Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


Control Beliefs

You have met Charlie. If you start off believing he is shifty and bad that will affect how you interpret what he does and says. You will think you have wonderful evidence that he is indeed shifty and bad. If you start off liking him you will take a different interpretation of the evidence and see him as likeable and decent. Your beliefs affect how you see things.

A control belief controls and co-ordinates how you look at the evidence and how you interpret it. Jack the Ripper authors always start with who they believe the Ripper to be and then they interpret the evidence to fit their belief.

A control belief can be conscious or unconscious. You may not be aware of how you treat something as probably true.

If your control belief is that the Mormon Faith is the true faith, you will end up explaining the evidence against it away. This technique is so unscientific and misleading and arrogant. It is the reason why so many religious people still support their faith after finding evidence or even proof that it is wrong.

It only takes a tiny number of wrong beliefs or assumptions for one to end up being totally ridiculous. Catholics for example believed that priests were saintly. So they concluded that children accusing them of molesting them were lying or the devil was playing tricks. A simple and single belief led to huge disaster and ignorance. The casualties cannot be counted and never will be.

In court, if you are accused of murder and one witness says you were at the murder site and another says you were not, the control belief that the jury has will determine which witness they believe. It is really the control belief that has the only say ultimately.

A default control belief is the one that you start with. It is the best belief to start off with. We have to avoid excessive bias. We have to be as fair as we can be. We have to be fair to ourselves and to the evidence. Suppose we have adopted no beliefs in relation to an issue. We may have to select one of them automatically. We have to pick one of them. It can't just be any old one. It has to be the one that is going to take the least rationalisation. The default is always the position you should assume or the opinion you should have until it is proven wrong or improbable. The burden of proof is not on you to show that your control beliefs are desirable or right. The burden of proof is on those who contradict your control beliefs.

The correct default positions enable us to make ourselves honest people. If we are not honest with ourselves we must not and cannot ask others to trust us. Religious believers spew hatred towards atheists and agnostics and many scientists because they are jealous that these people exercise an honesty that they don't have.

CONTROL FEELINGS

Not only do we have control beliefs we have control feelings. Feelings also colour how we interpret the data we get. For example, the lover will not believe his beloved girlfriend smothered her grandmother to death to take her life savings because his feelings kick in and stop him seeing the evidence properly.

The control feeling we must have is how great it would be to be more rational. Otherwise we are just slaves to feelings. Our emotions are wired into us. If you feel angry you can't just turn it off with a button. You have to manipulate your inner programming to feel better. Just like you press the right buttons on a computer so you do it with yourself.

CONTROL FAITHS

Belief is a head exercise where you tend to agree with something. A faith position is when you honour somebody else by believing what they say. Its a heart job for it is about connecting to another person as a person.

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF US?

Control beliefs need to be forged with responsibility. That means no lying, no half-truths, no silence that lets lies thrive and no conditioning or indoctrinating. In religious terms, leaving the religion as well as joining it are equally celebrated.

Lastly

Control beliefs would be fine if they were correct. But believing something does not make it true or good. Error risks unwittingly harming and making life hard for others and yourself. We must take care to follow default beliefs or beliefs that are well supported. We need to be open to correction and new light.