Belief is generally defined as a psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true. This general definition however is missing an important differentiation which is the root cause of this psychological state.
Belief can mathematically be understood as ignorance plus laziness, squared:
If the cause for a belief is the result of critical thinking and the application of the scientific method it is also – and more accurately – referred to as a ‘theory’. Theories enable a person to acquire new knowledge. In contrast belief is in fact ignorance paired with an explanation void of critical thinking or application of the scientific method and hence is not likely to increase knowledge.
Superstitiously formed beliefs additionally imploy elements outside of observably reality. If the belief is held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary it is labeled a delusion.
Dogmatically held beliefs assign a set of rules that all believers of said belief must follow to be ‘true believers’ and be accepted into a group of followers of these beliefs.
Finally, belief combining dogma and superstition creates a psychological state that prevents the individual holding the belief of acquiring knowledge in all areas covered by this belief. The most common form of this variance of ignorance is organized religion.