Religious belief creates a filter through which we perceive reality. It becomes a part of our worldview that programs bias. This distorts how we interpret reality and diminishes our use of common sense and logic.
We are prone to the mind trap of confirmation bias. This distorts our thinking and values. This is the tendency to interpret new evidence within the boundaries of our existing beliefs. It’s the default setting of our worldview. It makes perception easier, but not more accurate. Not all belief systems are created equal. Some religions have more doctrine, filters, and boundaries. And so not all religions have the same effect on our critical thinking.
Religions affect our ability to reason in differing degrees. It all depends upon the size and the number of boundaries. The more rules and boundaries the more it affects our ability to reason fact, from fiction. The more we are exposed to groupthink manipulation, the more susceptible we are to the programming.
Ideas or concepts that are fantasy, that have no basis in fact or proof cause the greatest distortion of perception. So, the crazier and more far-fetched the beliefs and greater their adverse effect on our ability to think.
Religious Belief — Confirmation Bias
For example, Taoism and many forms of Paganism have the fewest constraints over our thinking. With these systems, you are free to explore and develop your path. Your ability to reason is intact.
Whereas, The Abrahamic religions, have the greatest number of boundaries. These are religions of Semitic origin, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They have the most biased and contradictory doctrines. They cause the distortions of perception we call confirmation bias. You learn to reject facts and ideas that conflict with their boundaries.
On the other hand, Western Organized Religion has the most boundaries. It directs its efforts at controlling thought and values. Some say this probably the original primary purpose. They use a system of continuous indoctrination and programming to mold values and thinking. It’s effective at establishing boundaries, restrictions, and limitations on independent thought.
Such boundaries “tell” you what is wrong and what is right. They often dictate personal and social values that have ripple effects throughout society. And, their effects depends upon how emotionally invested you are in the propositions they are selling. These systems sell hate, spawn genocide, wars, and discrimination of races, ethnicity, and gender. All the while proclaiming they are agents of love. Those invested in these paradigms can cherry-pick the doctrines to fit their needs. This is one reason they are known as the false light.
The most effective agents for change within these paradigms are children. This is because children ask hard questions. They are not afraid to point out the illogical inconsistencies. Many Sunday school teachers end up leaving Christianity. Children force us to face bias and discrimination.
How Belief Affects Common Sense and Logic
Here’s how it works. Western Organized Religion is based on programming the mind to set up filters that elicit the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. This triggers a violent reaction to anything that threatens these boundaries. The more rigid, inflexible, and extreme your religious beliefs, the less likely your ability to use common sense and logic. You automatically reject any idea outside the boundaries of your paradigm. Your ability to use common sense and logic are diminished.
Our research shows there is an inverse relationship between religious belief, and the ability to use common sense. Thus, the more extreme your religious beliefs the less you can perceive ideas outside of the paradigm or reason logically. The more extreme the beliefs, the more likely you are to ignore and disregard facts and ideas that conflict with your paradigm’s views. You become a puppet. You react with fear or hate when you encounter any idea or fact that challenges any boundary.
Determining Confirmation Bias
You can tell how emotionally invested you are in your paradigm by the emotional reaction to ideas that challenge it. Are you having a negative emotional reaction to this article? If so this is a sign you are probably a follower in one of the sects of the Abrahamic religions. Let’s look at how learning about the correct use of logical reasoning can help unmask your level of vulnerability.
A Little Logic Goes a Long Way
Here’s an example of how to spot the improper use of deductive reasoning and the “false premise”. We’ll use the Supreme Being Odin as our subject.
First, proving a negative or negative proof is “a false proof.” It is an error of circular logic to prove the non-existence of something that does not exist. For example, proving that Odin does not exist in the same way you cannot prove that he does.
The burden of proof is on the person claiming the existence of something. This is especially true for entities without a corporeal form. The absence of a physical substance is not proof of absence. The absence of milk in a bowl is not a valid analogy to prove the existence of a Supreme Being based on the absence of evidence that it doesn’t exist.
You can’t prove gods don’t exist but that doesn’t mean that they do. Neither can you disprove that Apolo, Zeus, Mythra, Dyonisys, or any other god does not exist. But, simply because there is no proof that they don’t exist doesn’t mean that they do. Similarly, anecdotal evidence does not prove the existence of gods.
Continuing with our example of Odin.
Proving Odin Exists?
Let’s assume we meet someone who claims Odin exists. When we challenge them to provide evidence for the existence of Odin, we get the following response: First, no ice-giants exist. Odin promised to wipe out the ice-giants. So, since there are no ice-giants this is proof of Odin’s existence. Secondly, Odin is prolific in early paganism dating back through oral traditions in Germanic mythology. Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn). The evidence is prevalent in early forms of paganism, Odin was known in Old English as Wóden, in Old Saxon as Wōden, and in Old High German as Wuotan or Wodan. With so much evidence from so many authoritative sources it is obvious that Odin exists, right?
The answer, no, you’re wrong. This isn’t evidence of the existence of Odin. Sorry, but the absence of imaginary creatures does not represent evidence they ever existed. Nor is it evidence they were extinguished by Odin. And, the recounting of stories, no matter the age or supposed authority of origin does not suffice as proof for the existence of Odin. These points apply to all gods. Not just Odin.
Use Emotional Checks
Anytime you engage in spiritual research we recommend the use of emotional checks. This is a process to help you stay as unbiased as possible.
Emotional checks will reduce stress and increase the accuracy of our research. So, think of it as a safety net. It will catch us when we fall into emotional distress. This is because when we face ideas conflicting with our current opinion it creates a dilemma. We instinctively react to protect our sacred ground. You don’t want to conduct research while in a state of distress.
Healing practices are the final group. This branch includes Pe Jet, Reiki, and Shiatsu. Self-care is an important element of this group. It is vital for normalizing our inner work and maintaining our health and wellness.
Common sense and logic are the natural analytical tools that help us discern facts from fiction. Western organized religion dominates most of the cultural narrative. So, minimizing your exposure to religious belief and its harmful programming will help you think more clearly.
We hope you found this article helpful, maybe even thought-provoking. You will find more interesting posts on our blog page. Use the “search” option on the blog page to find articles by key terms, topics, or category.
Does spiritual exploration interest you? If so, we offer both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. We use a blended learning process to get the best learning outcomes. This blended approach aligns with what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia