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Is There A Relation Between Belief And Susceptibility To Suggestion?


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This is a very informal poll. Please pick the category that applies best. Vote "N/A" in the other categories. If you get an error message, you most likely did not answer N/A as needed.

 

"For Believers" means belief in any religion: Christianity, Judaism, Hindu, Pagan, anything.

"For Ex-believers" means just that, people who believed in something at one time but not now.

"For those who have NEVER believed" is for people who have been atheist or agnostic their entire lives.

 

This is not a scientific poll by any means, but it might provide food for thought (and encourage someone to do a real study.)

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I haven't ever actually been hypnotized by a person trying to hypnotize me, so I do not know if I can answer the poll. Is a religious conversion experience a type of hypnosis? There have been instances when I was still a believer and before I was that the emotional sermon from someone at the pulpit and the worship songs of the believers in the church that have made me feel something I do not know how to explain. It was like I felt a presence of an unseen beings and suddenly just loved the feeling and thought that there really was a god that wanted me to believe and serve. I am guessing that was hypnosis, but I don't really know for certain.

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I tried when I was into new agey stuff. It didn't work.

 

I also tried astral projection, which I immediately saw for what it was.... and once you start projecting, you're just asleep albeit lucid dreaming. Though I'll admit to still doing that part. Had a good dream last night about a boy in my home.

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I have been hypnotized and I have also done some hypnotism myself. I don't think hypnotism (stage or clinical) is an exact parallel to religious ecstasy, but they are both phenomena based on suggestibility.

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Voted. Non-believer, cannot be hypnotized. It's been attempted. In my years as a charismatic christian I likewise never experienced any of the 'slain in the spirit' phenomena.

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I said I can be hypnotized based on a maybe loose definition of "hypnosis". Every single one of us is receptive to suggestion and manipulation, to a degree, so one might want to say that this counts too (quite impractical if you ask me, but possible). As for the definition of hypnosis that I know, the thing is basically a form of self-manipulation; it can be guided by the outside but the real influence comes from within yourself. In that sense, I'm sure I can be "hypnotized"... question is whether I'd allow it (in other words, cooperate to make it happen) and under what circumstances ;)

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I've never tried it but I strongly suspect I can't be.  I tried with great intensity to experience speaking in tongues and the 'baptism in the spirit' when I was a young believer and I was completely immune to the phenomena. 

 

I suppose suggestibility might be a mitigating factor, but I think -- setting aside indoctrination -- the primary factor is the human tendency to seek patterns and discount negative hits.  E.g., I noticed it rained last time I danced; they must be connected.  In addition, it is natural to assign intent behind random, natural events.  This is just how our brains are wired.  Our brains aren't very useful at sussing reality on their own.  We need to go the extra mile and use tools to separate our subjective perceptions with objective reality.  Since this is the case, religion, or at least magical thinking, is probably the default position. 

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I'm not ignoring the responses, but I don't want to comment yet so as not to introduce any more bias than there already is since this is an ad-hoc poll to begin with. :) I'll give the basis for the questions after it looks like it has died.

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Voted. Non-believer, cannot be hypnotized. It's been attempted. In my years as a charismatic christian I likewise never experienced any of the 'slain in the spirit' phenomena.

 

I never experienced anything at all

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I saw a hypnotist at the state fair once, therefore it must be true. I've never even tried to be hypnotized, and it wouldn't work anyway. The power of suggestion is an interesting concept.

 

Locally, there are a few centers that are focused on hypnotism to improve people's lives. Weight loss, quitting smoking, stress etc...

 

http://www.positivechanges.com/

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Ok, it seems like there has been as much response as what can be reasonably expected at this point.

 

The premise is not that belief in religion is a form of hypnosis, but rather that if one is susceptible to suggestion one might also be more likely to believe in religion. I was also considering the converse, that a person who is not susceptible to suggestion (i.e. can not be hypnotized) is more unlikely to believe to remain a believer, that such a person would have serious doubts to begin with.

 

There are probably some studies on this already, but if not, I'd like to see something on it. Might make a decent thesis paper for someone. It might be related to "patternicity" (apophenia) as well.

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Hypnosis isn't woo...  been used for a long time and has some merit in pain relief and anaesthesia.. Most people can be hypnotized.. some a little, some deeply.. and a few can't be hypnotized at all.

 

I'd like to try it sometime - just out of curiosity.

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I have been hypnotized and I have also done some hypnotism myself. I don't think hypnotism (stage or clinical) is an exact parallel to religious ecstasy, but they are both phenomena based on suggestibility.

 

That's word for word what I told Florduh to type when I hypnotized him. 

 

Yeah, I'm that good.

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