In today’s world, it is nearly impossible to deny the importance of science, yet some people do. Many people give religious beliefs preference over science and evidence. It is well known that by denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox. See why paradoxical thinking is unhealthy and dangerous.
People cling to faith instead of facts for a number of reasons. However, what we believe to be true can often be based on our personal beliefs and not facts. This can be a problem. Truth becomes subjective when it is based on religious mythology and not facts. When people base their actions on religious mythology, bad things happen.
Science has paved the way for many advancements in medicine, technology, environmental issues, and countless other fields. However, there are still people who refuse to accept scientific principles and instead rely on contradictory beliefs and practices. These individuals often use paradoxical thinking and practice to justify their beliefs, enabling them to maintain their stance while denying objective reality.
One thing is for sure, denying facts in the modern age takes a lot of work. We’ll look at how this is unhealthy for the individual and dangerous for modern society. What do you think? Is truth subjective?
What is a Paradox?
There are three kinds of paradoxes. The first is a falsidical paradox which uses faulty reasoning to support incorrect or illogical conclusions. For example, If there’s only one god, why is he jealous of other gods?
Another classic example of a falsidical paradox is found in Animal Farm by George Orwell. He makes the statement all animals are equal, but some are “more equal” than others. It is an obvious paradox implying favoritism, or preferential treatment, is afforded some animals, which is contradictory. It creates a paradox. You cannot afford equality to all and carve out exceptions. However, this does sound a lot like conservative politics.
The second is an Antinomy paradox. It is an apparent contradiction between two things, and both are valid. The last is a Veridical paradox, which is a situation that produces a solution that seems illogical or absurd but is correct.
An example of a Veridical paradox is the statement, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Sometimes the paradox is between what is written and how things work. Take the US Declaration of Independence from 1776. It says all men are created equal, but it condoned and supported slavery.
Is Truth Subjective or Objective?
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1), truth is something that is scientifically accurate and objective. It is confirmed by evidence.
It’s important to understand the difference between objectivity and subjectivity. Subjective truth is based on a person’s perspective, feelings, or opinions. From a purely philosophical perspective, everything we know is subjective to some degree since everything we know is based on our senses and perception. The problem comes in when people use their subjective opinions in place of objective evidence. This is the cultural paradox.
We deal with the consequences of a cultural paradox every day. The clash between science and religion has lasted for centuries. It proves the power and resilience of religious mythology.
Nowhere else do we find more paradoxes and contradictions than with the three religions of the Abrahamic tree (2). The Abrahamic tree has three branches: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Because of their social mass, they extort a great deal of influence over the cultural narrative. Their truth is subjective and contradictory, but they have the control to maintain paradoxical thinking.
Religious mythology can be defined as a set of beliefs and stories that are often passed down from generation to generation. These stories are often used to explain the origins of the world and how things came to be. While these stories may help people understand their place in the world, they may not always be based on facts.
How Truth Becomes Subjective
“I like to point out that people very often confuse the idea that truth is subjective with the fact that truth is perishable.” — Errol Morris
The internet and social media have only amplified this tendency to indulge in paradoxical beliefs and values. A person can easily find a community of individuals who share their views, regardless of how unfounded they may be. This is the essence of every conspiracy theory. When a group of like-minded people comes together, they reinforce each other’s belief systems. They validate one another’s paradoxical reasoning and create an echo chamber of confirmation.
One example of this is climate change denial. Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and human-made, there are still countless individuals who deny it. They use paradoxical thinking to validate their stance, often saying that because there were extreme weather events in the past, current weather phenomena are also natural, ignoring the fact that the frequency and intensity of weather events have increased significantly. So truth becomes subjective based on their denial of evidence.
Anti-vaxxers are another group that relies on paradoxical beliefs. Even though scientific evidence shows that vaccines are safe and effective, many anti-vaxxers refuse to vaccinate themselves or their children, claiming that vaccines are harmful and useless. They often create paradoxes, ignoring the scientific evidence that supports vaccinations, and put their beliefs in the supposed dangers of vaccines that lack any scientific backing. Instead, they will use medicines intended based on celebrity endorsement. They accept faulty reasoning and evidence and so suffer the consequences
Finally, the debate over the shape of the Earth is another area where paradoxical beliefs persist. Despite all the evidence and images, countless individuals believe in the flat Earth theory. They deny the scientific evidence that shows the Earth is a sphere and instead rely on paradoxical beliefs to justify their belief. Paradoxically, they use images taken from space to argue against the Earth being a sphere, yet such images come from satellites that could not exist if the Earth was flat, creating endless contradictions.
The Cost of Exposing Paradoxical Thinking
Before the birth of psychology, Galileo understood the consequences of speaking the truth. He saw how truth becomes subjective in the hands of religion. It persecutes those who propose ideas that threaten the authority of the Church.
Galileo Galilei (3) published Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems in 1632. This work placed the sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe. Pope Urban VIII subsequently referred Galileo to the Inquisition for this teaching, putting his books on the banned list.
