A Crossroad

My posts seem to cause discomfort to believing family and friends. I suspect they experience a combination of confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, and the backfire effect. This is a deadly combination and they’ve mostly tuned me out.

A change is in order on my part.

My crossroad.

Critical thought

Traditionally, critical thinking has been variously defined as follows: ‘The process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion.’ ‘Disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.‘” – dictionary definition

“Indoctrination often refers to religious ideas, when you’re talking about a religious environment that doesn’t let you question or criticize those beliefs. The Latin word for ‘teach,’ doctrina is the root of indoctrinate, and originally that’s just what it meant. By the 1830s it came to mean the act of forcing ideas and opinions on someone who isn’t allowed to question them.” – dictionary definition

Is there any reason to not think indoctrination, particularly religious indoctrination, can damage the ability to think rationally? Is there any wonder many studies indicate the religious are slightly less intelligent than the nonreligious?

No, I’m not saying the religious are stupid. Not at all! The difference might be so small that it’s compensated for by a margin of error, but 83 studies? It does bear further investigation. Some, um, er, critical thought? Maybe?

Recently I had a series of conversations with a believer. It was completely unfruitful. This believer redefined words to support belief and refused to consider factual evidence or to employ reason.

Conversations with believing family members result similarly. Evidence is ignored or redefined in manners more conciliatory to belief. The indoctrination runs deep.

I left belief after a 14 month reading project. Going from Mormon to atheist was a rapid progression. However, getting to that reading project took a bit over 58 years.

Indoctrination.

But, now atheist, have I actually “wised up”? Hmmmmm…

That remains to be seen!


In conjunction with my post, you might also wish to read a post I just read by an atheist friend of mine here. My post and his go hand in hand. He’s a much better writer than I. I have much to learn.