Is literalist fundamentalism a product of compromised inductive reasoning?
Posted: 06 June 2017 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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As an ex-fundie who is also a mathematician I believe literalist fundamentalism is really just one step away from irreligion. That one step is inductive reasoning. Literalist fundamentalism is about assuming that a particular set of Scriptures as being correct as axioms and then everything else should come from these axioms alone. That’s roughly deductive reasoning, similar to what we do in mathematics. However in real life we also need to use inductive reasoning. The key flaw of literalist fundamentalism is that even if fundies can somehow make Scriptures logically consistent they can not justify their reliance on their Scriptures to begin with. We can not simply assume that an arbitrary set of axioms (i.e. The earth is a rabbit and Americas is an ear of the rabbit) is true to understand anything in science which is exactly what literalist fundamentalists do.

I don’t have any training in philosophy (I do math and did some chemistry and electrical engineering in the past) so I might be wrong. I’m more than willing to be corrected if this is the case.grin

[ Edited: 06 June 2017 09:14 AM by MAMathDude ]
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Posted: 06 June 2017 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think you are on to something there. In practice, I have noticed that the fundamentalist is more likely to take the leap to irreligion. They are held there mostly by community and by their own willingness to avoid questions. This is why fundie parents don’t like sending their kids to secular colleges, both of those are easily dealt with. Someone more liberal however, has already questioned beliefs and replaced them with new, more complicated explanations of what god is. As Ryan Bell described, he made a box called “god” and figured out to fit things in there, homosexuality, creation of the universe, etc. Then he slowly realized that everything modern and scientific was now in the box and he was just calling it god. The box was no longer needed. But that took many steps, a much slower process.

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Posted: 06 June 2017 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I was a fun die for a couple of years in my youth, and you nailed my thought process. I studied the Bible searching for answers and found contradictions, horrors, and obvious falsehoods. One of my friends challenged me to read Darwin, and I found the answers I had been seeking. Science and philosophy are far from perfect and can never provide absolute answers, but at least they are grounded in reality. Religious fundamentalism is just a form of begging the question.

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You cannot have a rational discussion with someone who holds irrational beliefs.

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Posted: 06 June 2017 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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DarronS - 06 June 2017 10:27 AM

I was a fun die for a couple of years in my youth, and you nailed my thought process. I studied the Bible searching for answers and found contradictions, horrors, and obvious falsehoods. One of my friends challenged me to read Darwin, and I found the answers I had been seeking. Science and philosophy are far from perfect and can never provide absolute answers, but at least they are grounded in reality. Religious fundamentalism is just a form of begging the question.

I was a fundie for 3-4 years and know how much harm it does. I wasn’t born into this insanity. However I got into it due to lack of inductive reasoning and lack of knowledge that voices in my head don’t come from deities (agent detection issues).

I’m not sure whether my ideas are correct. I believe non-literalists are harder to deconvert for several reasons. One reason is that they are often less religious and do not actually experience the worst parts of the faith. I personally knew people whose spouse died because of faith healing and people who gave away all their belongings for the sake of imitating early Christians. As for myself I lost at least thousands of dollars due to religion and got seriously harmed psychologically. Another reason is that those who don’t detect or care about contradictions between cultural religious practices and the religious texts aren’t likely to detect or care about irrationality in their own religions. Those who don’t care about the fact that Christmas was originally a Roman polytheist festival and hence has no place in Biblical Christianity is unlikely to care about the fact that Young Earth Creationism is implausible and hence Judeo-Christianity is itself unlikely to be correct. Literalist fundies are usually more intellectual than the average believer and suffer from the worst excesses of religion so they are relatively easy to deconvert.

Before I deconverted I really wished atheism is correct. The Abrahamic God is so harsh that you would have wished that you were never born if he actually existed. Basically the Bible itself has some rules. According to fundies if you break any of them without repenting from it you go to hell. Almost everyone goes to hell. What’s worse is that sometimes fundies have visions about hell and claim that there are even new, more obscure reasons why people go to hell that can not be derived from the Bible such as loving soccer because soccer is supposedly a deity (WTH?). These visions contradict each other and the path out of hell, if it ever exists, is unclear in fundamentalism. Basically if you don’t do exceptionally well you will definitely go to hell. If you really do well maybe you will still go to hell for some absurd reason you have never heard of. Assuming that AG exists it is probably still a reasonable strategy to ignore all he says and go to hell if AG does not give us a final set of rules that are really clear. At least a regular human enjoyed the life on earth more than a fundie who worries about hell every day and still end up there for some weird reasons.

