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To believe or not to believe, in elves?

Believe is a remarkable thing. There is not a single person in the world that lives without it. Some people believe there is a God, some believe there is no God and some believe they don’t believe at all. But the remarkable thing about believe is that sometimes people are unaware of their own believes.  What would you answer if asked the question “Do you believe in elves “ ?  Most likely the answer would be no. But the funny thing about believe is that you don’t have to accept the ridiculous idea that elves exist to believe that they might. Is that an absurd sentence?  Possibly, but maybe an example will clear things up.
A few years ago there was a survey made in Iceland to investigate how many people in Iceland believed in elves or “huldufólk”, which roughly translated means “the hidden people”. Though most were not ready to admit that they believed in elves, there were few ready to say that they did not exist at all. The question was not did they believe in elves, the question was would they risk destroying a so called elves stone, which in Iceland is where elves live.  For at least 3 times road construction has been changed so elves stones would not be destroyed in the process. The stories about a cursed place or the horrible things that would happen to a person that harmed an elves home have been passed on for generations’. The nation has learned a lot of new things since then, but are they ready to reject their ancestors’ believe? No over 50% would not move an elves stone out of their own garden to make room for something else, not even from their own garden. They did not believe but they weren’t ready to risk angering the elves.
Now what about believe in general? Is believe always passed on from person to person? Of course it is, you believe what you are told as a child and in most cases, deep down, continue to believe when you grow up. But can we truly get rid of that believe? If you attended church as a child or just went there with your family for a funeral or a wedding, would you be able to destroy that church to make room for a fast food place? If not is it because you still believe that it is the house of God or because you are attached to the memories that you have of that place?

When do you know that you believe and how do you know that you do not believe?