Do you engage in paradoxical thinking to maintain the boundaries of contradictory and illogical beliefs? Are your beliefs based on empirical data, or is your truth subjective?
If you are involved with one of the three dominant religions, you will find it more difficult to deny the overwhelming amount of scientific information. Denying facts in the modern age takes a lot of work. It creates several interesting paradoxes for the culture.
Learning To Deny Scientific Principles
A paradox involves contradictory-yet-interrelated elements. A paradoxical conclusion will arise from inconsistent or contradictory premises and arguments. But, contradictions abound in the world’s most popular religions.
What are the most popular religions? Based on their membership base, the most popular are those of the Abrahamic tree (1). There are three main branches to the Abrahamic tree, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Because of their social mass, they extort a great deal of influence over the cultural narrative.
Many people deal with paradoxes in their everyday lives. It is the clash between science and religious mythology, and this battle has been going on for centuries. It proves that mythology and superstition are powerful, mind-numbing elements of the pre-scientific world. And, by denying scientific principles and evidence, they can substantiate mythology and superstition as fact.
Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de’ Galilei (2) was a freethinker. He was ahead of time as an astronomer, physicist, and engineer. Some call him the father of observational astronomy and modern physics. They also credit him with creating the scientific method and modern science. Before psychology was born, Galileo recognized the effects of cognitive dissonance. He saw it as “maintaining a paradox.”
“By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.” — Galileo Galilei
Maintaining a paradox requires unbelief. It takes a lot of work to deny facts and ideas which threaten your worldview. Does this sound familiar? Do you deny scientific, historical, and logical facts to maintain your religious belief?
“It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible. What we know as blind faith is sustained by innumerable unbeliefs.” — Eric Hoffer
Does your belief system teach you to deny any scientific or logical reasoning that threatens your sacred ground? Defending your holy ground is stressful, especially when it is illogical. A paradox creates doubt, and doubt can be uncomfortable, even scary.
When we encounter something that threatens our worldview, we have an internal conflict. Which position is correct? So, to reduce discomfort, religion teaches us to deny any threat. Maintaining a paradox is challenging but possible. “Denial” is a powerful tool.
By Denying Scientific Principles, One May Maintain Any Paradox
As we mentioned earlier, Galileo was very perceptive. He identified the cause and effect of cognitive dissonance long before creating modern psychology.
Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term for the mental distress of reconciling things that conflict with your current worldview. When someone experiences cognitive dissonance, it can be terrifying. It shakes the foundation of your reality.
When something doesn’t fit into the existing worldview or paradigm, it causes mental and physical pain. So, we must make some choices. One must either reject the new data or change their existing paradigm to align with the valid information.
An open-minded person moves through this conflict quickly. They use common sense and logical reasoning to sift through the new information. People learn to reject inaccurate data or change their opinion if the new data is valid. An open-minded person can change their ideas about reality when encountering new accurate data.
For those entrenched in belief systems based on mythology, cognitive dissonance is not just painful; it’s scary. It becomes easy to trigger fear when you tie your identity to the belief system. When the truth is subjective, this fear doesn’t go away; it gets transferred to something else.
If what we believe is wrong, it fractures their identity. Hardcore and extremists confine friendships with those who share the same narrow cultural narrative. But it is hard to break free when you live in a culture where the dominant cultural folklore is controlling and unhealthy.
Outward expressions of descent may not be possible. In some cultures, leaving the recognized religion is punishable by death.
Where Cognitive Dissonance Starts
The condition we know as cognitive dissonance can begin in childhood. Parents pass down lifestyle, religious, political, and personal opinions which conflict with reality. Children trust their parents, so they live under constant stress.
Beliefs and prejudices become ingrained with constant indoctrination. Religious institutions use powerful brainwashing tactics like self-hypnosis and group hypnosis. They reward the repetition of dogma when followers parrot religious bigotry. They punish independent thinking, thus maintaining a paradox between belief and reality. It’s all about protecting their customer base.
As you might imagine, constant brainwashing accomplishes this task. To maintain a paradox, one must immerse themselves in groupthink manipulation tactics. That is why some religions have semi-weekly meetings. Otherwise, the conflict between fact and fiction causes mental and physical discomfort.
It can become a catalyst for more profound psychological harm, leading youth to the onset of schizophrenia. It leads to doubt and depression, which can also spiral downward. As a result, it is imperative to keep up the group hypnosis, denying the facts that conflict with their beliefs. Deny any fact or idea that contradicts the religion’s mythology.
This condition is what Galileo observed as a paradox. Many people learn to deny the facts that conflict with their beliefs. Don’t let this be you.
How the Paradox Conflict Manifests
When an open-minded person encounters a paradox, they reason out the conflict. They will alter their beliefs to incorporate this additional evidence. However, a religious person fights to maintain the paradox. Again, by denying scientific principles, one may maintain any contradiction.
The profoundly religious will reject anything threatening their paradigm’s mythology or doctrine. It doesn’t matter if the thoughts and behaviors are irrational. They become agitated and angry because their beliefs are their very identity.
For instance, when someone believes that everyone outside their belief system is evil, they view outsiders as enemies. However, if they encounter an outsider, it makes them uncomfortable. They don’t know why they feel this way. They run into a paradox. Someone reasonable doesn’t believe the same things they do. It causes physical or mental distress. That’s because outsiders are supposed to be unreasonable and evil.
Because of cognitive dissonance, they can’t reconcile the outsider being anything but evil. The outsider isn’t acting as expected, so they face a personal paradox. How can someone who is supposedly evil be genuine and kind? They must accept the flaws in their belief system and rationalize that the kind person is somehow evil. To minimize the paradox, they learn to avoid outsiders.
Sadly, what often happens is they go to their trusted spiritual leader? They explain how they met a friendly person outside the flock. The pastor will tell them this is an attempted deception of the Devil, so they must reject the outsider.
Protecting the belief system’s partitions and boundaries is the most important goal. They must isolate you from anyone that might expose you to view facts. Otherwise, it would undermine their control. It’s the tactic of brainwashing and a significant component of groupthink manipulation.
How To Stop Maintaining a Paradox
The conflict between science and the mythology of religion causes cognitive dissonance. Maintaining your sanity requires one of two options. Immerse further in groupthink manipulation to block out the facts from the fiction. One holds a paradox by submission to propaganda.
Some religions are helpful instead of harmful. Any system that promotes freethinking is positive, like Taoism, for example. The systems which contain methods and processes for exploring consciousness are helpful. Many of these systems come from animistic or paganistic systems. These systems existed long before the dominant organized religions were created. Any system that encourages you to seek your intellectual and spiritual development with any source is preferred over those trying to keep you a customer.
We contrast the above with the religions of the Abrahamic tree. They prohibit freethinking. They base their paradigms on inconsistent and contradictory texts they assimilated from earlier Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions. Since they are just rebranded and renamed versions of these earlier mythologies, they contain justification for every social evil from genocide to genital mutilation.
You don’t need to belong to a religion to engage in spiritual exploration.
By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox. When belief is more important than the truth, anyone can hold a paradox. All it takes is constant exposure to groupthink manipulation.
Let us know if you have first-hand experience with cognitive dissonance. Don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form.
(1) Abrahamic Religions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions
(2) Galileo Galilei: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei
(3) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hero_with_a_Thousand_Faces