“By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.” — Galileo Galilei
He was arrested and placed under house arrest until he died in 1640. So, even though the official Inquisition ended 60 years earlier, the Church still used its might to quash any ideas that didn’t fit within the orthodox veil. Yet, this was a better fate than his less famous scientist, Giordano Bruno.
Giordano Bruno was convicted of heresy by the Holy Office. He wasn’t as famous or well-known as Galileo, and the Church burned Bruno at the stake in 1600. Galileo’s view of cosmology was his forerunner, but they didn’t take his works off the banned book list until 1835. Finally, in 1992, the Church admitted that Galileo’s view of the solar system was correct. It is no wonder many intellectuals and scientists publicly converted to Christianity.
“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
Truth is Subjective Through The Denial of Facts and Logic
A system of continual indoctrination ingrains prejudice. By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox, any fabrication. So religions need members to visit often to maintain their level of programming.
These systems subject people to powerful brainwashing tools we know today as self-hypnosis and group hypnosis. This kind of brainwashing is linked to schizophrenia and clinical depression. Don’t let this be you.
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.
Does your belief system teach you to deny any scientific or logical reasoning because it threatens your sacred ground? Defending your holy ground is stressful. A paradox creates doubt, and doubt can be uncomfortable, but a lot of people live their lives trying to shut out the facts science keeps bringing to their doorstep.
Truth becomes subjective when we learn to deny things that do not fit our paradigm. Denial requires unbelief. It takes a lot of work to deny facts and ideas which threaten your worldview. The chances are high that you or someone you know does this. Does this sound familiar? Regular indoctrination is necessary to keep religious beliefs intact. So you’ll need to expose yourself to a constant stream of propaganda. It’s the only way to maintain the denial of scientific facts.
The Consequences of Maintaining a Paradox
Another example of how truth becomes subjective is how religions use mythology to justify genocide and discrimination. They call this holy morality. Many religions have specific codes of ethics and behaviors that they expect their followers to abide by. While these codes may be helpful in guiding people’s behavior, they may not always be based on objective facts. For example, some religions may suggest that homosexuality is inherently evil, despite scientific evidence suggesting that it is a natural variation of human sexuality.
A person with an open mind does not reject new ideas; they evaluate them. If the new data is valid, it becomes a part of their worldview. They avoid the effects of cognitive dissonance altogether.
The overriding strategy is simple. By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox or contradictions. So a person with religious beliefs learns to reject new ideas. The new data is rejected outright if it does not align with their current beliefs. It creates the mental distress of cognitive dissonance.
For instance, when someone believes everyone outside their belief system is evil, they view outsiders as enemies, as devils and demons, not people. However, if they encounter an outsider, it makes them uncomfortable. They don’t know why they feel this way. They run into a paradox. Not everyone believes the same things they do. It causes physical or mental distress. That’s because outsiders are supposed to be unreasonable and evil.
The outsider isn’t acting as expected, so they face a personal paradox. How can someone who is evil be genuine and kind? Their first choice is to uphold the values of worldview and maintain the paradox. To reduce these types of encounters with outsiders, they ostracize themselves. They restrict personal and business contacts to other like-minded believers.
Maintaining a Paradox Causes Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive dissonance causes mental stress. It comes from trying to reconcile conflicting ideas. It creates a paradox we cannot solve. Parents who follow a religion indoctrinate their children with the same beliefs at an early age. So this mental stress becomes a part of life.
Something that doesn’t fit into the existing worldview or paradigm causes mental and physical pain. So, we must make some choices. One must either reject the new data or change their current paradigm to align with the valid information.
A person with an open can move through this conflict quickly. They use common sense and reasoning to weigh the new information. They learn to reject inaccurate and accept valid data. An open-minded person knows to change their beliefs.
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 disappear; it gets transferred to something else.
If what we believe is wrong, it fractures our identity. Hardcore and extremists confine friendships with those with 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. The outward expression of different opinions may not be prudent. Some cultures protect their religion with penalties punishable by death.
By Denying Scientific Principles, One May Maintain Any Paradox
Not all religions are harmful. Some religions are helpful. Any system that promotes freethinking is positive, like Taoism, for example. The systems which contain methods and processes for exploring consciousness are useful. 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 based on unfounded and contradictory stances. When belief is more important than truth, then truth becomes subjective. All it takes is constant exposure to groupthink manipulation. What do you think?
The internet and social media have only exacerbated the tendency to indulge in paradoxical thinking, which can ultimately lead to negative consequences for individuals and society. To move away from such discrepancies, people need to use critical thinking skills to evaluate the data and evidence presented and avoid relying on paradoxical reasoning, especially when it comes from unqualified and unverified sources such as myths and superstitions of religion.
Science is continually advancing and changing; by fighting against the objective truths it provides, individuals only harm themselves and society. So, always keep an open mind and critically analyze before denouncing scientific facts and principles. We should strive to base our beliefs on evidence and reason rather than on ancient stories and myths. By doing so, we can create a more rational and compassionate world for ourselves and future generations.