If believers in God are so gullible…

…then why do they hold on so dearly, for the most part, to their convictions? Why aren’t they more easily tricked in to jumping around to different religious beliefs. It would seem that if they were so easily convinced of fairy tales, they would be just as easily convinced off of them, right?

Prediction: Atheists will respond to an argument I’m not making.

Comments

  1. Annie Gravity says:

    Well, I think it’s part of a greater ideology. The forces that command humans to behave in certain ways (socialisation for example) are the forces that form subjective realities (i.e. realities that are real to the person, but not necessarily real outside of that person’s perception). People may know deep down (unconsciously) that what they believe is fiction, but the truth-value of their beliefs is irrelevent (to them at least!), because they fail to make the connection that belief and truth are co-depedent and that it is completely illogical to believe fiction to be true, or to refuse to believe something to be true. Religious people are not easily convinced out of believing gibberish, because it forms the contextual reality in which they live. This contextual reality is the hardest ideology for people to break from, particularly if they’re conformists and seek security by conforming to the values of the society they live in; it’s the easiest way to live. Humans are sheep, pardon the pun.

    Mind you, some religious people do jump between different religious beliefs, but this is because they are inclined towards polytheistic religions. For example, in Japan many people follow Buddhism, Shintoism and Daoism together. It is the monotheistic religions that demand belief in one God and one God only (as in Islam), and because that is the doctrine people will remain rigid and ignorant; the consequences of prescribing to religious doctrines entail life-long “loyalty” to one ideology.

    Hope this isn’t an argument in response to a non-argument…

    • I see what you’re saying, I just don’t see how or why a person who is otherwise one to show good and sound judgement, hold rigorously to a view that has little to no evidence (from the Atheist point of view). Shouldn’t have religious belief systems have gone extinct long ago? I mean, if praying to a piece of cheese, for example, yields roughly the same rate of prayers answered, why would belief in God be so high? Namely, the vast…VAST majority of the human population believe a deity exists.

      And further, if humans are sheep, which for the most part I agree with, they should be more easily moved off their beliefs.

      Also, I know there are people who change their religious views as often as they change socks, but those aren’t the norm and not whom I am talking about.

      But yes, thank you for your answer, it was a good one. Someone will run off with a non answer, they always do. I’ll point it out for you! Thanks for your thoughts.

      • Annie Gravity says:

        I think the reason people reject evidence is partly because it is of no relevance to their lives and partly because it would change their lives too much if they accepted it. Whether the sun orbits the earth or the earth the sun is of no relevance to people who just want to get through the day. On the other hand, people refuse to see the full gravity of the truth of the abuses in the Catholic Church, for example, because it hurts too much to accept that they are living in an illusion and following an evil ideology.

        Religion (or the Bible, at least) is definitely past its sell-by, but it has persisted all this time because humanity continually updates its understanding of religious content and how this content applies to their subjective world. Religion’s fundamental stupidity is still applicable to the questions we can’t answer. Despite advances in science and the apparent undeniable nature of truth, religion persists (a miracle!), but this is because some evidence is accepted, not because of its truth-value but because the truths that people perceive are accepted according to how they cohere with their belief system, which is primary. Truth is therefore secondary to most people’s values because their reality resides in value and this reality is all that is needed to survive in society. As a result, religion forms people’s identities and they see themselves as part of their beliefs in some fundamental way, because their beliefs are the basis of the lives they lead.

        People pray to God rather than a piece of cheese because an element of mutual understanding is required for it to be a collective ideology. All members of a society must answer to the same concept (or conception, rather), be it multiple gods, or just one in order for it to transcend the present. Many people are attracted to religion because they are unstable in their awareness of their mortality and need to believe that they will persist into the future. This can be done by being part of society, which is far larger than the individual and will survive longer than the individual. Nevertheless, we – as a race – are not intelligent enough to live together without answers to fundamental questions. We need to base our love for one another on something for it to have meaning. In the case of religion, love is devalued and based on illusion because we don’t know the truth (aren’t 100% certain in terms of evidence [which is really a silly refutation of the scientific method on the religious part: they reject the concept of evidence anyway!] of the existence of God). But some things will always remain mysteries in our lifetimes, so there will always be a motivation to substitute the gap in knowledge with gibberish.

        Once something enters the majority it can only grow because the majority are the power of society and convert minorities into majorities. It will do anything to save itself. It will even deny truth.

  2. Personally, John, I really don’t know anyone who changed their religious views as often as you mention.

    Yes, many religious belief systems should have gone extinct long ago, but they’re buried deep in emotion and dogma that the follower cannot easily reason with. People shore up a whole bunch of irrational beliefs with what they think is good and sound judgement, not to mention the social pressures for maintaining those beliefs without question.

