Knowing and believing are two abstract concepts. They have a practical application in religious teachings across the world. To know refers to being sure of something. Believing, on the other hand, refers to firm convictions.

Although having knowledge and believing are different, they are confusing in everyday use. However, there are several differences between the terms that assure they are not the same. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Knowing refers to having information backed up by evidence or personal experience.
  2. Believing refers to accepting something as true without evidence supporting it.
  3. Knowing is based on facts while believing is based on faith or personal convictions.

Knowing vs Believing 

Knowing means having factual or experiential knowledge about something. It means having evidence or proof that something is true or exists. Knowing is based on evidence or facts. Believing is accepting something as true or real without necessarily having evidence or proof to support it. Belief can be based on personal experience, intuition, faith, or trust in someone or something.

Knowing vs Believing
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To know means to perceive something directly. It refers to the knowledge that comes from within. When an individual knows something, it becomes a part of his existence.

Knowing doesn’t restrict but empowers an individual. The primary reason behind the same is that knowing comes without a doubt. Knowing is eternal. 

To believe means to accept something as truth and have firm conviction. Unlike knowing, believing something doesn’t come from within an individual. Instead, it comes from outside an individual.

In addition, beliefs are mental exercises which are located in the mental realm. They comprise thinking and accepting ideas, values and beliefs. Thus, beliefs house the mental domain. Believing is transitory. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonKnowing Believing 
Definition To know means to perceive something directly. It refers to the knowledge that you are certain and sure about. To believe means to accept something as true and have firm conviction. 
Element of doubtKnowing involves no doubt because it comes from within. It is a part of an individual’s existence. Believing involves at least some degree of doubt because it comes from outside an individual. It may or may not be a part of an individual’s existence. 
Longevity Knowing is eternal because it doesn’t involve uncertainty. A person is sure about what he knows. Believing is transitory because it involves a degree of doubt. A person may not be sure about what he believes. 
LocationKnowing is located in the physical domain. It involves physical exercises. Believing is located in the mental domain. It involves mental exercises. 
Empowers/RestrictsKnowing empowers an individual due to the absence of doubt. It enables an individual to be confident in themselves. Believing restricts an individual due to the presence of some degree of doubt. It doesn’t make an individual confident in themselves. 
Comfort/ChaosTo know brings comfort in an individual’s life. It enables an individual to be calm and composed. Belief may bring chaos in an individual’s life due to the uncertainty of opinions. 

What is Knowing?

To know means to perceive something directly. It refers to the knowledge that you are sure about and emerges from within an individual. It originates in the mental domain. However, it lies in the physical realm. There is no doubt attached to knowing as it comes from an individual’s own experiences. 

When an individual knows something, it becomes a part of his existence. All the things that an individual is sure about come under the umbrella of knowing. To know includes all the information that an individual can hold with confidence. They are physical exercises. 

Knowing doesn’t restrict but empowers an individual. The primary reason behind the same is that knowing comes without a doubt. An individual is sure about all that he knows.

Another significant characteristic of knowing is that it is eternal. What you know- such as what photosynthesis is or what is hyperbole- remains constant throughout life. It doesn’t change at any point in your life. 

Knowing things brings comfort. For example, if you know you have a test next month, you’ll be relaxed while preparing for it. As a result, knowing reduces your fears. To know comes with shrewdness and awareness. It doesn’t correspond to blind trust in an idea, belief, or opinion.  

knowing

What is Believing?

To believe means to accept something as true and have firm conviction. Unlike knowing, believing something doesn’t come from within an individual. Instead, it originates from outside an individual.

As a result, belief has an element of doubt attached to it. Beliefs held by one individual may not correspond with those held by another. Since beliefs have a degree of doubt in them, they will let you down.

Consider, for example, the belief that money is everything. Now, this belief may not validate in an environment where personal relationships are placed over monetary benefits and let you down.

In addition, beliefs are mental exercises which lie in the mental realm. They comprise thinking and accepting ideas, values and beliefs. Thus, beliefs house the mental domain.  

Believing comes with an element of doubt. Consequently, an individual’s beliefs can restrict him/her. For instance, believing that limiting yourself to academics is the best option may hold you from exploring yourself and your skills. Believing invites gullibility. It can trap an individual in scams or puzzling situations.

An idea, opinion or notion is all transitory. Beliefs change as an individual grows and evolves. There are several beliefs that you may have had in the past. But, as time passed by, you no longer associate yourself with those ideas.

believing

Main Differences Between Knowing and Believing 

  1. Knowing refers to knowledge about something. On the other hand, believing refers to a firm conviction and trust in an idea, value or belief. 
  2. Knowing involves no doubt because it comes from within. In contrast, believing involves some degree of doubt because it comes from outside an individual. 
  3. Knowing is located in the physical realm, whereas believing is located in the mental domain. 
  4. Knowing empowers an individual due to the absence of doubt. However, believing restricts an individual due to the presence of some degree of uncertainty. 
  5. Knowing is eternal. On the other hand, believing in opinions is all transitory. Beliefs change as an individual grows and evolves. 
  6. Knowing things brings comfort. In contrast, believing will let you down in different situations. 
Difference Between Knowing and Believing
References
  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4544218
  2. https://journals.openedition.org/educationdidactique/2204 

Last Updated : 07 August, 2023

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