I spend quite a lot of time studying religion, religious people, their behavior and doctrine. It seams to me that religious and atheists can be classified in part by their ability to see through their own bias, as well as their ability to deal more objectively with probabilities. In short atheists tend to have a better grasp on reality as a whole, with a broader perspective and they are better at critical thinking. Atheists are also better suited to deal with and succeed in life.
If this makes Atheists happier is of course a different matter, i wont go to much into that today but I think so. We can save that discussion to a later post.
In this post I will simply put forward a tiny tiny selection of some of the fallacies, biases and omissions, etc that the religious mind seams to cling to.
Major factors that influence the religious mind. What causes their cognitive distortion, etc.
Religious people are generally band wagon people, they have the tendency to believe things because many other people believe the same. This herd behavior seams almost manic, i think it is often because they are born in a religious home and breaking away results in the loss of established social networks. The fear of such a loss seams to override the willingness to refute or go against the establishment in fear of loosing status, influence or social contact. Even if the established doctrine if refuted or disproved beyond any reasonable doubt, they still wont go against it.
In addition all believers seam to have a serious focus on searching for and interpreting information in a way that confirms their preconceptions. Believers also seam to enhance or diminish the weight or importance of a measurement if it contrast with their pre-determined conclusion. They also tend to look at tings exclusively from the established point of view, flat out rejecting any new or broader ideas.
This bias of placing to much importance on a single point of view naturally results in a distorted inability to rationally react to the realities of life and to accept one owns and others strengths, personality traits and weaknesses. A sort of distorted view of the world if you will. Example: parents who dis communicate their children for leaving the church etc. (imagine how mentally ill you have to be to override your natural instinct to care for and love your kids)
This same narrow immovable pre-determined approach dictates the rhetoric used and can explain their inability to carry reasonable arguments on most topics. The sad end result has a detrimental effect on the entire society, since the religious faction (even if they have good intentions and ideals) fail to either deliver the message or they are so restricted by their own contradictory claims that the end result is utterly confusing and flawed.
Example: Religious people will happily go though volumes of scientific literature looking desperately for some imaginary flaw, and still they have no problems blindly believing an inconsistent self contradictory document aparently authored by ignorant subsistance farmers living in tents thousands of years ago.
The notion in itself is ridicilous: ask yourself this who would you believe?
A: The findings of my pears living in modern times that can be tested and verified by anyone including myself?
B: Some un verifiable fairytale from thousands of years ago that makes no sense, is totally improbable and contradicts itself on every page?
(if you answer B you are probably religious)
I have wondered many times if peoples attraction to religion is the illusion of control? Sort of a comfort blanket, when things are out of the individuals control it could be consoling to believe that someone else, that can be trusted are in control. Or maybe its just a result of peoples tendency to express undue liking for things merely because they are familiar with them? Or Perhaps the concept of uncertainty is uncomfortable to many people.
It certainly seams like these weaknesses plays a part since most religious people judge harmful actions as worse, or less moral, than equally harmful omissions (inactions).
Example: grown ups children, in fact entire families in irak are daily put down like weeds yet noone lifts a finger, but if a doctor performs an abortion Americans line up around the block with posters? Go figure?
Religious people also seam overly fond of the status quo, for example one of the things i hear often as an argument from Muslims is that the koran is still in its original form, this is totally ridiculous or course, but that is besides the point really, the question is: Who wants to stay static? isn’t the progress we have made to date, due to the fact that we have exchanged the old with the better?
In broad terms religious peoples actual interests usually differ from what they believe to be their interests yet religious people fail continually to realize the irrationality of their actions and beliefs and believe they are acting perfectly rational. There might be some major flaws in their reasoning?
I have talked to a lot of religious people who people find themselves in a condition of living “double” lives. They try to put on one “mask” for one group of people and another for a different group of people. Many are truly confused as to which they really are or which they wish to become. It has terrible detrimental effects on the quality of their lives.
I say that religious delusions schould be recognized as the mental disorder that it is! Why schould these poor people not be able to treat their clearly irrational behavior?