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Religion For discussion about different religions and belief structures - Please be respectful of other's beliefs

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Old March 18th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #1
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Polarized Beliefs

So I'm sitting in my brain and behavior class and we're talking about beliefs. It's been found that people who are polarized in their beliefs, if argued against, they will become even more devoted to those beliefs and are more likely to reject future information that goes against those beliefs.

Basically as an atheist arguing against someone who is religious, according to these studies, all I'm doing is strengthening their religious beliefs.

Thought that was pretty interesting.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 04:53 PM   #2
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This is actually a big thing that a skeptic has to deal with, especially for our own beliefs. We all have a natural inclination for confirmation bias. We quickly reject that which we don't agree with and quickly support anything that matches our position. The beauty of the human mind.

There's also an element of wanting to defend our beliefs. There are plenty of cases where professors and very intelligent people remain stubborn just because they don't want to admit that they were wrong. If you enter a debate with the intent of defending a possession, you usually just look for evidence that supports you. I've noticed myself doing this at times. You have to actively watch your own train of thought to sort this out.

In the same way, arguing against someone usually just encourages them to dig in harder. For the religious (especially for Christians) there seems to be a real desire to play the victim. Religions in general thrive and form a strong group of core believers when faced with challengers.

That said, when I generally argue against anything (crazy political theory, conspiracy theory, religious theory, etc.) I'm not doing it for the person I'm debating with. They're usually too far gone. They will only come around when they feel like it or when their mind snaps back into place after a good discussion.

Debates, especially those on forums, are usually for those on the margin. Skeptics win by showing the holes in religious arguments and presenting the other side to onlookers who really do want to know both sides of the story.

Just my 2 cents though.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 07:46 PM   #3
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True, I feel like it's all too often a losing battle and that no one ever wins. It is beyond frustrating when you try and point out blatant flaws in a belief only to have it shaken off or argued against illogically.

I mean, during an argument I can see being defensive, I know I am. But later I reflect back on what they say and actually think about it rather than just shake it off and blindly stick to my guns.

I've never talked to someone who was on the verge of becoming religious or atheist. From what I've seen it's either one or the other, or you're in the middle (agnostic) and really don't care either way. Of course this could be because I usually do all my debating online and well, probably the only people who are going to debate are ones that are passionate about one side or the other.

Haha, it's funny, a lot of the times the onlookers who want to know both sides will ask a question, but by the end of it, it's such a heated debate that there probably is very little useful information.
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