Religion uses faith and belief as a substitute for facts and knowledge. It creates a slippery slope of self-deception. See what this does to thinking and how to avoid it.
Making Belief Perform as Knowledge
Organized religion relies on belief to cancel out our skeptical skill set, which is how believers accept myth as fact. It sets a dangerous precedent. Once you substitute myths for verifiable evidence, then you are susceptible to other types of nefarious programming.
“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?” ― Mark Twain
Organized religion is powerful because it uses groupthink manipulation tactics to control its members. Groupthink tactics are brainwashing techniques that hypnotize people into believing fallacy as fact. These tactics are not new. They are the creation of the ancient mystery religions of Assyria, Persia, and Babylon. These tactics work just as well today.
“The failure of organized religions, by which they cut themselves off from mystery and therefore from sanctity, lies in the attempt to impose an absolute division between faith & doubt, to make belief perform as knowledge.” — Wendell Berry
This strategy works and has worked for eons. It’s the platform on which the metaphors of mythology and superstition become factual elements of your worldview. If you don’t understand the implications, you are likely a believer. It’s not your fault.
If you are a believer and are reading this, chances are you are upset. If you are, realize this, too, is part of the programming that accompanies groupthink manipulation. However, you don’t want to admit that you are a victim of self-hypnosis manipulation. And your adverse reaction to this realization s part of your programmed response to protect your sacred ground. You automatically defend anything that challenges your beliefs.
Faith Vs. Sound Knowledge
A healthy mindset with a foundation of critical assessment skills helps us avoid being deceived by false arguments. Learn how to increase your powers of observation and critical assessment. Avoid being a victim of emotionally charged propaganda.
Making healthy decisions is critical in today’s world. You cannot afford to make a mistake in judgment that could put yourself or others in jeopardy. One of the main problems we face is balancing what we can prove with what we believe.
“The scriptures present a God who delights in genocide, rape, slavery, and the execution of nonconformists, and for millennia those writings were used to rationalize the massacre of infidels, the ownership of women, the beating of children, dominion over animals, and the persecution of heretics and homosexuals.” ― Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Decline
The argument is that knowing about things for which there is no valid proof is still knowledge. The claim is that “knowing stuff” that isn’t factual is still sound knowledge. Then, they use circular logic to assert that knowledge of fiction can perform the same as facts. This circular reasoning requires faith because facts cannot substantiate their claims. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish between sound and verifiable data versus knowing about mythology and superstition.
Many religions use metaphors to explain concepts. Eastern religions like Hinduism use anthropomorphic beings as a way to describe elements of nature. However, they do not believe in the actual existence of Shiva or Laksmi. They understand that these personifications help them understand and remember concepts represented by these imaginary entities. The problem arises when you mistake mythology for facts.
What is Sound Knowledge?
Knowledge is the comprehension of information based on facts and evidence. Knowledge also includes both the theoretical and practical understanding of something. However, obtaining a large amount of information about things that are false or incorrect is not knowledge. Valid knowledge is factual, verifiable, and therefore “sound.” The memorization of mythology and superstition is not helpful for self-develop. Instead, it becomes a barrier to progress.
The ability to think critically is vital in determining facts from fiction. You can read books of fiction, but you are ignorant when you think make-believe is real.
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” ― Mark Twain
The demonization of legitimate science is a growing subculture. The roots of this culture come from Western organized religion. It is a tactic to keep paying customers. It opposes sound knowledge, which is the building block on which we base all modern technologies.
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” ― Isaac Asimov
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” ― Daniel J. Boorstin
What is Faith?
Faith is placing trust in something. Religion uses it as the foundation for belief in things for which there is no proof. Some people are proud to say they live by faith and not by sight. It means that they choose to make their belief perform as knowledge.
Believing in fiction is different from having confidence in things that happen. If we drop an object, we have verifiable confidence that it will fall. We have confidence in gravity because we can test its effect. Religion confuses faith with confidence.
“Belief in things we can not prove require faith. So, faith masquerades as a place of comfort. Faith and belief require disbelief in all the facts that disprove their superstition and mythology. Belief and faith are the products of brainwashing. They are the mind trap of circular reasoning. Maintaining faith requires constant brainwashing.
