Religious belief creates a filter through which we perceive reality. It creates confirmation bias. This distorts how we interpret reality and diminishes our use of common sense and logic.
Not all belief systems are created equal. Some religions have more dense filters and more boundaries. And so not all belief systems or religions have the same effect. 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. 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 thinking. With these systems, you are free to explore and develop your own path. Your ability to reason is intact.
Whereas, the extremist sects of The Abrahamic religions, the religions of Semitic origin, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, have the greatest number of boundaries. They require unbelief as a basis. 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 which 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 they ask the hard questions, point out the illogical inconsistencies and question the standard answers. Many a Sunday school teacher ends up leaving the Church when they are forced to come to terms with haunting questions of the innocent child.
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 or flight” response. This triggers violent reactions to anything that presents ideas or facts that contradict the religion’s boundaries. So, the more rigid, inflexible and extreme your religious beliefs, the greater the corresponding decrease in your ability to perceive 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 the magnitude of 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 fanatical and fervent the religious views 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 your level of 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 making the claim for the existence of something. This is especially true for entities without 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 doesn’t 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, this 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.
In addition to the application of logical reasoning, we also teach a number of other spiritual technologies expanding awareness and investigating the doors of consciousness. These spiritual technologies stand up to the test of science as having repeatable common experiential phenomena.
Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness. They result from generations of research by cultures around the world. These processes stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable. They do not require belief in religious doctrine. So, everyone who can follow a process can use them. We call the practice of these processes spiritual exploration.
You can list these tools in several ways. Some fall into more than one group. We like this simple method.
- Tools to enhance critical thinking. This study of basic logical reasoning along with spotting logical fallacies and logical axioms. Then we also use a comparative analysis. This is a step-by-step way of comparing beliefs between different worldviews. Above all, these tools will help sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction.
- The Enneagram Personality Profile. This is mostly an analytical tool. It provides insight into the mechanisms of ego, personality, and instinct.
- Seated meditation is often the heart of your spiritual practice. This includes a range from Beginning Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation through Japa Meditation and more advanced Siddhis of Patanjali.
- Moving meditation helps us strengthen the mind-body connection. It is also an important key to our health and wellness. This progression includes several methods of energy collection, such as Forest Bathing, Qigong, and Tai Chi.
- Pathways for expanding and exploring awareness. This progression includes a range of processes from lucid dreaming, the Shamanic Journey and Guided Meditation to third-eye awakening and soul memory awareness. Practical tools to guide your path, a spiritual journal, and automatic writing.
- Healing practices are the final group. This branch includes Pe Jet, Reiki, and Shiatsu. Self-care is also a part of this group and is vital to our overall health and wellness.
Common sense and logic are our natural analytical tools which help us decern facts from ficdtion. 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.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia