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Cognitive Dissonance Claims


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I've heard I couple of times that people who rejects Christianity/Creationism do so out of Cognitive Dissonance because they don't want to realise that Christianity is true. Some how the truth of christianity is so overwhelming that if you don't believe it its because you don't want to believe it. I really find that so unfair, as most of those I've meet would never dream of questioning their own beliefs. Furthermore you can blame anybody for Cognitive Dissonance for not accepting your position. Then there is the evidence. The overwhelming evidence simply isn't there.

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I've heard I couple of times that people who rejects Christianity/Creationism do so out of Cognitive Dissonance because they don't want to realise that Christianity is true. Some how the truth of christianity is so overwhelming that if you don't believe it its because you don't want to believe it. I really find that so unfair, as most of those I've meet would never dream of questioning their own beliefs. Furthermore you can blame anybody for Cognitive Dissonance for not accepting your position. Then there is the evidence. The overwhelming evidence simply isn't there.

 

I could take the first line of this quote, change xianity to evolution, and it would read the same. If they accuse of us cognitive dissonance, it's only to cover up that they are the worst perpetrators of cognitive dissonance. I think they believe this about us, or choose to believe it, because they either 1) derive happiness and fulfillment from xianity and they can't imagine why anyone would leave that, 2) just can't or won't imagine there not being a god period, or 3) just don't want to question their own beliefs and choose to be willfully ignorant to the other possibilities. I would love to believe the sweet lie that people are going to heaven after they die if they worship this sky daddy and live eternally in bliss, but I can't. It's not rational and it's not the truth. It's not that I don't want to realize that these things are true, I can't because they're simply not true. They can think whatever they want to about me, I don't care, but pinning atheism on cognitive dissonance is incorrect and ridiculously absurd.

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I agree with Skeptic. I'll add this just to clarify:

From Wikipedia: "Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The "ideas" or "cognitions" in question may include attitudes and beliefs, and also the awareness of one's behavior. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, or by justifying or rationalizing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors."

 

This means that we would have to be holding two different ideas in our minds about Xianity that we each held to be true separately, but together did not agree. I can't think of anything I currently hold to that comes close to that definition. I certainly didn't leave Xianity over such a cause. I researched hell, found it to be a non-Judaic concept, yet very present in Greek and Roman religion. This led me to do more searching about the validity of the claims of the Bible and I found it wanting. I had originally believed out of childish fear of the devil, and had my belief reinforced by years of association with Xians who also believed it to be real and who were quite aggressive in their preaching.

 

I tend to think that those who are using the term this way either don't understand what it really means and/or they are trying to find a quick way to dismiss ex-Xians as having brain issues.

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I've heard I couple of times that people who rejects Christianity/Creationism do so out of Cognitive Dissonance because they don't want to realise that Christianity is true. Some how the truth of christianity is so overwhelming that if you don't believe it its because you don't want to believe it. I really find that so unfair, as most of those I've meet would never dream of questioning their own beliefs. Furthermore you can blame anybody for Cognitive Dissonance for not accepting your position. Then there is the evidence. The overwhelming evidence simply isn't there.

 

If I correctly understand the concept of cognitive dissonance and Christian teachings, then Christianity IS cognitive dissonance. I cannot believe that I am saved through the shed blood of Christ when:

  1. Blood generally makes things red and not clean, or "whiter than snow," as Christianity teaches. I was raised with the tradition of slaughtering farm animals for food and this introduced me at an early age to blood in large quantities--bloody hands, bloody clothing, bloody floors, etc. By the time anyone got around to teaching me about cleansing by the blood of Jesus, I already knew all this about blood being dirty. Even so, the rest of the Plan of Salvation makes no sense to me.
  2. If Christianity's Plan of Salvation is so simple that uneducated slaves and children can understand it, as I was taught, then I should be able to understand it. I don't. I had problems with it from the moment I first heard it when I was a child. So it wasn't that I got too much education or became "too proud" so that I "could no longer accept it." All that the education ever did was assure me that I had been right all along. Indeed, I had been promised that I would understand when I got older. So I waited to deconvert until I was forty or fifty, depending which part of the journey you accept as the actual deconvertion. I left the church at forty and left god at fifty.
  3. The evidence of human nature suggests that when we get rid of all the dysfunctional behaviour (brought on in large part by dysfunctional religious teachings) we are healed. This being the case, it seems human nature is good enough as it is--so long as religion keeps its long groping fingers out where it doesn't belong.

