What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
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03-04-2017, 07:18 AM
RE: What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
(03-04-2017 07:06 AM)ukatheist Wrote:  I think everyone is susceptible to religious belief. It's just the standard of evidence that is personally acceptable, and willingness to critically examine said evidence, that varies from individual to individual. Tbh, I don't think that a the majority of theists really give the veracity of their beliefs much thought.

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When they do, and start to harbor doubts, they have been primed to believe that those are the activities of the devil.

You've probably seen some powerful Christian memes along the lines the devil's greatest achievement has been to convince people that he does not exist.

It can be a struggle to fully disentangle oneself from such a belief system if this is what you've "known" since childhood.

We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning ~ Werner Heisenberg
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03-04-2017, 08:14 AM
RE: What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
Talking about statistical trends, it seems that the least religious people tend to be financially stable, white or east asian and then there's the IQ charts someone else presented on this thread.

But on an individual basis between people I don't think these characteristics make people susceptible.

I think there maybe be this inherited behavior in certain people to have fidelity to reality over social acceptance and this trait has been nurtured in societies where the lack of social acceptance has been less life threatening.

In the past in most societies and in a lot of societies today it definitely helps a person live and breed to pick social acceptance, religion, over reality.
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03-04-2017, 09:04 AM
RE: What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
Children. Children are very susceptible to the god delusion.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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03-04-2017, 09:32 AM
RE: What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
(02-04-2017 11:40 PM)whateverist Wrote:  I don't think believers must be mentally deficient or morally flawed to hold on to their god. Nor do I think those of us who test negative for the condition are necessarily of superior IQ or morally superior for our greater insistence on the Truth.
Heck no. Compartmentalization, self awareness, life experience and one's response to it, mental discipline, childhood indoctrination / socialization / social pressure all have only tangentially to do with intelligence and are heavily influence by MANY other factors.

It is a mistake largely born of arrogance (and sometimes laziness) to dismiss all theists as straight-up idiots and explain all unbelief and deconversion as an effect of higher intelligence.
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03-04-2017, 09:34 AM
RE: What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
(03-04-2017 03:46 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(03-04-2017 02:16 AM)Ordinary Atheist Wrote:  Considering that most people believe in a God, I think that it would be fair to say that most people are susceptible to religious belief...

I'm not sure where you drew this factoid from? In Australia at our last Federal Census in 2011, 31.7% of the population described themselves as "atheist" or "no religion". Only 61.1% described themselves as "Christian".

I also disagree with your claim that "most" people are susceptible to religious belief; less are in increasing numbers, as religion loses its hold on a scientifically-enlightened 21st-century population. In the same Census, there was an increase of 1,100,725 respondents describing themselves as "atheist"—out of a population of 23 million.
"Most" is > 50%. Since 61.1% of Australians identify as Christian and presumably most of those are not mere cultural associations but imply at least rudimentary belief in the Christian version of god, the word "most" is justified.
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03-04-2017, 09:47 AM
RE: What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
(03-04-2017 06:45 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Sigh.

What I was going to say has been said already, so I'll just add a couple of tables:

The desire (to belong etc.) is innate. Hard wired in our soft tissue.
Thanks Darwin.

The beliefs are the Apps uploaded in our early years:

[Image: slide_18.jpg]

And the theism of choice is the data input by our environment.

And just in case atheists get too smug about IQ, Intelligence is but one of the "Big 5" factors that influence personality.

So low IQ (linked to lack of openness) is quite probably relevant but Agreeableness and Neuroticism (instability) are likely contributors too.

[Image: pq0455.png]

Also IQ tests are mainstreamed towards a certain population. My first thought on the posit with the IQ chart and percentage of atheists was, "Well of course it's going to be. The predominantly atheist populated countries are also predominantly higher in socio-economic status, whereas those which are not, usually have a larger population of people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Factors like SES, and others related to populations and cultures, play merry Hell with IQ testing results and how they're interpreted. IQ is a horrible measure in many cases."