    I really have a difficult time understanding how anyone can still believe the fairy tales of Adam and Eve and the story of Noah after applying good and sound judgement.

    It seems like the question you ask in your post is more directed to believers rather than non-believers.

  3. Religious people rarely use the “Outsider Test for Faith” (OTF). (A good book discussing the OTF in the context of Mormonism is “Deconstructing Mormonism . . .” by Tom Riskas.) That is why people remain in the religion they most likely were brought up to believe in. In America, it’s usually Christianity. In Iran, it’s usually Islam. In Israel, it’s usually Judaism. Etc.

    • So let’s apply the otf, Daniel.

      Z,

      No its a question for atheists. If no evidence exists, and the religious are so obviously duped, why aren’t they atheists?

  4. TerranceH says:

    John,

    I’m disappointed in you. I’ve been coming to this blog for a long time. I’ve noticed many posts about Christmas, Easter, and even a few about Passover. But nothing about the Atheist holiday.

    You need to be equal, John. We are living in a New America. There must be equality.

    So, please post something about the upcoming Atheist Holiday, Monday April 1st.

  5. Why would you ask a non-believer to explain why a believer is so “obviously duped”?
    Again, that seems like a question for the believer to explain, not for the non-believer to speculate about.

    As someone who believes in Adam and Eve and the story of Noah, why do you hold on so dearly to those convictions even after using good and sound judgement to conclude that they are just fairy tales?

  6. “Why would you ask a non-believer to explain why a believer is so “obviously duped”?
    Again, that seems like a question for the believer to explain, not for the non-believer to speculate about.”

    The question, as I see it, is for the atheist to explain how it could be possible for the gullible to withstand what the atheist maintains is truth and wisdom. The “gullible”, on the other hand, actually believe what they believe and do not perceive themselves as gullible. With that in mind, how could they possibly answer the question? “Gullible” means that one is easily deceived or tricked. Logic would dictate that a gullible person would be swayed easily by a better argument. The atheist believes their position to be a better argument. The “gullible” remain unchanged. How is that possible?

    John’s question, then, is more an indictment of the atheist position, or at least their ability to refute the beliefs of the faithful. If the atheist position made more sense, then swaying the gullible should be a simple task. This paradox suggests a level of gullibility on the part of the atheist who is led to their position by what they perceive to be the convincing arguments, based on what they believe to be proven evidence. In the end, both sides are holding to that which requires some level of faith that what they believe is true. Neither has the amount of “proof” that can overcome the “gullibility” of the other.

  7. “I think the reason people reject evidence is partly because it is of no relevance to their lives and partly because it would change their lives too much if they accepted it.”

    There is no rejection of evidence itself by the faithful. What is rejected is that what passes for evidence of “no-God” isn’t persuasive compared to evidence of God’s existence. What is rejected is the manner in which “evidence” is used to suggest God does not exist. An example would be the issue of miracles. The atheist would insist that, say, the parting of the Red Sea is not possible as it defies the laws of the physical world. The believer knows this is true, but understands that defying those laws is what constitutes the event as miraculous. Thus, the “evidence” fails to persuade. Meanwhile, testimonies attesting to the truth of the miracle are rejected by atheists as unconvincing for the conflict it poses for the atheist ideology, more than the reliability of the testifier, which is impossible to malign objectively.

    “On the other hand, people refuse to see the full gravity of the truth of the abuses in the Catholic Church, for example, because it hurts too much to accept that they are living in an illusion and following an evil ideology.”

    One needs to establish that abuses have any impact on the truth of the ideology. Annie G. has not established that the ideology is evil simply because abuses by adherents to the ideology have taken place. Gullibility is at play here. Annie is among those who insist that the faithful are comprised of people who never weigh the facts of the physical world against the claims of the faith in which they believe. This is not the case with a great many of the most intellectual and scientific minds of the world today. How can these people be explained by the atheist?

  8. By gullible it is meant they believe anything their told and then stick to it like glue. I wouldn’t call it gullible as much as rigid. Its more believing whatever their told (as children) and then sticking with it no matter what.

    Did I respond to the question you were making?

    • Gullible means easily persuaded. Nothing in the definition infers “and sticks to it like glue”.

      I don’t expect everyone to read every article I post, but in my personal bio under the “About” tab, I recount my experience. I was not raised in a Christian or religious household. In fact, my father is a religion mocking atheist and my mother is a functional atheist in that nothing of God or religion is ever mentioned. Your generalization (which is for the most part warranted) doesn’t address the countless people who hold religious convictions in spite of their parents teachings. I, for one, came to Christianity in my mid 20s, after my schooling.

      perhaps you could refine your response taking into consideration the correct definition of gullible.

  9. Being wrong is not the same as being gullible.

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