Prevalent belief, no surprise

I just recently heard something on a podcast that made me think, it really is no surprise that belief is so prevalent. The person said that when he was young he tried believing “like everyone around him did”. I must say that even I as a 2nd generation atheist in a country that is really not that religious also at some point in my life tried belief thing, not much and it certainly didn’t stick but my mind was open to it. Now any company would love the chance to get 100% of the population to try their product, by chance alone a significant portion of the population will buy (into) it, add peer pressure/power/influence/indoctrination/reward/fear and imho it’s no wonder that the majority believe in god.

Just a thought.

I’d say that one of the biggest problems is that not only are most people never trained to think in a logical manner, they are (as you imply) actively encouraged not to. There are many groups that have something to gain from people not looking too closely at facts or asking tough-to-answer questions.

Parents lie to their children and expect to be believed or react negatively when something they say is questioned. Schools spend a great deal of time giving information and very little time telling students what to do with that information, and certainly do not react well to those who ask questions, do not automatically accept the word of an authority, or reach conclusions other than the “right” conclusion. Even the news presents subjects with bias far more often than journalistic ethics should allow and expects to be simply believed. I won’t even get into advertisers.

Lack of knowledge of how to have an intelligent conversation is epidemic.

In my own experience, my questioning of religion was met by responses that did more to ask why I “hated” the church or “rejected” my parents than answer my questions. I was told that there were certain kinds of questions one shouldn’t ask, and that there were specific “correct” ways one should read religious books. I was told that the answers to my questions were within my heart, but when my heart gave me the “wrong” answers I either wasn’t trying hard enough or I was being deceived by Satan. I was warned that I shouldn’t read books that disagreed with accepted belief because “whenever [anyone] reads a book, they end up believing that what it says is true.”

It’s all very frustrating, and it makes life that much harder for those of us who encourage critical thinking. I’ve had people tell me that it won’t matter to them if their beliefs are logical or not unless I can show where the Bible says that people must be logical. I’ve seen people completely unphased when their beliefs are self contradictory. I’ve — on far too many occasions — been confronted by people who insist that their argument is correct because it reaches the conclusion they want to reach, even though they admit that the argument is fatally flawed. The average person doesn’t even draw a strong line between truth and opinion.

Depressing, isn’t it?

Posted on August 5, 2008 at 10:32 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Reasoning

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Anon
    on August 14, 2008 at 9:19 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Agreed. Schools should teach logic, and how to find answers, rather than supplying those answers (to a point, of course).

  2. Written by Akane
    on May 14, 2011 at 10:15 am
    Reply · Permalink

    What depresses me most is the way schools brainwash kids. I mean, I was brought up in a CoE school and they basically spend their entire time going “This is a true story from the Bible which is a magic book from God himself. Isn’t that ever so wonderful?” Problem is when you’re in Reception (don’t know if Americans have Reception? It’s the year before Year One, so four and five year old children) you believe everything your teacher tells you. And by the time you’re older and your brain is developed enough to think for itself and question adults, you’ve spent too long with your beliefs to imagine believing otherwise.
    It is brainwashing, and pure evil. If people want to believe in Christianity, go ahead. You can believe what you like- so long as you don’t enforce it on others. The problem is that far too many people think ‘you can’t enforce it on others’ means ‘you can’t pin people against a wall and put a gun to their head and threaten to fire unless they convert to your religion’. They don’t realise that telling kids about their religion when they are that young is just as forceful, if not more, than threats. And it should be just as illegal.

    Believe what you want, but don’t tell it to kids until they’re old enough to think for themselves, and make their own decision based on what they themselves think and have experienced.

    I was brought up in CoE and I was Christian for years. I am ashamed of that now, even though I know it wasn’t my fault. And when I changed away from Christianity, I was bullied for my choice, and had to change schools twice. I’m in Year Eight now but I still can’t look back without fury and that is what spurs me on so strongly to get into politics and outlaw stuff like that.
    So in a way, I have the Christians to thank for giving me my ambition. I want to be a politician when I’m older so I can change things, and that started when I decided I wanted to outlaw converting little kids. I want to give other kids the chance that I eventually had to give myself; the chance to think freely, for yourself. And that way, nobody else will ever have to go through looking back with hurt and pain and fury because of some stupid religion that thought imposing its beliefs on others was OK.

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