What’s even worse than literalist fundamentalism is spiritual fundamentalism. I really can not endure these Pentacostals. Really. They are so devoid of rationality that they can believe in…anything. Like the claim that KJV is more accurate than Hebrew Tanakh or Greek NT. How irrational do you need to be to believe in the claim that no original work can ever be better than an ancient English translation? Does that even make any sense at all? Yeah and sugar is demonic. What?

[ Edited: 06 June 2017 11:08 AM by MAMathDude ]
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Posted: 06 June 2017 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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By way of contrast, I was liberal Christian, allowed to question the Bible during adult Bible study. One of the first nails in the coffin was Joseph Campbell, who showed how to interpret it all as myth. I was kinda doing that, but didn’t look at the bigger picture. Then I read “50 Voices of Disbelief”, many of them were horror stories of being raised fundamentalist, something I hadn’t experienced. That put a big hole in the “what’s wrong with believing something if it gives you comfort” argument.

It took a while, but I saw how my belief, no matter how benign, supported the fundamentalist belief. It legitimizes it and provides cover for it.

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Posted: 06 June 2017 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Lausten - 06 June 2017 02:36 PM

By way of contrast, I was liberal Christian, allowed to question the Bible during adult Bible study. One of the first nails in the coffin was Joseph Campbell, who showed how to interpret it all as myth. I was kinda doing that, but didn’t look at the bigger picture. Then I read “50 Voices of Disbelief”, many of them were horror stories of being raised fundamentalist, something I hadn’t experienced. That put a big hole in the “what’s wrong with believing something if it gives you comfort” argument.

It took a while, but I saw how my belief, no matter how benign, supported the fundamentalist belief. It legitimizes it and provides cover for it.

That’s good for you! grin

Yeah for me it’s the opposite. Discoveries first led me out of regular Christianity and into Hebrew Roots because Gentile Christianity contradicts strict laws in the Tanakh. Then I became a fervent anti-Trinitarian adoptionist Messianic Jew. Finally a non-Pauline Messianic Jew / neo-Ebionite. I was actually comfortable with all of these because they are more intellectual than regular Christianity. It was strict but fun. Back then I didn’t realize that voices in my head aren’t from any deity and mistakenly believed that I was some sort of prophet. Later what the voices “prophesized” did not come true but instead it sounds like the voices were basically my own thoughts because they did not include anything I did not know other than random guesses. The voices tried to predict politics in Christian Africa and they miserably failed. The voices predicted that Assyria would be a nation (because of a Biblical prophesy few people other than Assyrians themselves and me noticed) within 20 years but Assyria does not look like it will happen. The voices predicted back in 2014 that Burma and Bangladesh would descend into a devastating Buddhism vs Islam war by 2015 with more than 100,000 died. OK now it is 2017 and the countries aren’t fighting. LOL. The voices apparently did not even know that Tausus is in Turkey, not Syria (the place in Syria with a similar name is called Tartus which the voices and I identified with the Biblical Tausus).

After recovering from the voices I got attracted by the Pentacostals. They are just irrational and crazy people who completely destroyed any love I had for AG. It was so oppressive that I wish I were never born (Come on, who wants to be born so that he/she can casted into that stupid place of torture, I mean hell). When I was poisoned by that nonsense I just wish that there could be a place other than heaven or hell, like a grassland neither AG nor Satan cares about for me to do my math and enjoy my simple life.

Finally I left. grin I’m free.

Here are my comments:
1.Schools really need to teach reasoning. Deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning and abductive reasoning. A person who only knows deductive reasoning can be a great mathematician or a computer scientist but without proper inductive reasoning skills he/she is always vulnerable to fundamentalism and other forms of dangerous nonsense.
2.The love of science is good. Religion never took away my love of science even when I was deeply poisoned by fundamentalism. Hence I was never comfortable with these stupid and irrational claims Pentacostals and other spiritual fundies talked about.
3.We need to have a database of spiritual and supernatural claims and whether they come true. There are enough “prophets” who prophesize almost everything we can think of, such as a large part of Eastern US would be destroyed by a flood due to divine anger by the end of 2014. (Yeah I can give you links from that amusing “prophet”).

[ Edited: 06 June 2017 03:11 PM by MAMathDude ]
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