Many people align their thinking with religious beliefs. How about you? It’s common. Did you know by denying scientific principles one may maintain any paradox or contradiction? Truth becomes subjective when it is based on religious mythology and not facts. What do you think?
It is increasing difficult for those who follow one of the organized religions to reject the overwhelming amount of scientific facts. Denying facts in the modern age takes a lot of work. It creates several interesting paradoxes for the culture, but a lot of people still do it. Good work.
What is a Paradox?
There are three kinds of paradoxes. The first is a falsidical paradox. It uses faulty logic to support false conclusions. The second kind is a Veridical paradox which is results in true result. This article is about such a paradox. The last one is an Antinomy paradox. It is an apparent contradiction between two things and both turn out to be valid.
The classic example of a falsidical paradox is from the 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 which implies favoritism or preferential treatment is afforded some animals, which is a contradictory statement. It creates a paradox. You cannot afford to equality to all and then carve out exceptions. It sounds a lot like modern politics doesn’t it?
Sometimes the paradox is between what is written and how things actually work. Take the US Declaration of Independence from 1776. It says all men are created equal, but it in reality, it condoned and supported slavery.
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
Nowhere else do we find more paradoxes and contradictions than with the three popular religions of our modern world. What are these 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.
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.
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 which threaten the authority of the Church.
Galileo Galilei (2) published the book 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, and his books were placed on the banned book list.
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. His view of cosmology was Galileo’s 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.
“By denying scientific principles one may maintain any paradox.” — Galileo Galilei
“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 becomes subjective when we learn to deny those things which do not fit in 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.
How the Paradox Conflict Manifests
A person with an open mind does not reject new ideas, they evaluate it. 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. If it does not align with their current beliefs, the new data is rejected outright. This creates the mental distress of cognitive dissonance.
For instance, when someone believes everyone outside their belief system is evil, then 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. 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.
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.
Where Cognitive Dissonance Starts
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 in the same beliefs at early ages. So this mental stress becomes a part of life.
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.
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 learns 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 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. The outward expression of different opinions may not be prudent. Some cultures protect their religion with penalties punishable by death.
Your Truth is Subjective
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.
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 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 truth, anyone can hold a paradox. All it takes is constant exposure to groupthink manipulation. What do you think? Is there an absolute or is truth subjective and parsable?
Let us know if you have first-hand experience with cognitive dissonance.
(1) Abrahamic Religions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions
(2) Galileo Galilei: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei