Saturday, April 30, 2011

Religious Deceit

"Religion provides the solace for the turmoil it creates"
―Byron Danelius (Professor of Biology)
This is an interesting criticism of religion, as it says to me that religious persuasion only works on people who already accept its tenets. A good example of this is the Christian conception of sin, and the corresponding forgiveness. Unless one already feels like they have committed a crime against the Judeo-Christian deity, why would one feel obliged to apologise and ask for forgiveness from it?

Similarly with Scientology, unless you have already accepted that you need to be fixed, what reason could you possibly have for getting audited, and mending your thetans. A person who believes that they are healthy doesn't check themselves in to a hospital for treatment. A sane person doesn't commit themselves to psychiatric care. Likewise, a person who doesn't believe in a religion shouldn't feel compelled to become a part of it.

Following from that, religions are almost forced to act like con-artists, playing physical and mental tricks on you to get you to believe their claims. The strategy used by Mormons, gets the 'mark' to read their scripture, while praying to their god to give them a warm feeling if it is true. I guess that this is a subtle form of psychological manipulation, the mark is required to actively interact with the deity without supposedly believing in it. On top of that, there is the confirmation bias of finding what you look for, if someone is trying to find that 'warm feeling' in their heart, they almost certainly will find it.

The strategy employed by many evangelical Christians isn't too dissimilar from the Mormon's, except they generally don't get people to try and read the Bible straight away. Emotion is a very popular tool, instead of actually showing that their religion is true they will tell their story of how Christianity helped them which they call 'sharing their testimony'. It should go without saying that the emotional solace one can feel from believing something has absolutely no bearing on its truth. It may feel great to believe that you are in a relationship with [insert attractive celebrity here], but it doesn't reflect reality. Delusions can make people feel on top of the world, but they're still just figments of imagination.

1 comment:

  1. That's clever. I never looked at it that way before. It's sort of like surprise injecting a hooker with heroin.