Re: Self-deception, faith, and scepticism

From: <>
Date: Tue Feb 14 2006 - 15:45:26 EST

Quoting Iain Strachan <>:

> The point is that in order to cope with life, we all have to indulge in some
> form of what might be self-deception. To an atheist, religion is
> self-deception - to us believers, we cannot say it's self deception because
> we believe it is the truth - though we don't have a shred of scientific
> evidence to prove it, despite what creationists and ID'ers would have us
> believe.

I would strengthen the 'cannot' as much as possible -- "must not?". It's easy
enough to indulge in self-deceptions when little is on the line. I can easily
enough say I believe in God if I think I gain by doing so. But can you imagine
how flimsy that would be if I lived in a country where I and my family were
jeopardized by such a belief? If my real self suspected this was a
self-deception, then my real self would quickly dominate and the false "belief"
would quickly crumble.

Once somebody fancies that they managed to peek behind the curtain at the great
Oz, they will never regard him in the same way as they did before. This seems
to be how many anthropologists and intellectuals today regard religion. But I
think the more honest ones will admit they haven't really looked behind the
significant curtain -- and most of us doubt that such a thing would be possible

I concur, Iaian, that nothing we can present will be compelling to a determined
atheist (or vice versa). If God himself descended and gave an audience to a
determined atheist, the latter would afterwards immediately set about trying to
discover the cause of his hallucinations. He would be sure of a physical
(non-theological) explanation for his apparent sensory experience. And if God
did something even more impressive like relocating Pikes peak into the pacific,
making a new island somewhere, then the efforts to determine the causes of this
dramatic event would immediately be the focus of a new investigation. And as
Keith has noted in his posts, such causes would still be assumed to exist even
if they had not yet been discovered.

Received on Tue Feb 14 15:45:45 2006

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