Above and beyond all that, there is no such thing as sin. The only time anyone would define sin for me, they defined it as "intentionally doing that which we know is wrong." I was quite young. I assumed that, since people had to be saved from it at such an awful price, everyone sinned. I assumed that I probably would sin, too, at some point in my life. In the mean time, I did all I could to become the good girl my parents wanted me to be. One thing I never ever did was intentionally doing something that I knew was bad. I was bad by accident far more than I liked. Mostly, the way I knew I was bad was when I got a scolding; not a very reliable way of learning and it happened so often but I assumed I would eventually learn. The point here is, it was not intentional and therefore not a sin.

 

Unfortunately, that ended up being a really serious problem. So long as I did not commit a sin, I could not be saved. If I could not be saved, obviously, I did not need a saviour. A person who did not need a saviour could not be a Christian, and therefore not part of the community.

 

Worse far than that, even if I did need saving, how could Jesus' dead body ever save my soul, which was spiritual, from a spiritual hell?

 

Maybe this last was not cognitive dissonance but it sure was dissonance (if dissonance means disharmony) and it was cognitive or on the level of the intellect. The intellectual disharmony was intolerable. I had to profess with my lips that I believed something that did not make sense and was, therefore, impossible to believe. In real life, we use the word "believe" only as in "it makes sense to think" such and such. Thus, that is what the word means no matter how many sermons they preach on "faith is not logical."

 

The Bible says "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Regardless of exactly what all the other words (and the sequence of all those words) mean in that verse, the words "evidence" and "substance" really mean something solid and substantial. Obviously, Christians are expected to understand their religion.

 

Also, my parents and the preachers stressed that we should know what we believed and why. In addition, Peter admonishes for Christians to be prepared to give answer to those who ask about the Christian faith. That the faith made logical sense was a definite message I got--both from my own church and from the seminary. The seminary insisted that faith is not logical but graded papers as though logic were the only game in town. Possibly that does not classify as cognitive dissonance but it classifies as a double standard or double message or double something.

 

Whether Christians like it or not, the cognitive dissonance caused by their religion is what caused my deconversion. I could not live with the dissonance or disharmony of what I was forced to profess and what I knew to be true in real life, the real universe. I love the quote from Carl Sagan: It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Demon-Haunted World, p. 12.

 

Not until I was on these forums did I see another person even looking at the problem. I didn't know what was wrong with me that I made such an issue over things no one else even saw but this concerned me and my personal integrity before God (if he existed), and with my own self if god did not exist. I valued my personal integrity above everything else and this thing had to be settled. Even the Israelites spent only forty years in the wilderness. I think taking forty years out of my life to think it over and research it was long enough--let the christians say what they will.

 

So if anyone is guilty of cognitive dissonance, I think it's the Christians. But by the sounds of things, this is a battle you're not going to win with words, though if you're keen for battle you can try. People here say the best vengeance is to live a happy life without religion. I like to take that a step further and live a happy life without the Christians themselves--unless, of course, they treat me like a human being equal to them so that I can tolerate their presence. If you leave out the word "equal" you may be much more likely to get their cooperation. They simply cannot see apostates as equal without renouncing their beliefs.

 

I'm taking my cue from people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. I feel no obligations to apologize for my atheism. I expect that Christians who wish for my company will treat me as an equal. I make this easier by not advertizing my atheism.

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I've heard I couple of times that people who rejects Christianity/Creationism do so out of Cognitive Dissonance because they don't want to realise that Christianity is true. Some how the truth of christianity is so overwhelming that if you don't believe it its because you don't want to believe it. I really find that so unfair, as most of those I've meet would never dream of questioning their own beliefs. Furthermore you can blame anybody for Cognitive Dissonance for not accepting your position. Then there is the evidence. The overwhelming evidence simply isn't there.

 

Dude, just ask people who say that why they don't beat their slaves, and then point them to Exodus 21. It's been my experience that people tend to get fucked up when they realize that Christianity endorses abusive slavery.

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I've heard I couple of times that people who rejects Christianity/Creationism do so out of Cognitive Dissonance because they don't want to realise that Christianity is true.

Most of us here tried desperately, sometimes for decades, to believe in xianty. De-conversion does not come lightly or easily.

Some how the truth of christianity is so overwhelming that if you don't believe it its because you don't want to believe it.

No, I personally don't believe it because all evidence points to the conclusion that it's a crock of shit, and that's being gentle.

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Cognitive Dissonance is indeed why many people leave Christianity. And it is defined as holding two opposing ideas in your head at once, such as:

 

1. Gay people aren't hurting anyone, and

2. Homosexuality is an abomination to God

 

or,

 

1. There is overwhelming evidence that the earth is millions of years old and that all organisms evolved, and

2. The earth was created in 7 days by God about 6,000 years ago.

 

The list is long, and it creates cognitive dissonance ad nauseum.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've havn't been online for a long time but anyway, Thankyou for all your answers.

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