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.
Faith Versus “Sound Knowledge”
Organized religion relies on belief to cancel out our skeptical skill set, which believers accept myth as fact. It sets a dangerous precedent. Once you substitute myths for verifiable evidence, you are susceptible to other types of nefarious programming.
“The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive … but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before the Christian religion was born.” — Mark Twain
“The European wars of religion were more deadly than the First World War, proportionally speaking, and in the range of the Second World War in Europe. The Inquisition, the persecution of heretics and infidels and witches, racked up pretty high death tolls.” — Steven Pinker
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 come from 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.
What Exactly 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 does not mean that information is correct.
Mistaking mythology for facts is an error, no matter how much of it you know. A great deal of knowledge about superstition and myths is not sound knowledge if you believe it is factual. 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.
“Religious people know deep down that it is the most vulnerable area of their lives, and when others question it, they are liable to hit out and feel insulted. You know it is absolutely without proof, yet people still commit themselves totally to this belief. They cannot refute it because it is so central to their lives.” — John Hurt
“I believe that if the silent majority were to protest against those who believe in irrational blind faith – who want to go backward instead of forward, who are for tradition, not innovation, who oppose individualism and a plurality of thought — then the world would become a truly civilized world in which to live.” — Taslima Nasrin
“To believe in things without proof requires faith. Faith masquerading as truth is a comfort zone for many, but it also requires equal amounts of unbelief. To believe in nonsense, you must reject those facts that contradict your faith. It’s why religions teach unbelief is a sin, evil. The mind trap of faith and belief go hand-in-hand; they are the products of religious indoctrination, the first powerful form of brainwashing.” — 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
Making Belief Perform as 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.
“All over the world, belief in the supernatural has authorized the sacrifice of people to propitiate bloodthirsty gods, and the murder of witches for their malevolent powers.” — Steven Pinker
“Reason is non-negotiable. Try to argue against it or to exclude it from some realm of knowledge, and you’ve already lost the argument because you’re using reason to make your case. And no, this isn’t having “faith” in reason in the same way that some people have faith in miracles because we don’t “believe” in reason; we use reason. — Steven Pinker
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.
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.
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 justify hate because other religions are evil, other ethnic-racial groups are inhuman. 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 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) Fringe believers give 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.
They stay within the boundaries of the cult primarily because of cultural or family ties. Yes, they see the harmful social bias, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy but stay all the same. They will submit and support discriminatory activities to remain a cult member.
People in this group are 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 help people compare similar beliefs and concepts. When you discover your beliefs are not unique and have historical roots outside of your religion, it gives you the perspective to reject them.
At this level of indoctrination, people 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) Moderate believers are the backbone supports of the cult; they meetings weekly unless the cult requires more (as with Islam and extremist Christan cults). About half are aware of the inconsistencies in the system but ignore them.
Family and business relationships are intertwined with their religion, which cements the religious devotee to the cultural narrative. Followers in this group have a high level of exposure to extremist ideologies making them more susceptible to these ideas. Religious TV and radio programming are a major part of their exposure to groupthink manipulation tactics. However, these individuals can become advocates for truth if they find a way out of the cult.
The best tool to help those in this group is the unconventional approach to saving 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) Hardline believers are the middle management of the cult. At this level, the ideology is their identity. They attend meetings frequently, sometimes two or three times a day. They are also the enforces of the cult. They model near-extremist behavior, lead groups, and use the same brainwashing techniques that cement them to the cult. They are often influential in cementing extremist agenda items such as violent abortion protests.
4) Extremist Devotees become one of the prominent cult leaders. They are always charismatic and proficient in the use of groupthink manipulation tactics. To distinguish themselves and their cult, they will use controversy, fear, and anger to motivate their group. 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
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