I'm not 100% sure about deleting. Encarta has two senses, roughly:
an organized system of beliefs.
a set of beliefs prevailing in a social grouping.
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Dictionary has:
a faith based on a series of beliefs but not formalized into a religion
also, a fixed coherent set of beliefs prevalent in a community or society
Encarta's first sense seems NISoP. "Organized system" seems pleonastic, making the definition "system of beliefs", a trivial syntactic transformation of belief system. That transformation allows "system" and "belief" to be modified and coordinated, which would make the phrase not a set phrase, not an idiom, a mere normal construction.
Encarta's and Dictionary.com's 2nd senses seem equivalent. That sense may be the first sense, just in a different context, which would make it NISoP, IMHO.
Dictionary.com's first sense seems the least SoP. It is compatible with how I have read/heard the expression sometimes. The question is whether the defining hyponym "faith" is supportable in citations in a sense beyond one merely synonymous with "belief". DCDuringTALK 18:08, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
The thing is, that a belief system can be anything. If it were limited, then SoP would not be an automatic reaction. But Atheists hold to their belief system. Flat-earthists hold to theirs. Elvis-Is-Alivers hold to theirs, I hold to mine, and so on. So your analysis that faith actually means belief in the above definition is correct. IMHO. -- ALGRIFtalk 11:15, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
This is one of those times where some lemmings seem to be wrong, at least in that their definitions don't seem to show an idiomaticity. Does the OED have this? DCDuringTALK 11:30, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
It is in the OED's draft additions for March, 2010. Here's the defn: "a set of principles, ideas, or convictions which together form a tenable thesis, working ethos, or presiding ideology; esp. a religion or philosophy viewed in terms if its constituent ideas and beliefs." That is indeed a good descriptive defn, but I'm not satisfied it really adds up to anything more than a "system of belief". I fancy myself to be an inclusionist but, with mixed feelings, still lean toward delete, OED and Encarta notwithstanding. -- Ghost of WikiPedant 16:06, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Right. I wonder whether it is gaining a special place as an acknowledgment of the religion-like aspects of many secular ideologies. "Ideology" doesn't quite capture the nature of these systems as there is not a small group of ideologues who account for the architecture of the system. It is as if the absence of a suitable specific term for the non-religious, non-ideological phenomenon is drafting this hypernym to serve as the label for a specific subset of "systems of belief". That would be different from OED's take. Does anyone refer to the "belief system" of Christians, Muslims, or Marxists? DCDuringTALK 18:06, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Does anyone refer to the "belief system" of Christians, Muslims, or Marxists? No. "Faith", or "religious beliefs", are the place-holders in these cases. "Belief system" is a place-holder phrase which includes more than just religious beliefs. When a writer talks about the whole set of religious + political + cultural + moral + etc beliefs of a certain group or member of that group, he will use "belief system" as the place-holder for his earlier description. Similar phrases are cultural mores (no entry) religious belief (no entry) political background (no entry) etc etc. Places-holder phrases are useful and will get millions of hits on any search engine, but they are all SoP. Which is precisely why they work as place-holders. -- ALGRIFtalk 11:57, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
We do include items that are SoP. I have looked at a couple of hundred uses at COCA. This seems to be the accepted term for referring to the propositional content of many "isms" and of individuals, societies, etc. I don't think it can be shown to fail the component-coordination and -modification tests. If so, we may consider it to have become a "set phrase", possibly because of its great utility. There were more than a thousand hits at COCA. Even removing all of the the academic ones there were probably 200+ in more ordinary use. DCDuringTALK 12:35, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Delete per Algrif's analysis. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:25, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Keep as a common set phrase, one whose meaning is not perfectly clear to me from its parts, although it is nearly sum of parts. Unclarities of meaning: does a belief system need to be written or otherwise fixed a tangible medium? Does it need to be free from contradiction? Does it need to be shared by a group of people? Is belief system such a thing that each person has one? Does a belief system contain at least one non-descreptive statement by definition? Nonetheless, I think the current definition is wrong: "The basis on which beliefs are based. For example a religious belief system is based on faith and dogma whereas a scientific belief system is based on observation and reason". Having some good quotations would be great. A similar entry: value system. I do not know what "political background", referred to above, means; I would have thought it is past political activity of a person. --Dan Polansky 13:21, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
kept, no consensus for deletion -- Liliana• 17:12, 29 July 2011 (UTC)