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Mar 6·edited Mar 6Liked by Eneasz Brodski

I was raised evangelical fundamentalist Baptist, and I am sure that nearly everyone in those circles believes that the things they say they believe are literally true. Some beliefs have plausible wriggle room; they may say that the 6 days of creation are not Earthly days, and that Earth is very old. Some have inexplicable wriggle room: the Bible has a complete genealogy from Adam to Jesus which isn't long enough for the Neolithic. Many say they believe the Bible literally, yet don't deny that humanity is more than 6000 years old. But many do stick on that point, and come up with AND BELIEVE explanations such as that humans before Adam didn't have souls. I have far too much experience with these people to think that all of them are faking it.

The way these Christians plan their lives does not make sense if you take their beliefs as aspirational. They believe literally that Heaven is a place, and that they will be there after they die. MANY of them are willing to risk death to spread these beliefs, and many have died rather than perform some symbolic act of disrespect towards their God. If the people who "believe" the sexes are the same were like Christian fundamentalists, you wouldn't find people covering up the fact that they are different; you'd find HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of professionally-published books with long, detailed, scientific-looking arguments against all of the evidence that men and women are different, as you do books attempting to scientifically rebut evolution. These people really believe they have the truth, and sufficient scientific study will prove it.

"Belief as aspiration" is a thing, but I think it's a distinctly elite thing. In ancient Athens or Rome you could have found many elites who didn't believe the gods existed, but thought it was good for other people to believe in gods. There's also "belief as pragmatics", and this is common outside the literalist churches. You find pragmatics in "religious" people who don't deep down believe in anything, but believe everyone would turn to raping and murdering each other if society stopped saying it believed in a god. (This is not quite "belief as aspiration"; the aspiration people are revolutionaries; the pragmatics people are conservatives.) And there's "belief as aesthetics": "I don't really believe this absurd thing, but how beautiful it is! If it's untrue, I don't want to know it." That was C.S. Lewis' ultimate argument for "believing in" Christianity in /The Silver Chair/.

"Belief as literal belief" is probably the oldest, and still co-exists alongside these others. What is new about the modern beliefs is actual altruism. Altruism is not a part of any conventional religion. Every time you find a religion that preaches self-renunciation, love of your neighbor, and so on, you'll find that it teaches that the person who does that will be rewarded. They are all carrot-and-stick. Ones that aren't, don't last.

Humans do naturally have actual altruism, but it is not useful for religions in an evolutionary sense. (You should apply evolutionary psychology to religion. Religions and philosophies are just self-replicating meme sets.)

My mother literally believes that I will burn in Hell for eternity unless she prays hard enough for me. The pain this causes her is not faked. She knows that she is risking her relationship with me every time she recites the same reasons why she is a Christian. She isn't doing this because she believes religion will have some good effect on me or on the world. She knows I would be the same person and do the same things in the same way if I "accepted Jesus as my savior", except for going to church, praying for missions, praying before meals, and doing other things that would have no impact on anything if her beliefs are not literally true.

She, and all my religious relatives, literally cannot understand any of the simple and obvious reasons why their beliefs are false. She never, ever comprehends what I say in reply, nor remembers it the next time around. I know her well enough to say this is a sincere lack of comprehension, or even a lack of ability to translate my statements into her internal representation. Plato's ontology, which is basically what Christians have, was constructed so that the claims which disprove Plato's theology can't be expressed in it, and thus can't be comprehended or remembered.

Take the fact that you can't explain the complexity of life by saying "God created it." This just leads to infinite regression: Who created God? And who created the one who created God? I've argued this point many times with many people, and they really, really, cannot understand it. Some roadblock in their brains shatters it before it reaches their consciousness.

Religious systems--the kind that last--are self-consistent. So is post-modernism, Nazism, and the Social Justice movement. They come with their own epistemologies, which provide ways of dismissing all evidence that the system is false. They are logical and self-consistent, so that once a person literally believes all the major points of this system, rationality keeps them IN the system rather than breaking them out of it. Rationality is the problem, not the solution. Empiricism is the solution.

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I'm the same kind of person, the one who literally believes stuff. I have a lot more respect for the people who actually literally believe in god than those who do it for social reasons. I think they're wrong, but at least they aren't polite liars.

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Yeah, similar here. With actual believers, we can "agree to disagree" and then move on to different topics where perhaps we will find more agreement.

With social believers, I never know what game we are playing, and I don't know whether it's still the same game as we change topics from religion to politics or economics or humans or weather...

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Mar 5Liked by Eneasz Brodski

What exactly did you do under the assumption that there's no material differences between the races that they got mad at you for because they don't actually believe that and were just politely pretending to?

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That any skill one race can master, any other race can also master. I didn't believe there was some special thing intrinsic to any race that makes them the only ones able to perform a certain task/skill, and when I expressed that (via a stated belief that non-asians could also learn and do Fung Shui) I became Problematic.

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Apr 1Liked by Eneasz Brodski

In this case I'm pretty sure your issue was that you disagreed on cultural appropriation discourse. I'm not sure anyone believes Asians are genetically better at Feng Shui; if anything, this strikes me as a similar "fake belief" someone might endorse because they don't think non-Asians *should* learn Feng Shui.

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Mar 13·edited Mar 13

O_o

That's messed up. You were Not The Asshole. Feng Shui is basically bullshit anyway, but, seriously, WTF are they thinking when they say people can't learn it?

In conclusion, although they were presumably perfectly nice people in other contexts, when it comes to this, f--k them and the horse they rode in on.

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Mar 4Liked by Eneasz Brodski

Related: https://thezvi.substack.com/p/everybody-knows

It's worth minding that we live in a time where all sorts of people deny reality for all sorts of reasons. They will not tell you theybare doing this, of course, and they will not feel like they are lying because "everybody knows". But everybody does not know. You can never be too careful to believe your own two eyes--or to heed the voice in the back of your head that doubts, even if it just seems like vague, unjustified, dissatisfaction with a "proven" answer.

I only skimmed the "believe in" piece but I'm glad someone else is speaking to rationalists along these lines. I've always thought of "belief in" as a kind of trust. If I believe in you, that means I trust you to come through for me. I'm sorry the people you've believed in haven't always come through for you.

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Mar 4Liked by Eneasz Brodski

"Honestly, any sort of theism should have massive repercussions on how lives." - typo?

Also the YouTube link doesn't work for me (based in the UK)

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