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Thread: Barna: Big decline in US Christian Practice over last 20 years

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Floof View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Floof View Post
    What has also increased among those who call themselves Christian is tribalism and authoritarianism. This flavor of Christianity doesn't give a rat's ass about church or the teachings of Christ.

    In spite of whatever humane ideas you might find in Christianity, there is no version of the Bible that values reason, evidence, admitting wrong, self reflection, education, or pacifism, or any other idea or practice that could possibly serve to mitigate the ordinary human sociopsychological and cognitive pitfalls that are so easily hijacked and turned into blind obedience to corrupt authoritarianism.

    Few, if any, flavors of Christianity offer tools, skills, or practices that equip human beings to be able to deal humanely and analytically to upheaval and fear. It's only benign in times of relative prosperity and peace.
    Find a really crazy christian and you have someone doing speed or some other drug. Meth will do that to a person.
    Yeah, that's the ticket. Nothing to look at here but some methheads.
    I have to admit my university days were just like that. The biggest dopers were to be found at the Newman Center.

  2. Top | #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Floof View Post

    Yeah, that's the ticket. Nothing to look at here but some methheads.
    I have to admit my university days were just like that. The biggest dopers were to be found at the Newman Center.
    No, the most zealous Christians are not on crack or meth or speed. They're on authoritarian tribalism, which is reinforced by Christian doctrine.
    The Authoritarians

    GOP and Trump supporters will not be able to say they didn't know. Vote in numbers too big to manipulate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    So that's why the country turned into a utopia of tolerance, prosperity, and love of knowledge.
    "Tolerance" has definitely increased, despite those that are intolerant (mostly Christians) getting louder, angrier and more political.

    Advances in LGBTQ rights, trans rights, women's equality, the "me too" movement, etc. all owe a partial debt to secularism and the decline of religiosity that is a primary source of opposition to all these things.

    "Love of knowledge" has also increased in some ways, as evidenced by a sizable increase in acceptance of evolution, climate change, the science of homosexuality, etc..

    "Prosperity" on the other hand isn't directly tied to rational thinking or respect for personal liberty that is advanced by shedding the yoke of authoritarianism inherent to theism. The desire to be "prosperous" is largely independent from the religious-secularism.
    Also, the small minority in political power determine how many are prosperous, and that minority is mostly religious or at least feigns religiosity b/c the voting majority is still intolerant against those who don't.

    Also, the advancements in tolerance and love of knowledge come more from the non-Xtians who are still a minority. Just b/c a Christian isn't "practicing" by going to church and may not accept many of the more fantastical orthodox claims, doesn't mean they've shed the misogyny and intolerant bigotry that at the core of Abrahamic religion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    It's safe to say that humanity likes its woo. And I'm no exception because I thoroughly enjoy watching a good movie, pretending that something is real and enjoying the experience. Is a religion like christianity or scientology any different? Are crystals any different? I don't think so.
    I disagree. I think they are very different. Being immersed in a fictional setting that you know is not real is not at all the same thing as believing in crystals, spirits, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tammuz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    It's safe to say that humanity likes its woo. And I'm no exception because I thoroughly enjoy watching a good movie, pretending that something is real and enjoying the experience. Is a religion like christianity or scientology any different? Are crystals any different? I don't think so.
    I disagree. I think they are very different. Being immersed in a fictional setting that you know is not real is not at all the same thing as believing in crystals, spirits, etc.
    Agreed. In fact, using fiction as a temporary escape from what you know is reality is essentially the opposite of deluding yourself that fiction is reality, which is what religion and woo beliefs do. The former is psychologically healthy, while the latter is destructive for the believer and those around them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tammuz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    It's safe to say that humanity likes its woo. And I'm no exception because I thoroughly enjoy watching a good movie, pretending that something is real and enjoying the experience. Is a religion like christianity or scientology any different? Are crystals any different? I don't think so.
    I disagree. I think they are very different. Being immersed in a fictional setting that you know is not real is not at all the same thing as believing in crystals, spirits, etc.
    Agreed. In fact, using fiction as a temporary escape from what you know is reality is essentially the opposite of deluding yourself that fiction is reality, which is what religion and woo beliefs do. The former is psychologically healthy, while the latter is destructive for the believer and those around them.
    When I watch the movie Avatar it is complete and utter fantasy, yet I enjoy it. I believe this is the same satisfying emotional experience a person has who believes in crystals or a christ. It's quite restorative as well. I'd be interested to see brain scans of the two experiences to see if they are quantifiably different.