Sometimes the brainwashing is voluntary and self-inflicted, and sometimes, it comes through forced indoctrination. Both faith and belief are tactics of mind control. They are counterfeits that keep you wanting more. And neither are doorways to spiritual truth”“. — Guru Tua
The obvious problem lies in confusing real things with imaginary things. You can possess knowledge of both tangible things and imaginary things. But, one should not confuse belief in myths and made-up stuff with real things. The memorization and reliance upon mythology as a foundation for your worldview is not sound knowledge; it is faith in fairy tales.
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” ― Isaac Asimov
Tools of Mass Hypnosis
Faith and belief are the tools of mass hypnosis. For this to work, you need prolonged exposure to groupthink manipulation tactics. In this way, you can create a self-hypnosis system to establish mythology as fact. What are these tactics?
Fear and anger are the best motivators. So, religions capitalize on your greatest existential fear, the fear of death, and the afterlife. They make rewards or punishment in the afterlife a commodity. It establishes the following parameters to override common sense and logic:
1) Belief in an Imaginary Friend (God) along with the Imaginary Enemies (Devils)
2) The supremacy of divinely-inspired texts
3) Loyalty to their specific brand interpretation of the myth
Once you accept these parameters, they can program any bias and prejudice. Then those in control of the programming can add anything else. They can program you to protect your faith and belief with violence. People kill other people in the name of their imaginary friends and enemies. They learn to hate based on religious, ethnic, racial, and gender bias. The ultimate protection is when the takeover of a culture or society installs their backward beliefs as law.
When we make belief perform as knowledge, we program the mind to reject any facts or opinions that threaten our belief system. It is the slippery slope that leads to extremist ideologies.
Levels of Religious Indoctrination
There are different levels of indoctrination. The more you expose yourself to propaganda, the more susceptible to extremist ideologies.
1) The fringe believer gives the outward appearance of allegiance to the religion. They attend meetings at special celebrations and festivals. These people are the most likely to have investigated their religion’s origins.
Family or cultural tradition holds the fringe believer captive to the belief system. However, they see inconsistencies. Unfortunately, they will go along with many of the negative social biases. They submit to the discriminatory practices even though they understand they are harmful.
People in this group one step away from becoming freethinkers. All it takes is someone to help them find a way out. A process like Comparative Analysis is one way. It’s a structured process to examine concepts across different belief systems, and it will help them leave behind negative stereotypes and prejudice thinking.
People at this level of indoctrination are just beginning to accept the premise of making belief perform as knowledge. And this group is most likely to be able to reject illogical arguments made by religion.
2) The moderate believer attends religious services regularly. They are aware of facts that contradict their beliefs, but they do not investigate them. These people often have family and business relationships intertwined with their religion. Intertwining personal, business and religious relationships cement the religious devotee to the cultural narrative. They become more susceptible to extremist ideas and ideologies because of their level of exposure to groupthink manipulation tactics.
This group is also apt to follow religious TV and radio programming. However, they can also be a real advocate for truth if you can turn their passion away from religious bigotry.
The best tool to help those in this group is what we call the unconventional approach to save a believer. It’s a process we’ve had some success with on hardline believers. However, it does require a significant investment of time.
3) The hardline believer is the person who sees their religion as their identity. They attend more than one meeting a week and take courses to advance their religion. Because of their passion and devotion to the cult, they become middle-management. They lead small groups and help enforce the boundaries of the belief system.
As semi-leaders, they are influential in pushing extremist agenda items. They are subject to groupthink manipulation; they become the primary tools for motivating others.
4) The extremist often becomes one of the prominent cult leaders. They are always charismatic and understand how to use groupthink manipulation tactics to their benefit. They seek ways to spark controversy, fear, and anger. These are the drivers that create suicide bombers and mass shootings.
It all starts with making belief perform as knowledge. This tactic gives religious leaders the power to program anything they wish. Now that you know more about it, you can use the tools mentioned in this article to reverse the harmful effects of religion. Remember, sound knowledge is factual. You can know a lot about a religion’s doctrines and be ignorant of its basis as myth and superstition. The accumulation of data on things that are false is useless. Having belief and faith in mythology and superstition is detrimental to the health of your mind.
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein
Are you 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 (1). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission.
(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia