(Failing to) understand the religious mindset

Never having been religious, nor indoctrinated with any sort of religion, I freely admit that I do not understand the religious mindset. I do not understand how people accept the notion of faith as being some sort of virtue, of making some sort of sense. I do not understand how religious people think the things which they think without the (to me, obvious) reasons for doubting and rejecting these ideas causing them to involuntarily doubt and reject these ideas. It doesn’t make much sense to me at all. I look at these religions, and the people involved, and at things like scientology, and am forced to chalk it up to the power of childhood indoctrination, peer pressure, brainwashing, etc.

But, today, I saw a video on youtube which kind of helps me understand it a little bit better… but only a little bit, though even that is some feat, considering how hard I’ve been looking into this over the last few years.

Check it out, from youtube user “freetaught”, a video entitled “Lonely Road towards Atheism” (not sure how long this will be up on youtube, as freetaught mentions he might take it down after a bit.)

Pretty good video, pretty interesting. Still don’t really understand how religious people think, but this makes it, if not understandable, a bit easier to be be more empathatic.

I know I’m apt to go off on theists like a loaded flintlock in a tornado of fire around here, and I’ll probably continue to do that, since a bad argument is a bad argument, but I do try to understand where they’re coming from, and how they can possibly be coming from such a weird place. Well, the video has more to say than I do, so you should probably leave comments there, unless it’s specifically about something which I wrote. Here’s the youtube URL.

~ by scaryreasoner on May 16, 2008.

4 Responses to “(Failing to) understand the religious mindset”

  1. I’m thinkin’ you had really good parents.

  2. The religious mindset? Sounds pretty monolithic. We religious people are a rather large and diverse lot. What leads you to believe that there’s one “religious mindset?”

  3. What leads me to think there’s one religious mindset? Listening to, and reading the writings of thousands of theists, and ex-theists, that’s what.

  4. My whole family are atheists, so I never used to get it, either. But I was interested in religious history, mythology and politics, so I ended up studying Islam, Christianity and Judaism at uni. Just for kicks, I started hanging out on a Christian webforum, and generally chatting to my religious friends (a fair few, because I spent three years at an Anglican school). Long story short: I think I’ve come to a decent understanding of faith, why people trust in what they do, and I understand the history and varied interpretations of scripture quite well. I still don’t agree with any of it, but once I got down to the bones of the argument, it did make me re-examine my own beliefs, what ideas I trusted implicitly (or had faith in), and why my moral code is how it is. Which was fun, and interesting, and useful, and made quite a large segement of the general population seem significantly less insane.

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