    When I'm talking to a very religious person who believes all their religious silliness, the woo angle gives me a connection. I can say to the person that we both like our woo but that my woo is not the same as your woo. We both take great pleasure and satisfaction in our experiences but a religious person does not experience the knowledge that their woo is just the same thing, and therefore continues to believe it is real.

    In a way, both our brains are the same in that they are trying to impose order. I realize it doesn't make any difference how I arrange the utensils in the kitchen drawer, only that I have a preference, like preferring Avatar over Lord of the Rings. But when it comes to religious woo this awareness doesn't happen. The person is blind to their prejudice.

    When I worked as a machinist I would cover my machine and tools everyday at the end of work to keep them clean and dust free. To do this we simply used terrycloth towels that had the company logo. I always arranged my covers with the logos right side up, never upside down or not showing. I realized that every time I did this I was expressing a bit of superstition but I did it nonetheless because it made me feel better.

  7. Top | #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post

    Agreed. In fact, using fiction as a temporary escape from what you know is reality is essentially the opposite of deluding yourself that fiction is reality, which is what religion and woo beliefs do. The former is psychologically healthy, while the latter is destructive for the believer and those around them.
    When I watch the movie Avatar it is complete and utter fantasy, yet I enjoy it. I believe this is the same satisfying emotional experience a person has who believes in crystals or a christ. It's quite restorative as well. I'd be interested to see brain scans of the two experiences to see if they are quantifiably different.
    If you severe the pleasure experience itself from all the psychology that gives rise to it, then sure it's similar. If you looked at the brains, it might look similar, only b/c you'd be looking at nothing other than that their pleasure center is "lit up", and not all the differences in their brains and psychology that preceded and led to that moment of pleasure. IOW, it would look the "same" just like your brain when eating your favorite food looks "the same" as Hannibal Lecter's brain eating his victims brain while they are alive.

    You're similar to the Christ/crystal believer only in that you're both experiencing pleasure from something, but what it is giving you the pleasure is completely different. It is not merely the story about crystals and Christ itself but the belief that the story is objectively true that gives religionist pleasure. Whereas, your pleasure is derived from the story. In fact, you may also get a kind of "pleasure" out of horror stories, yet you wouldn't find it pleasurable to hear it if you thought it was true. That highlights how getting pleasure from a story and getting pleasure from a belief in the veracity of a story are completely different things.

    When I'm talking to a very religious person who believes all their religious silliness, the woo angle gives me a connection. I can say to the person that we both like our woo but that my woo is not the same as your woo. We both take great pleasure and satisfaction in our experiences but a religious person does not experience the knowledge that their woo is just the same thing, and therefore continues to believe it is real.
    Fantasy isn't "woo". Woo is fantasy that you believe is real and not fantasy. The delusional irrational belief that it's real is inherent to the meaning of "woo". If you watch LOTR, it doesn't become "woo" until you watch it as though it's a documentary.


    In a way, both our brains are the same in that they are trying to impose order.
    Which only means that you both have brains and both get pleasure from things, but so do the two most different people that have ever existed. I guess it's useful to remember that woo believers are human beings and thus their psychology is bounded by the defining features of human cognition. But it doesn't get us very far.


    I realize it doesn't make any difference how I arrange the utensils in the kitchen drawer, only that I have a preference, like preferring Avatar over Lord of the Rings. But when it comes to religious woo this awareness doesn't happen. The person is blind to their prejudice.
    And that lack of awareness is a monumental difference that impacts how the person acts, how they impact others, how they process information related to their religious stories, etc.. Meta-cognitive awareness is a central feature of human cognition. If we knew where to look in the brain for it (we currently don't), then the person brains of the believer and non-believer watching the movie "Noah" would look different in critical ways.


    When I worked as a machinist I would cover my machine and tools everyday at the end of work to keep them clean and dust free. To do this we simply used terrycloth towels that had the company logo. I always arranged my covers with the logos right side up, never upside down or not showing. I realized that every time I did this I was expressing a bit of superstition but I did it nonetheless because it made me feel better.
    But again, you felt better without believing it objectively mattered, not b/c you deluded yourself into thinking it mattered. Feeling good b/c you perform an action or b/c of an aesthetic preference if very different from feeling good b/c you think your action or aesthetic preference will have objective consequences, such as put you into favor with the controller of the Universe. The latter is likely to make you intolerant of those without that preference, and emotionally unstable and self destructive when that preference cannot be met. The person with severe OCD who cannot psychologically cope and gets angry with those towels not being just a certain way is similar to the religionist who thinks God wants various things a certain way. And we justifiably view the severe OCD person as being psychologically unhealthy, but they aren't even as unhealthy as the religionist, b/c most OCD people are aware that their preferences are irrational even if they cannot control their compulsion to enact them.

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