Showing posts with label psychology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label psychology. Show all posts

Reasonable Doubt About the Problem of Evil/Needless Suffering As A Test


This article builds on the argument that the Problem of Evil/Needless suffering is caused by the process of Creation initiated in the article Resolved! God Caused The Problem Of Evil/Needless Suffering. (I should point out that "the process of creation" is a euphemism I am using for "Chance". With or without a God, Stuff Happens.) Its conclusion is that if the Problem of Evil is a Test, then there should be no biological bases for handling stress or decision making, it should all be a mysterious function of the soul and there should be no biological price to pay for it.

The problem of evil/needless suffering causes harmful stress. People are poorly 'designed' to handle stress and it negatively affects their decision making in some cases creating a negative feedback loop of decisions and consequences. People have varying degrees of stress tolerance. I have seen some people come unglued for what I consider to be nothing. I know people with Bi-Polar disorder and I spend quite a bit of time every week calming a person that has panic attacks because he/she dreads going to work. Two people in my family committed suicide, and a third was believed to be suicidal and they were all three Christians. Why would Christians commit suicide? If Christianity is true, it doesn't follow. But don't take my word that situations cause harmful stress in people, at the bottom of the article there are some lists I got from the Mayo Clinic.

The PoE causes harm to the subject of the test and can actually break them. If the PoE were actually a test, this variable should be controlled for. We should be more robust or equally robust in handling stress.

God won't give us anything we can't handle? It makes sense, and that's what I was always told. God is a strong tower. If someone can't handle it, its their fault, not praying hard enough, not living right, not waiting long enough, not humble enough, not patient enough, whatever excuse in the world could be thought up to put the blame on the person. The fact is that God won't give us more than we can handle because he doesn't have anything to do with it. He's not there. Christians get more than they can handle all the time. Sometimes with tragic consequences.

I think I stopped believing in God on Sept. 11, 2001 when I heard the newscasters say "we have reports that people are jumping out the windows of the towers, presumably to avoid being burned alive". If I had been on the towers on Sep. 11, instead of watching it on TV, and looked out the window and felt the fire behind me and had to make a decision of how I wanted to die, pain for a second or pain for some minutes, I probably would have lost my faith then too. If not before I jumped, then probably on the way down as I realized that I really was going to hit the ground and that the last most important prayer in my life was not going to be answered. I would have prayed that if I can't float down like a feather, then at least take me before I hit. Would I have gone to hell for losing my faith? Or maybe from committing suicide? Would the last act of my life have been a sin? Am I going to go to hell now because I empathized so much with those people that I don't believe that God could have anything to do with any of it or because this situation doesn't support my belief that the God of the Bible would not allow someone to be put in this situation? What would Jesus do? What did Jesus do? What was Jesus thinking?

My "Belief Balance" tipped the other way that day.

I hear it from Christians all the time "Why this and Why that?" "This must be some type of punishment." etc. A key concept in punishment is rehabilitation and without that aspect punishment doesn't make sense. If punishment without rehabilitation is the goal then it is more like revenge. If there can be no rehabilitation then the offender should be removed from society, and at that point, logically, it doesn't matter if they live in a prison or a luxury hotel. There is no evidence of a principle of rehabilitation in the doctrine of Hell, just retribution.

If the problem of Evil is a test, why is it so inequitable? Why do some people get born in impoverished unstable countries to struggle their whole life and others a born relatively affluent and hardly have much to complain about? It just doesn't make sense. It seems to be more a result of chance. Why are some people more able to handle stress than others? Why does stress break some people and it doesn't break others? Why are there biological bases of stress tolerance rather than a function of this mystical soul we are supposed to have and be punished or rewarded with. It seems to be more a result of chance. If the Problem of Evil is a Test, then there should be no biological bases for handling stress, it should all be a mysterious function of the soul.

When we feel stress we feel uncomfortable. We naturally want to feel better. I assert that all of our motivations are initiated from a desire to feel good rather than anything spiritual or moral. The 'spirituality' and 'morality' are the self-justifications that follow to help us maintain that feeling.

Some symptoms of stress and effects on our bodies are as follows. These lists were taken from The Mayo Clinic Website but it left some things out such as schizophrenia and multiple-personality disorder.

