Lyrics from 3 of the most popular Christian songs of 2012: I fall into Your arms, Right where I belong, Your everlasting arms. And where would I be Without You. I’d be packin’ my bags when I need to stay.
Sorry I'm a little late to this game so I'm not sure you'll ever see my response. I really love your honesty about this and am intrigued that you read Mere Christianity. I was wondering if you've ever read more serious and thorough apologetics works and if so, what do you think of them?
"When atheists try to make substitutes for religion, they often do pretty well on acceptance, and on collecting specific self-control mechanisms. But they find it hard to substitute for the high-status ally, the added comfort and self-control this allows, and the rituals this makes more powerful."
I (an atheist) read C.S. Lewis' classic "Mere Christianity" over the weekend. Powerful. I attempt to "try on" an author's frame when I read their stuff, suspend criticism til I'm done to really let it sink in, and, man, if I could find a way to believe in God, that is the highest octane self-help (self-control) stuff around.
It's an odd experience to emerge from that book convinced that IF I could buy it, I'd be a better, happier, more productive person. But I simply can't.
"When you're committed to upholding an indefensible view, you become tolerant of your other indefensible views. I notice that fundamentalists tend to be particularly stubborn about all sorts of beliefs unrelated to religion."
Does being a fundamentalist make you more stubborn about non-religious beliefs, or does being stubborn about believes in general cause you to become / remain a fundamentalist?
It seems that brain emulations would have to engage in some pretty fanciful apologetics to believe any current religion.
Do you think they will invent new religions? Or will uploaded minds come to believe that they have iSouls that get uploaded to the big computing cloud in the sky when they die?
Ibelieve that Jesus wanted social justice for the world. I havediscovered a new book that shows how His message was covered up byHis Gentile followers. The church has blinkered its past. It's nosecret that Jesus strove to bring in the kingdom of justice here onearth and his followers implemented it in the communal society weread about in Acts 2:44-47. The church’s dirty secret is that theJewish followers of Jesus continued to hold his vision dear, laterinfluencing such sects as the Bogomils and even, according to theirown oral traditions, the Doukhobors. After exterminating the Jewishfollowers of Jesus, the church’s historians buried this history ofjustice-seeking but an author by the name of Lawrence Goudge hasexhumed their story and presented it in 'Cover-Up:How the Church Silenced Jesus's True Heirs.'This book does the world a great service by illuminating for thefirst time this vital part of the history of social justice. I foundit at http://tinyurl.com/69cazll.
Ok, I'll bite. Why is there no God? Are we taking this as given?
It seems to me the whole talk falls apart unless a 100% proof of atheism is proposed.
"But they find it hard to substitute for the high-status ally"
I disagree completely. Most atheists I talk to seem to be all about the high-status ally -- "the scientist." That is some non-specific archetype that they claim agrees with them.
Robin has referred to some of the research on this here:http://www.overcomingbias.c... Also this:McCullough, M., J. Tsang, & S. Brion (2003). Personality traits in adolescence as predictors of religiousness in early adulthood: Findings from the Terman Longitudinal Study. Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 29, 980-91.
Another story is that people with low self-control find it difficult to live in accordance with a particular set of religious rules.
But that story seems false: people with self-control problems gravitate toward rules to support their weak egos. Consider that people who have self-control problems regarding their alcohol consumption gravitate toward the rigid 12-step rules of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I think psychologist Roy Baumeister's ego-depletion theory explains it best. Essentially (I'm not emulating Baumeister's favorable tenor here), self-control, like our great grandparents believed, is a resource that improves with practice, rather like a muscle. Religious practice exercises this muscle by interposing senseless rules you must follow.
But if you know this is the case, you can probably devote your self-control resources to better causes than meaningless rules. (On super-important ego-depletion theory, see my article on "decision fatigue" at http://tinyurl.com/7lnoxne.)
This result is an improvement as its not anecdotal. However, it is compatible with several stories. I think the story you and Robin are inclined towards is one in which religion helps people with self-control.
Another story is that people with low self-control find it difficult to live in accordance with a particular set of religious rules. I find this equally plausible. In which case we see the same result that you cite but religion doesn't have any effect on self-control.
That is interesting. Could you tell me which paper you are referring to. Thanks.
Controlling for other factors, atheists tend to score lower on the personality trait of conscientiousness.
Those interested in the comforting aspects of religious rituals might also be interested in Stanford biologists Robert Saplosky's view that such rituals have their origins in OCD behavior:
Essentially, his idea is that even those who do not suffer from OCD can find genuine comfort in repetitive chants, etc. So developing rituals that offered such comfort became an outlet and indeed a career for those with strong OCD tendencies.
Not sure I understand: isn't the opposition of some Christian churches to abortion rights, for example, clearly visible?
your last link is broken, where does it point to?