A psychological profile of a believer.
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01-08-2012, 02:47 PM (This post was last modified: 07-08-2012 09:29 PM by fstratzero.)
A psychological profile of a believer.
I've always wondered what the attraction is to religion. Why people gravitate towards it and why once in it they stay. I'd say that we mostly know what effect they have in society and in our homes, but how do they work on the inside?

I have spent some time trying to think of aspects of the religious mind, through my experience and reading others. After my read I check my notes and try to find psychological names, definitions and explanations of religion to present to us a picture of the religious mind. This is going to focus on the mind of one ant. If you understand the basic components you can understand the whole.

External locus of control - A person with an external locus of control is more likely to believe that his or her fate is determined by chance or outside forces that are beyond their own personal control. Like for example, luck, karma, the devil, etc.

Psychological Splitting - is thinking purely in extremes (e.g., goodness vs. evil, innocence vs. corruption, victimization vs. oppression, either-or, black or white, all or nothing, etc.)

Egocentricity - Self-relevant information is seen to be more important in shaping one’s judgements than do thoughts about others and other-relevant information. Egocentric people are unable to fully understand or to cope with other people's opinions and the fact that reality can be different from what they are ready to accept.

Emotional Isolation - is a term used to describe a state of isolation where the individual is emotionally isolated, but may have a well functioning social network.

Repressing Emotion - the emotions remain intact and energized; they continue to influence us while they push for expression.

Belief Perseverance - that some people have a tendency or unwillingness to admit that their foundational premises are incorrect even when shown convincing evidence to the contrary. Belief Perseverance is this tendency to reject convincing proof and become even more tenaciously held when the belief has been publicly announced to others.

It's been quite the journey trying to find good information. But while the negative effects are apparent I think it's important to expose religion for what it really is, a system of lies to make people feel better, that when taken to it's extreme leads to a system of tears.

Now the definitions are nice but I think it'd be better to see the way things develop and then get into the mind after that point.

One way conversion happens is a gradual process, either needs in a persons life changes in such a way that religion is the only thing that offers a solution, or the person has an all at once change of heart. From a near death experience to a stress induced feeling. (here's looking at you KC)

Now that we have a rough idea of conversion, we can get into the development of those definitions above, in regards to the individual.

When a person converts something happens. Typically they abolish the idea that they control their actions, rather something out side themselves controls them. Usually they see this as "following gods path" and are more accepting of thinking that luck, satan, karma and other magical things are able to affect their lives.

From here the root causes of crazy behaviors begin. The process of prayer becomes an interesting one. Any problem in life for the believer is ultimately in the hands of their god. So it's logical to them to ask him for help. The problem arises when they solely depend upon this god to answer everything out of their control.

Some problems my seem to go away emotionally, yet under the surface they still feel the emotions. The only remedy is to get a fix from praise, church, bible reading, saving souls etc. After a while the emotional repression becomes explosive anger.

Which leads us to the other side. Satan becomes an active force in the believers life. Demons, spirits, negative things are all seen as the devil. When you begin to put things into categories of god and the devil are you psychologically splitting.

The black and white thinking about morality tends to leak into other aspects of life leaving people wondering why when something to a person isn't 100% right it's wrong to them. Well this is why.

Finally religion at this point becomes the cause of emotional isolation. A person copes with prayer never actually addressing the root cause of their problems. Leading to repressions of their emotions. To alleviate their pain and frustrations they seek feel good measures. Only perceiving
that religion is the answer not the cause. By seeing them selves as special in the eyes of god, they boost their own egos to the point of absurdity.

All these behaviors seem rampant in the religious community. The inflated ego, combined with all the other traits can lead one to believe that they are fighting against the devil. That their actions will have a positive effect before the eyes of god, and their actions are just. From the suicide bomber to the abortion doctor murderer. These behaviors work together to produce an emotionally unstable god warrior. In the lesser cases it leaves a person depressed seeking feel good measures provided by their religions.

Special thanks to Vosur, Yar, atothetheist, and you forum members.

If you guys have anymore to add in ways religion effects the individual please add and then I'll try to update this.
Sister threads
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...-of-belief
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ious-Faith

Resources for help that I cannot give.
http://livingafterfaith.blogspot.com/p/resources.html

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01-08-2012, 03:12 PM
RE: A psychological profile of a believer.
I think divulging into the subjects of mind control, mob mentality, hypnotism, illusion and magic are perfect subjects into understanding the psychology of believers and the varying spectrum or degrees of belief.

My friend while becoming atheist called her mental switch from a believers psychology to an atheists, the moment where she became 'disenchanted'.
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01-08-2012, 03:47 PM (This post was last modified: 01-08-2012 04:02 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: A psychological profile of a believer.
(01-08-2012 03:12 PM)LadyJane Wrote:  I think divulging into the subjects of mind control, mob mentality, hypnotism, illusion and magic are perfect subjects into understanding the psychology of believers and the varying spectrum or degrees of belief.

My friend while becoming atheist called her mental switch from a believers psychology to an atheists, the moment where she became 'disenchanted'.

Indeed many things turn inside out. The locus of control flips, to an internal locus of control. The person effects their own life not that of an out side entity.

The all or nothing, black and white thinking disappears, the emotional isolation fades, egocentricity dies, we learn to work together, and learn from each other.

Almost all the research seems to have been done on the positive aspects. Hardly anything on negative effects have been offered.

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01-08-2012, 04:01 PM
RE: A psychological profile of a believer.
I think one element is a desire for a kind of certainty, maybe an infantile certainty.

There seems to be a real correlation between religious belief and other simplistic and literal and absolutist thinking.

It is rare that the relative and ironic mind falls for that crap.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-08-2012, 04:09 PM
RE: A psychological profile of a believer.
Which one am I?

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01-08-2012, 04:14 PM
RE: A psychological profile of a believer.
What people do not realize is the things religion offers is all an illusion, and not necessarily healthy to people at all.

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01-08-2012, 04:17 PM
RE: A psychological profile of a believer.
(01-08-2012 04:09 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Which one am I?

Delusional. You had a psychological event that you won't look at critically.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-08-2012, 04:37 PM
RE: A psychological profile of a believer.
(01-08-2012 04:17 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(01-08-2012 04:09 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Which one am I?

Delusional. You had a psychological event that you won't look at critically.

How much do you trust your 5 senses?

How far on the spectrum is your delusion?
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02-08-2012, 07:25 AM
RE: A psychological profile of a believer.
(01-08-2012 04:17 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(01-08-2012 04:09 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Which one am I?

Delusional. You had a psychological event that you won't look at critically.

I'd say you are all the above. Maybe take out the black white thinking.

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03-08-2012, 01:57 AM
RE: A psychological profile of a believer.
Interesting thoughts, fstrat0.

I'm wondering how to get my theist acquaintances to a position where they would listen to / read / understand this.

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