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Ridicule and confrontation won't change a believers mind but make them burrow deeper into their pathological beliefs


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Showing 1-25 of 802 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 25, 2012 11:23:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 11:25:57 PM PST
Jack Vix says:
I was listening to a podcast about talking people out of their faith, with Dr. Peter Boghossian. He made a really good case for how he approaches people about it. Of course, kindness and sincere interest goes a long way, and the main thing is that debate and confrontation especially in regards to *what* they believe, is actually completely useless and will only drive them deeper into their pathological beliefs. The idea would be not to criticize the beliefs their faith leads to but, rather, use the Socratic Method to get people to question faith itself.

Striking up conversations with people out of genuine curiosity is the most effective way to communicate, not directly questioning what they believe or debating, but sincere inquiry. Speak from the heart, people can tell when you're being sincere.

People too often are infantalized and they're not treated like adults, and we need to treat these people like adults. When you see someone somewhere and they cross themselves or something, if interested, you could sincerely ask, "Why did you cross yourself?" And ask them to tell you about it. "How long have you had this belief? Why do you believe this?"

The way to keep it from becoming a debate is to have the right mindset. The mindset is that this is an intervention. You are a street epistemologist. Like a clinician who sees a problem in someone else, you have an oppurtunity. This person is not well, their cognition has been damaged. How do you facilitate belief change and help these people?

Some people, no matter what, are gonna be offended. We can't worry about everybody who is going to be offended.

Keep in mind what the goal is. The thing to go after is faith, that's the thing that's not possible to defend. People ignore that and instead go after God or particular beliefs within the faith, that's a mistake. In all of these discussions, never bring in facts. Facts are a complete waste of time, especially the more fundamentalist they are. People don't get themselves into cognitive sinkholes because they believed on the basis of evidence and facts to begin with. No amount of that will do any good. Instead focus on epistemology.

Focus on how someone knows. Systematically look at those claims and give them a Socratic treatment(ie questioning if their views make sense). It's suprising how many people will say "oh, well jeez, actually you're right I don't think that makes sense, but..." And the but will mean, "I want to hold it anyway." This will make a distinction between holding a belief because it's true and holding a belief because it's socially useful. You are to an extent getting them to question their faith.

Then there's the idea that the universe could have always existed. All someone has to do is admit that that's posssible. The moment that somebody admits that that's possible, that has created a moment of openness in their belief system. That has undermined their faith, because then they can't claim to know something. The moment that someone in a sense says "well, maybe, I suppose it's possible", that means they have to become less sure of their own faith.

So how do we help people to live a life of reason? How do we help people when they lose their faith? Because, when faith falls, it can lead them to run right back to their community where someone will invariably say "just pray on it". So a type of confirmation bias comes into play where they put beliefs ahead of everything. Literature on cults suggest that this is how they get dragged back in.

How do we help believers to be more comfortable with not knowing?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 11:31:08 PM PST
Jack Vix,

What_ is_ your_ motive for wanting people to lose their faith?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 4:41:13 AM PST
Brian Curtis says:
Because believers keep voting to take away everyone else's rights.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 5:09:09 AM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 6:02:27 AM PST
Brian Curtis says:
And I'm sure you can cite the peer-reviewed scientific journals where this empirical, testable, and repeatable proof was given.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 6:12:58 AM PST
Brad,

First, "prove" your assertion that Marilyn Monroe was reincarnated as Janet Jackson, then provide your "proof" regarding God and "His Christ."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 6:36:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 6:38:10 AM PST
Vicki says:
Dear Jack,

I can't help but wonder why Dr. Peter Boghossian says that ridicule and confrontation won't change believers' minds, yet he recommends stigmatizing our claims as racist or calling us infants or cognitively ill? Isn't he contradicting himself, here?

Also, he says that he wants to cause people to lose their faith, but somehow it isn't about the right of people to believe?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 6:42:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 7:14:24 AM PST
A Customer says:
Clarissa says: "Jack Vix, What_ is_ your_ motive for wanting people to lose their faith?"

That *is* the difference between a plain ol' atheist and a militant atheist. You mention all the militant atheists on these forums and those same militants start mocking the idea, trying to claim that it is a non-existent boogie-man. But the fact is that while the majority of atheists are normal well adjusted human beings, who don't obsess that someone, somewhere, actually believes something different than them, there is a smaller subset of atheists, the intolerant militant atheists, who proselytize every bit as fanatically as the worst of other religious fundamentalists. They have become what they hate most, intolerant fanatics who want everyone to believe exactly as they do.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 7:07:26 AM PST
W.T. Keeton says:
What tragedy in your past makes you want to control how other people think? What mental illness makes you think that it's any of your concern? Isn't there a pill you can get to help you with this problem?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 9:53:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 9:54:41 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
Asking questions isn't "controlling what people think". And how is a critique of epistemology a mental illness? The faulty epistemology is what is demonstrative of a mental illness, the point is to help combat this.

Religious beliefs are like global warming, it effects us all. These are serious issues in a democracy.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 10:13:17 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
He didn't say you were infants, it's that people often infantalize the religious rather than treat them like adults, to just talk honestly and from the heart, to look at them with compassion rather than ridicule.

No one is in jeopardy of having their "right to believe" taken.

You have the right to believe whatever you want. You don't have the right to have those beliefs automatically respected.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 10:44:53 AM PST
mrs exp says:
Brian Curtis,
I'm a Christian and and I voted for Obama. I doubt that I'm the only Christian who did.
exp

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 10:46:01 AM PST
mrs exp says:
Vicki,
When will they learn that nothing will change our minds.
exp

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 10:47:38 AM PST
The title of this thread is spot on. Nothing more needs to be said.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 10:48:01 AM PST
mrs exp says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 10:49:30 AM PST
mrs exp says:
Jack Vix,
I don't care if you respect my beliefs or not as long as you don't try to keep me from expressing them.
exp

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 10:49:38 AM PST
M. Galishoff says:
Try ridicule and confrontation in Sudan, Iran etc. You will get more than apologetics.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 10:56:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 11:17:00 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
Close-mindedness isn't a virtue.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 10:58:37 AM PST
mrs exp says:
Jack Vix,
I think unbelievers are ones with closed minds for they only accept the physical and deny the supernatural, the spiritual.
exp

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 11:00:21 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
Ah, yes, hopefully your right and win the game, and I can spend eternity suffering for ever questioning God's infinite love. Very logical and not at all dumb. Also a very compassionate sentiment on your part.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 11:05:33 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 11:06:06 AM PST
mrs exp says:
Jack Vix,
I seriously do not believe the Bible teaches eternal conscious torture hell. But there are some people, living and have lived in the past, on this earth that don't deserve to live never mind living forever.
exp

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 11:06:42 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 11:12:44 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXI

Nope. Scientists and skeptics are open to whatever is in fact true. If there was evidence I would believe it. I would believe in God if I merely saw an actual miracle or clear sign objectively happening that couldn't be ruled out as a hullucination. My mind is open. For you "nothing" would change your mind. You're close-minded.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 11:08:56 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
Yeah yeah, people are unworthy scum who should all die, I get your point. Good luck being saved by your loving master. Ooo that sounds kinky.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 11:11:37 AM PST
mrs exp says:
Jack Vix,
My mind is not closed except to the belief that God is real and will return to earth to judge the quick and the dead.
exp

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 11:15:34 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
>except

Yes, that is precisely what we're talking about. You are in fact a close-minded dogmatist.
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Discussion in:  Christianity forum
Participants:  51
Total posts:  802
Initial post:  Nov 25, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 11, 2013

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