My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
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29-05-2015, 09:39 PM
My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
So my friend is extremely smart, there is no doubting this. We've had quite a few discussions. Each time we discuss, I believe a little less (I'm basically an atheist now, I'm just coming to terms with it). Each time we discuss, he maintains the same point of view. He views every story in the Bible as a metaphor to at least maintain some credibility (assuming any non-flawed idea has some inherent credibility, as it provides no evidence to give it credibility). I have said stuff along the lines of "With you being as smart as you are, can you seriously tell me that this makes any sense?" (It works with most stories in the Bible). He generally replies along the lines of "No, but I believe it anyway, because it is comforting." Is this an ok idea to maintain, and if you believe it isn't, then how do you suppose one would convince him to give up his belief if he takes anything that is unrealistic as a metaphor.

tl;dr
My friend is extremely smart. He recognizes his belief is flawed, and that there is no reason to believe, but he says he believes because it is comforting. Is this ok? If not, why not?
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29-05-2015, 09:55 PM
RE: My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
He or she is free to believe anything, provided he does not ram it down the throats of others.

The same goes for you.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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29-05-2015, 09:58 PM
RE: My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
Martin Gardner said the same thing. To me that means even human minds that give reason high priority aren't always reasonable. We have no conscious control over belief; it is a product of the subconscious, shaped by factors of which reason is only one component. It is possible to believe things our conscious mind rejects outright; the conscious disbelief just can't displace the subconscious belief with a puff of logic because more than logic underpins belief.

That''s why all the hammers of reason in these threads just bounce uselessly off the visiting theists. Factors of human desire must accompany transformation of belief. It's like the old joke about how many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb: just one - but it has to want to change.
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29-05-2015, 10:16 PM
RE: My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
(29-05-2015 09:58 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  Martin Gardner said the same thing. To me that means even human minds that give reason high priority aren't always reasonable. We have no conscious control over belief; it is a product of the subconscious, shaped by factors of which reason is only one component. It is possible to believe things our conscious mind rejects outright; the conscious disbelief just can't displace the subconscious belief with a puff of logic because more than logic underpins belief.

That''s why all the hammers of reason in these threads just bounce uselessly off the visiting theists. Factors of human desire must accompany transformation of belief. It's like the old joke about how many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb: just one - but it has to want to change.

I do like this post, but I raised a similar point with him. I asked him if he was able to change his beliefs at will. He said that he would be lying to himself, but would be able to change his belief. I also think it is interesting that he responded with an enthusiastic yes when I asked him the following: "If God were undeniably proven wrong, would you stop believing in him?" So it seems to me that, though reason may not be extremely important to a point, it is still vital.
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29-05-2015, 10:48 PM
RE: My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
If he finds lies so comforting, tell him he's handsome hunk of a man who should be a male model.

Tell him every day.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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30-05-2015, 06:46 AM
RE: My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
(29-05-2015 09:39 PM)FlamingFish Wrote:  My friend is extremely smart. He recognizes his belief is flawed, and that there is no reason to believe, but he says he believes because it is comforting. Is this ok? If not, why not?
At least it is self-aware and honest. I actually have no problem with a theist who can admit his beliefs are simply chosen preferences, not substantiatable and not better or worse than anyone else's, as this is the necessary prerequisite for that person to truly "live and let live" -- and I am happy to then reciprocate.

Maybe one on a hundred theists is able to do this, however. Because in effect they are admitting to themselves that they just can't or won't cope with reality without their security blanket of choice. And they don't want to be seen as some kind of loser.

In truth I don't see such people that way. I am willing to afford anyone whatever they need to get through their day so long as it's not harmful or disrespectful to others. Because even though I don't suck that particular thumb, I have my own coping mechanisms that I've cobbled together to deal with my existential issues, and some of them involve idealism that I cling to out of mental inflexibility. And I know it's wrong. It's just that nothing has happened in my life yet that's traumatic enough to cause my idealism to quit working well enough to serve me.

Religion is just another form of the same thing. It's an idealistic hyperperfectionistic view of how humans ought to be, a projection of our impotence and frustration into the void, and presto, back comes an omnipotent, all wise, all-capable invisible sorta-friend, but due to our projected self loathing, he is also an invisible judge, jury and executioner. I have dispensed with the invisible friend but not entirely with my vision of how I or others "ought to" be or how life "ought to" work. I'm actually afraid to tinker with it too much because it might mess with my motivational subroutines in ways I'd rather not disturb at my age if I don't have to.

So I think you should cut your friend some slack and not try to "fix" him. He can only fix himself. And maybe he's fine just the way he is. If he can regard you the same way, then you can both afford to let things be as they are. You'll continue to dialog and at some inflection point in his life he may be able to work with the seeds you're planting. Until then, love him as he is.
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30-05-2015, 07:00 AM
RE: My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
(29-05-2015 09:39 PM)FlamingFish Wrote:  My friend is extremely smart. He recognizes his belief is flawed, and that there is no reason to believe, but he says he believes because it is comforting. Is this ok? If not, why not?

Of course it's ok, but your friend values comfort more than truth. I have trouble taking anyone seriously when they admit to valuing their own comfort more than truth.
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30-05-2015, 10:02 AM
RE: My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
(29-05-2015 10:48 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  If he finds lies so comforting, tell him he's handsome hunk of a man who should be a male model.

Tell him every day.

If I can accept that beauty is subjective, I can also accept that comfort is subjective.

Now ... where did I put that riding crop? It's spanky time. Wink

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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30-05-2015, 11:11 AM
RE: My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
At least he's accepted that to him, religion is not about seeking truth, but comfort. Intelligent people are not necessarily secure or without emotional issues, it sound like religion is like a stuffy toy or "blanky" for his emotions, not a source to feed his intellect. He basically has to suspend his rational thinking just to accept religion, which is quite a feat of dissonance management.
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30-05-2015, 12:09 PM
RE: My smart friend believes, despite reasoning.
I've got a friend who is a counter intelligence officer. He specializes in gathering the facts and accurately piecing together the bigger picture. And he's a devout Mormon.

I've also known atheists who are dumb as rocks. Go figure. We all have seemingly random convictions regardless of our levels of intelligence.

'Murican Canadian
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