Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
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20-10-2015, 10:17 AM
Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
(20-10-2015 10:16 AM)jennybee Wrote:  I definitely agree about indoctrination at a young age. Brainwashing can infiltrate even the most intelligent of people. When you add on community and family support, all of which reiterate religious delusion, it is easy for brainwashing to take hold. I also find that intelligent theists can balance both God and science. They believe in God, but believe He allowed things to happen (i.e. evolution). And I think they really want to believe. When you really want to believe in something, it's easy to push other things--such as reality--to the side.

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20-10-2015, 10:22 AM
RE: Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
For those raised with religion, indoctrination prior to the maturation of the prefrontal cortex would seem to play a huge role. We know the brain is easily trained, especially while young. Training some of the brain's systems to perceive the world from a religious perspective before the brain has fully developed the ability to really judge the information that it is taking in results in the development of neurological patterns that the brain later follows without questioning. These patterns must then be overcome or unlearned before the frontal cortex can re-examine the old information and evaluate it with its full ability. If a person stays in the environment that the beliefs were created in, then unlearning these patterns takes a concerted and intentional effort. However, due to the nature of the beliefs themselves, he is unlikely to do so. The person then would avoid any information that doesn't fit the pattern in an attempt to avoid the cognitive dissonance that would be created thereby. Leaving the environment and removing the continuous reinforcement of ingrained patterns of belief allow the brain to potentially and very gradually create new patterns for perceiving without triggering a high degree of cognitive dissonance (i.e. how to boil a frog.) I would hypothesize that in a non-reinforcing environment those of higher intelligence would begin to question old beliefs more quickly than others.

Disclaimer: I might be able to actually source some of the assertions I have made here, but a lot of it is just my BS opinion.

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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20-10-2015, 10:34 AM
RE: Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
My guess:

Indoctrination + pride + community + unfalsifiability + peer reinforcement.

There is also hope + fear + comfort + explanations.

Much of what others have already said. I think if religion wasn't explicitly designed as a virus (that is to infect as many as possible, and be really hard to get rid of) it would be different. The level of control and consequence for "betrayal" plays a big part in even wanting to consider betraying the "faith".

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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20-10-2015, 10:43 AM
RE: Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
The neocortex is kind of lazy and doesn't like to waste cognitive effort on things that it doesn't perceive to be a problem, preferring to let the more dominant and much more efficient amygdala handle most situations. So if we're comfortable in our religion, and never have a reason to perceive our beliefs as being in need of a solution, our logic won't bother looking for one.

'Murican Canadian
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20-10-2015, 11:06 AM
RE: Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
My answer won't be original: indoctrination. If not for it I doubt that many people would waste time thinking about how please invisible man in the sky.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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20-10-2015, 11:14 AM
RE: Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
I know some very intelligent people who say they are religious because they've always felt there had to be a god. I think the feelings come first and the justifications come after. As there are plenty of smart people who do believe, it's easy for someone to find justifications for their religious beliefs that are satisfying enough to stay in their faith. And then a host of social benefits flow from the membership in that group.

Also--this may apply especially for smart people--maybe they don't feel urgent enough about the idea of religion to want to spend the time and energy that would be necessary to discard their religion for something better. They might choose to focus their interests on other areas.

Unlike many people I know, I never managed to be able to feel loving towards god, even when I believed. I tried, but couldn't find that emotion inside. I never felt comforted by the idea that god was looking out for me. It didn't feel like love from god's end, either. t have no idea why the religion I grew up with didn't generate good feelings in me the way it did for other kids I knew, but I have other emotional reactions that don't fit into what we are taught to think is normal.
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20-10-2015, 11:45 AM
RE: Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
I agree with all the above posts.

From my personal experience. When I was young, I didn't know not believing was even an option. I remembering having questions on it but not doubts. The questions were often redirected, or rephrased a way that seemed to make sense. To at least a young mind. One question I recalled was

Young CS "Why doesn't good show himself?"

CCD Teacher "He shows himself threw your heart. If you saw his face you would die."

I don't consider myself a genius but I also don't consider myself stupid. And most people would say the same for themselves. But when you're in a group of like minded people that all think The World is Flat. You get all your information from people that say the world is flat.

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
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20-10-2015, 03:50 PM
RE: Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
This is turning out to be an excellent discussion.

Yes, indoctrination at a young age is vital. I was a smart kid. My family taught me to read before I started school and in the first grade they put me in an advanced class. But at 4 years old, I didn't question the idea of Joshua making the day light last longer by praying for the sun and moon to stand still. By the time I learned the true structure of the universe, the Church had already taught me how to brush such questions aside.

Oh my soul looks back and wonders how I got over.

Good things come to those who wait.
But only what's left over by those who hustle.
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20-10-2015, 05:52 PM (This post was last modified: 20-10-2015 06:08 PM by GenesisNemesis.)
RE: Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
They simply don't know how to cope emotionally without the idea that there's some kind of purpose to everything. They either don't have or haven't yet acquired the emotional capacity for that, and it's understandably a difficult thing to accept.
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20-10-2015, 07:52 PM
RE: Why Do Otherwise Intelligent People Succomb to Religion?
Indoctrination or wanting something to be true. Wishful thinking, belief in belief itself as a good thing... and also the fact that emotional thinking can lead to many false beliefs and you can be intelligent and still succumb to Emotional thinking....

...furthermore highly intelligent people can also succumb to fallacies and cognitive biases.
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