In our modern world, we have knowledge and we have beliefs. Knowledge consists of facts and information gained through experience, either by ourselves or by others that is backed by irrefutable evidence. Beliefs are the acceptance that something is true or exists without factual certainty, either because we are unable or unwilling to test those beliefs. There is a third element that lies between knowledge and belief that most of us fail to realize. The element that all knowledge was held as a belief until it was proven.
Growing up, I had a falling-out with religion and later became strictly atheist. In this I became biased against beliefs and only trusted in the facts. If something was not yet a fact, then one day it either would be proven or it would not. Such is the process of the scientific method. But when you think about it, even the scientific method has a loose basis in belief. You have to believe in a potential outcome, your hypothesis, that can be tested to either be true or untrue. If you did not believe in the hypothesis even just a little bit, you would not have ventured on to testing it.
There is a balance between knowledge and belief which some of us realize. It is growing harder however to practice this balance as there seems to be a wedge being driven between the two. This has been happening since the Renaissance to where today topics that dwell in the realm of spirituality are considered taboo by science. The duality of having either one or the other is disharmonious as not everything is able to be proven nor will everything that people believe end up being true.
A belief is nothing more than an untested or untestable hypothesis. Isaac Newton had this as he was developing the Laws of Motion and the Theory of Gravity. Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity and the list goes on… Granted, these are very macro-scale events for the scientific community but they originated as a personally held belief by someone at some point. The original ideas backing these concepts no doubt originated long before these great figureheads of science came along and put their names on them. The difference is that in their time, they finally possessed the necessary resources in order to properly test them.
There still remains a great and many things that we are unable to properly test. No doubt things will remain that way for long after we all pass. Each and every one of us has our own theories and beliefs that one day could possibly end up as being true. The catch here though is that there is a big difference in the beliefs that could be true and the ones that we wish could be true. Whether we lean more towards science or religion, each of us must be mindful of the plausibility of reality that we accept these ideas with an inquisitive, but open, mind.