Not that, that, would detract from the main points unassociated with the chart, about the various scientific organizations and their members beliefs in a god or gods. Also love the Pidget table being used here; it's in my lecture on Wednesday in Criminology, because we're discussing Developmental Theories of Crime, and to touch upon the criminality and its development, we also have to hit the literature on cognitive development period.

Need to think of a witty signature.
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03-04-2017, 09:57 AM (This post was last modified: 03-04-2017 10:42 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
(03-04-2017 07:18 AM)tomilay Wrote:  When they do, and start to harbor doubts, they have been primed to believe that those are the activities of the devil.

You've probably seen some powerful Christian memes along the lines the devil's greatest achievement has been to convince people that he does not exist.

It can be a struggle to fully disentangle oneself from such a belief system if this is what you've "known" since childhood.

Yeah, the religious are great at blocking all the exits. Too bad the church is on fire.
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03-04-2017, 10:01 AM
RE: What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
Given the prevalence of religious beliefs pretty much everywhere I think the better question is what makes some people less susceptible?

I don't remember ever actually believing a god existed; the Jesus stories were just less interesting myths than the Greek and Egyptian and other pantheons. It isn't that I didn't wonder how things came to be but, while I always enjoyed fantasy and sci-fi and "just-so" stories, I pretty much always kept speculation and belief distinct.

I usually tested relatively high IQ but nothing extreme and I've made my share of stupid mistakes and demonstrated gullibility on more than one occasion so it isn't intelligence. Overall I just don't seem to have the ability to accept anything without good evidence.

I suspect it may be related to being an introvert and a loner by choice, even when very young so "fitting in" never mattered much. I generally preferred to explore on my own and that meant figuring out what worked and why for myself. Whenever I was told "this is the reason" I always had to verify it.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
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03-04-2017, 11:26 AM
RE: What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
(03-04-2017 07:18 AM)tomilay Wrote:  When they do, and start to harbor doubts, they have been primed to believe that those are the activities of the devil.

You've probably seen some powerful Christian memes along the lines the devil's greatest achievement has been to convince people that he does not exist.

It can be a struggle to fully disentangle oneself from such a belief system if this is what you've "known" since childhood.

This.

I can tell you that the church I would definitely push the narrative that doubt = sin. It's more passive aggressive now and they act like they don't mind questioning, but it's a pretty shallow questioning. If they've answered you twice and you still ask, then you're the problem. Like most things, they have a very screwed up (i.e. very wrong) view of skepticism; their version is to look at what "Christians" are doing and compare it to the bible (and point to the NT account of people "studying the scriptures to see if the Apostles were right"). They never question the account in the bible at all.

Also more to the topic, conservative churches REALLY push the "have kids" thing to families because that's the main way the church survives, by having kids and making them little christian soliders. In the almost 40 years of church going, I rarely remember adults converting, and if they did, they were just coming from other denominations that were "wrong". I can never remember a self-confessed atheist converting. The adults that did convert that already had some belief were all usually pretty "needy" people that needed the security blanket of a god or a church.
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03-04-2017, 01:27 PM
RE: What sort of person is susceptible to the god delusion?
(03-04-2017 03:46 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(03-04-2017 02:16 AM)Ordinary Atheist Wrote:  Considering that most people believe in a God, I think that it would be fair to say that most people are susceptible to religious belief...

I'm not sure where you drew this factoid from? In Australia at our last Federal Census in 2011, 31.7% of the population described themselves as "atheist" or "no religion". Only 61.1% described themselves as "Christian".

I also disagree with your claim that "most" people are susceptible to religious belief; less are in increasing numbers, as religion loses its hold on a scientifically-enlightened 21st-century population. In the same Census, there was an increase of 1,100,725 respondents describing themselves as "atheist"—out of a population of 23 million.


Not addressed to me, but when I asked who is susceptible to god belief I had in mind the hypothetical situation where they were born into a highly functional, moderate religious household where adults believed fervently in a god but not in any specific claims which would obviously run afoul of science. I still say we all would have a hell of a time making it out of such circumstances as an atheist - and that we would probably be happy to be a believer too.

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
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