Re: virus: Why people cling to faith
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 19:07:22 EST

In a message dated 1/25/99 12:07:05 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

<< I believe it has more to do with a religious experience than anything else.

I believe it has more to do with people wanting to believe for whatever their reasons are, and through this desire discarding critical thinking. We tend to interpret reality in terms of our expectations.

>>That is an analogy to the christian experience in "meeting Jesus Christ".
like a whole new world opens up, and you want to tell everyone about it.<<

Yeah, and the bad part about it is that nobody rational will listen to testimonial evidence without corroboration - and its gotta be pretty excellent corroboration for such astounding hypothesis which I am sure you are just dying to talk about.

You can talk until you are blue in the face, but still all you have done is talk. If that's the case, it's a pretty cruel predicament that this Jesus person seems to have put you in - making you want to talk about it so much, and then not giving you a leg to stand on. If it was me, I'd say "tough luck", and not bug my neighbors about it too much. With this lack of courtesy, I couldn't imagine that it would make any difference whether anybody is "saved" or not - the guy doesn't deliver the goods on the first go 'round, why would the second be any different?

>>It's so real that no amount of evidence seems to be able to destroy faith in

My mother-in-law had some very "real" hallucinations under the influence of Darvicet after her last operation. She had no problem understanding later that they were not real.

>>I have had that experience.<<

Unclear referrant - "that". Are you a rat? Did somebody pick you up out of your rat cage? Did you meet some man who told you that he was "Jesus Christ"? (I've met a few of them too).

>>and now am trying to find out if this experience is just a trick of the

Which experience? It may be a trick of your brain that you aren't being clear. If you have had an hallucination, perhaps it would be good to recognize that and consider the causes of it. Many drugs - both legal, perscription, and illegal - can do this. There are also lots of chemicals in your brain that can do the same under stressful conditions or sleep deprivation. There are also lots of diagnosable mental illnesses that do this as well, and some folks with brain tumors have experienced hallucinations. These are some sincere possibilities. There are also plenty of insincere ones as well.

>>I hope this clears up for you what makes a lot of these christians tick.<<

Doesn't clear a thing up. Only reaffirms what I have already generally understood about religious people and their religious experiences. The reasons driving religious thinking are many (belonging, security, comfort, simplicity, and on and on). The reason permitting it is always one, not using critical thinking skills. Either having a general pattern of not using them, or putting them on hold for one or a few emotional exceptions.

After more than a decade of striving to understand religious folks, I can't put it any more charitably than that - though I spent a fair amount of effort in the past trying to be more "politically correct". But I think the reasons - irrational though they are - are fairly human. Unfortunately so is violence, racism, slavery and war. Religion is generally more neutral than those, but it often forms the justification for them as well.

Religion (at least as it is traditionally understood), is doomed for extinction. You yourself acknowleged some of that reality:

>>I find that few people really understand why a lot of christians hold to
faith when there seems to be so much evidence destructive to the biblical world-view.<<

The evidence is definitely not shrinking. All of the "evidence" in favor of it has been testimonial, erroneous, or outright fraudulent. After this millenial fever subsides, there will be fewer pieces than ever to gather up. The biblical world-view is not a view of anything except the history of the biblical world-view. If I had some unusual experience, however I made sense of it, it definitely would not be in terms of any biblical world-view. Might as well consider the world view of greek mythology if I was going to do something like that.