On your body
* Headache
* Chest pain
* Pounding heart
* High blood pressure
* Shortness of breath
* Muscle aches
* Back pain
* Clenched jaws
* Tooth grinding
* Stomach upset
* Constipation
* Diarrhea
* Increased sweating
* Tiredness
* Sleep problems
* Weight gain or loss
* Sex problems
* Skin breakouts

On your thoughts and feelings
* Anxiety
* Restlessness
* Worrying
* Irritability
* Depression
* Sadness
* Anger
* Mood swings
* Job dissatisfaction
* Feeling insecure
* Confusion
* Burnout
* Forgetfulness
* Resentment
* Guilt
* Inability to concentrate
* Seeing only the negatives

On your behavior
* Overeating
* Undereating
* Angry outbursts
* Drug abuse
* Excessive drinking
* Increased smoking
* Social withdrawal
* Crying spells
* Relationship conflicts
* Decreased productivity
* Blaming others

People Can't Choose To Believe, Therefore Christianity is False.


The Following is a contribution from The Dude in the Atheist RFC for Empirical Evidence... I think it is brilliant.

Christian salvation doctrine clearly stated in the bible dictates that in addition to good deeds, a "saved" follower must, above all else, choose to believe with no doubts. If one does not utilize the "free will" given to him by god and choose to believe, they will be banished to an eternity of hellish suffering upon death. No amount of good deeds over a lifetime will save a person if they do not choose to believe in the biblical god/Jesus.

The problem with this biblically-stated doctrine is that humans are naturally unable to choose to believe in anything, as belief is the result of biochemical/neurological processing of evidence in the human mind, and how information is processed is biologically unique to every individual. The way an individual processes information is absolutely out of their control - one cannot simply choose to accept evidence, it must be processed and evaluated by the brain, and the result of this processing is either non-belief or belief. Humans are born with specific genetic tendencies beyond their control that dictate how to process information, which can then nurtured or suppressed based on outside factors such as parenting, education, social influences - all of which are not within the control of the individual.

With this premise laid forth, the biblical requirement for salvation based on choosing to believe goes out the window, and thus in my mind dismisses the entire doctrine as jibberish.

Solomon Asch Conformity Experiments


Watch YouTube Video
This article is intended to show how people will conform to peer pressure against their own convictions and in what conditions. It is relevant to the influence exerted in the church community among its members. There is significant pressure in the church to prevent the expression of doubt or critical questioning of the properties of the religion. People would rather conform than go against the group. Since people are evolutionarily tuned to be social animals, the perceived benefit of belonging to the group should outweigh the benefit of dissension. I am grateful to Matthew, one of our readers, for submitting this and his kind sentiment. Click on the Link above to show a short video documentary on them. Click on the Link below to read a short summary from Wikipedia.

From Wikipedia
Solomon Asch "became famous in the 1950s, following experiments which showed that social pressure can make a person say something that is obviously incorrect.

The way he did this was through an experiment in which participants were shown a card with a line on it, followed by another card with 3 lines on it labeled a, b, and c. The participants were then asked to say which line matched the line on the first card. At first, the subject would feel very at ease in the experiment, as he and the other participants gave the obvious answer. Shortly after, the "participants" in front of the subject would start all giving the same wrong answer. Solomon Asch thought that the majority of people would not conform to something obviously wrong, but the results showed that an alarming number of participants gave the wrong answer. See Asch Conformity Experiments"


Debunking Christianity
The Role of Persuasion and Cognitive Bias In Your Church
The Role of Persuasion in the Question of The Holy Spirit
Suspension of Disbelief
All Lee's Persuasion Articles

Solomon Asch
Asch Conformity Experiments

Asch Conformity Experiments Video from YouTube

Negativity Is Contagious, Study Finds


This is relevant to the role of persuasion and influence in the church community as an impediment to free-will.
This study supports other studies where people are influenced by the group to change their opinion.

In this study researches found that they could predictively influence the opinions of subjects by showing them information about the opinions of their peers. It is so effective that it could be used in marketing by competitors by going online and trash talking a product to influence consumers against it.

REFERENCE Mind and Brain