Sunday, September 22, 2013

Religion and Residual Emotional Memory Distortion.

There are many examples of the way religion influences our thinking in other aspects of our lives. The most important being that we often take many things for granted, which I call Faith Conditioning. Growing up as a Christian I was conditioned to associate feelings of shame with doubting or questioning the Bible. We have all heard of Doubting Thomas, right?

We learned from the Iraq War in 2003 that we are all susceptible to the fact that a lie (Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq) can be eventually accepted as truth if the lie is repeated often enough. This is especially effective just prior to an election, where voting is an annoying, time-consuming task away from work, for which you wait in long lines. By the time you vote, your feet and your head hurt, and you must go to the bathroom. (This is why I love Washington State because we vote through the mail and receive complete information about our candidates.) In Illinois, my polling place was at a Catholic school during a work day.

Memory distortions

There are two parts to our memory, the details of the event, and the emotional context of the event. As time goes on, certain portions of what we remember fade faster than others. (This may not be true for many people, but it is for me) The most important connections between the details and the emotions we remember from an event are 'who' and 'where.' The 'what' portion of the memory for many fades away first.

As a survival mechanism of Natural Selection, we most strongly remember the location of a bad and good experiences, and what or who was the protagonist or antagonist of that experience. We learned to stay out of certain predator territories and go where we found food. Here is a more current example of this conditioning with not-so-good consequences:

In school you might be hanging out in a small group. Let's imagine that you're just one of the members of the group, but not part of the inner circle. Imagine that the leader of the group singled-out another person off in the distance, perhaps on the other side of the cafeteria, and made fun of that person, not openly, but quietly telling only you and your other members jokes so the target person can't hear.

You don't know that person, but you laugh at the jokes because they are genuinely funny. But, laughing at the jokes makes you feel uncomfortable and somewhat guilty. The jokes were a one-time event and they are forgotten by the end of that day.

Now, one or two weeks go by and you don't see the target person, then one day you are partnered up with that person on an assignment. You likely will feel hate toward that person, but if you stop and think about why you hate that person, you may be one of the lucky few who can remember that someone else told a joke, and you felt guilty for laughing at the joke, and every time thereafter you saw that person you felt bad, and because that person made you feel bad every time you saw him or her, you began to inexplicably hate that person for making you feel bad.

This dysfunction of memory is one of the fundamental building blocks of propaganda that keeps groups focusing trust inward, and paranoia outward, resulting in separatism, bloody religious conflicts, a distorted sense of entitlement, irrational self-destructive sacrifices of quality in favor of affiliation, such as cronyism, nepotism, political or religious patronage.

Always take the time to stop and ask yourself why you feel the way you do about things and people, and let Reason be your guide.

Did that person really do something to you personally?
Who exactly is responsible for why you feel they way you do about people you don't really know?
Do you really hate someone, or do you hate the way that person reminds you of your own problems?
Are you really being personally attacked because of your beliefs, or is someone trying to help you escape from an irrational way of thinking?

The myth of a separate church and state

The idea that religion is separate from politics is a lie. You can argue that it exists but that's not how human behavior works with regard to seeking affinity, seeking validation, operant conditioning, among many psychological scientific finding.

Just because someone thinks that political parties can have members from different religions is false propaganda designed to make religious influence on politics appear innocuous. Political party affiliation has always been in name only. Why?

Territories or congressional districts dominated by one religion or another find regulatory easement for their religious symbols and privileges on property supported by taxes paid by citizens who are not members of their religion. This fact alone debases the value of political parties such as Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, etc., as utter deceptions against the people.

Support of political parties must be immediately terminated until political parties openly admit that their policies are influenced directly by the policies of the religion that has the highest membership in the political party.

All political parties must submit for public view the exact numbers of its members affiliated with each religion.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Choosing your battles

Steve Shives recently posted a new 5 Stupid Things episode about YouTube (06:20) and raised a point about "Comment Wars" about trivial disagreements and "Drama" where YouTubers get bogged down in distracting diatribes about other YouTubers.

This raised some general questions about how much energy we spend broadcasting our points and exercising our debate skills. The Bible has been thoroughly debunked and science prevails, yet the religious keep coming at us with the same unswerving thoroughly debunked claims. Which of these are actually seeking a perspective and which are simply wasting our time?

Some of us love a good argument we already know we will win. Science is like that because it has evidence. What is stopping us atheists from simply ignoring religious claims and not participating in further debate is the danger religion poses to the education of children. Atheists must defend science against the relentless ignorance, bigotry, bullying and violence of religion.

Unfortunately from my perspective most of the battlefields are being chosen by the religious. I continuously see trolling in social media where it's easy to get lured into a time-consuming debate in the comments.

What many don't seem to realize is the people we need to reach are not here in our little enclave on the Internet. Each community, page, circle, group, or whathaveyou is a bubble composed of a material completely invisible to everyone except those who know the correct search words to find it, and is populated by members who are already fully aligned with Reason.

There are too few examples of heroic public efforts to spread atheism in the real public sphere, and here is a really good start: AaronRa (Communicating Atheism)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Religion and Science Together? Really?

To be an Atheist is not only about rejecting theology, it’s a rejection of all the magical, irrational reasoning that goes along with it; all the magical, irrational reasoning that is applied to defining words in our dictionaries and subconscious psychological barriers that prevent us from making accurate scientific conclusions in research.

Religion has led us to accept ideas without thinking about them, such as the existence of a soul, (which was never proved,) and especially leading us to have expectations about the behavior or other people that put ourselves at risk of being duped or worse.

I recently heard that science and religion are working well together. This claim was not backed up by any evidence. I refute this claim and supply no evidence of my own because the burden of proof lies only with the claimant.

Religion only offers common sense derived from simple empathy, stolen repackaged laws and philosophy from other ancient cultures. The historical accounts in the Bible provide sparse and mostly inconclusive comparisons to other archaeological records. Most artifacts are found to be counterfeit when complete analysis is allowed.

The notion that religion in any way contributes to science is ridiculous. It barely if at all contributes to an accurate account of history. One who attempts association between religion and science should be aware that one is discrediting one’s self.