Why do intelligent People Still Believe in Religion? Part 30: No one thinks they are evil

Uploaded by anubis2814 on 16.01.2011

What makes a good person. What makes a bad person? Its a philisophical question that
has been debated.since the beginning of humanity. It is what you believe? Is it what you intend
to do? Is it what you actually do regardless of your intent? This has been debated strongly
for many millenia, but one thing everyone can agree on is “I am not a bad person.”
Evil is something bad. No one will let their brains think they are bad, unless they have
some anti-social ideal and get a thrill out of being evil. These people are extremely
rare. Everyone has an image of themselves, this
image is everything they hold to be good. Because they have this ideal they believe
themselves to be good. Because of this ideal many people have an idealistic confirmation
bias that they live up to their ideal person even if they do the exact opposite and act
hypocritically. Evidence of this bias is backed up by the study that 93% of people believe
they are above average, which is mathematically impossible. Part of being skeptical and thinking
scientifically is to attempt to overcome our natural biases and see if our ideals actually
fit the reality. Unfortunately, anytime we wake up and realize that our idea self does
not actually match our real self, we then have what is called cognative dissonance.
This causes us a lot of stress and grief and makes us feel like crap so the worse a person
is, the more they have at stake to keep their biases in place. Being good at lying also
means being good at lying to yourself so that you don't have to look at what you've done.
If you have done something horrible, your brain resists and locks up because realizing
that you truly were a horrible person and did something horrible would be detrimental
to your sanity. Your brain couldn't effectively deal with that concept. Being good is accepted
by society and being bad means the ultimate rejection by society. In fact society is what
defines good. In small tribes, they all developed what was good over a period of time. Things
like don't kill each other, or don't steal from each other were good, because no one
wanted that to happen to them. However their good didn't often extend beyond their tribe.
These other people with other ideas of good were evil because they agreed on different
things being good. Therefore killing these evil people was now good and brought you acceptance.
As conquering made possible by agriculture picked up, a larger block of people now had
to work together. Kings and lords made the definition of good. If their good went too
far from the majorities idea of good then they had rebellion. If they could do what
the majority decided was evil but make it appear good and use their own perceptions
against them then they could do whatever they wanted until they slacked off and got caught.
Many decided that believing in their religion and following it was good. Many others did
not agree. Why freedom of religion came into such demand because no one could agree that
belief in something empirically good, other than the people in those beliefs made you
good. They did however figure out what they all agreed on and from there we got laws.
Unfortunately many people use their belief in their religion as an instant measure of
whether or not they are good and they give themselves a free pass, especially if they
can just ask forgiveness from their diety. That doesn't fix the problem or help the other
person they hurt or inconvenienced, it just made them feel better and restored their biased
opinion of themselves. The “This belief makes me good” mindset just re-enforces
ones natural bias to assume they are good. An example of this form of cognative dissonnance
is best shown when you watch a video of yourself and you don't know you are recorded. I have
an image of myself in my head, its pretty cool, intelligent, whimsical and an obvious
genius much like the doctor. When you see me on camera right now its how I see myself,
its prepared and an act. However the rare times I get video taped it always embarrasses
me. There is footage of me at the Columbus youtube gathering. You can clearly tell I
have some sort of social condition. I move awkwardly, I laugh awkwardly, and I talk awkwardly.
Mind you this behavior usually only shows up when I'm in a group and my aspergers is
pushed pretty hard. It was a lot of fun so I never felt overwhelmed. But it hurts to
watch. Everyone else knows this me, they don't know the image I have of me. They still like
me, but I don't like me. My brain tries to tell me that that is someone else, no one
that weird and awkward is as cool as me. But it is me, the me I don't see but everyone
else does that interacts with me. I can either learn from it, or I can live in denile, for
a period of time I have do a mix of both because I have to analyze and practice changes which
is a lot of work.. This new perspective on yourself can shatter your confidence in yourself,
so your brain uses denile and mental gymnastics to eliminate that cognative dissonance.
You talk to an Abrahamic monotheist about their god, you ask them what it means to be
good, and they have a pretty standard definition for the most part. Then you bring up things
about their god and they will immediately rush to his defence and rationalize why he
is so good. Why because on top of the normal stuff we all agree on, a belief in god is
also equally considered good even if they couldn't be further from each other. Their
idea of god clashes with the god in the bible or Quran so they have to
This mindset is similar to the idea one has for their significant other. They have an
image of their lover that may be very different from how this person really is. Part of the
cerebral cortex is deactivated when they see or think about this person to is known for
critical thinking. They will not logically analyze their idea of their lover. When their
idea of their lover and the actual lover collide it can cause huge cognative dissonance. This
is why battered spouces stay with and defend their abusive spouce as this person who I
love couldn't possible be bad its an A=not A statement. In their brain it is a logical
impossiblity. Many times people have such messed up ideas
of good that they can do horrible things and die thinking they did the right thing. Hitler,
as far as we can tell, truly believed he was doing the lords work, and completely believed
that jews were evil. He believed that the science was there to show that people were
less than whites. When he called the genocide of the “lesser races”, he truly thought
he was doing the right thing. He probably had a twinge of guilt and regret but rationalized
it as similar to the guilt and regret you get from having to put a sick old dog down
because its miserable and in pain. After a little while you get accustomed to doing it
without guilt. Hitler died believing himself to be a good man while millions were kills
or starved so he could feel good. There is a major reason why power is so addictive.
You now have power to be free of criticism. Or you get such extreme opposing criticism
you learn to ignore it. Unlike the rest of the world that gets called on anything they
may do that is wrong, a person in power can use their power to silence criticism and allow
themselves to life in a fantasy of their image instead of being reminded on occasion that
they aren't living up to their ideal. George Bush believed himself to be completely different
than how his actions played out. This is called the political bubble that makes politicians seem disconnected from the rest
of us. Even Obama has it now to some extent and seems to be a bit disconnected from the
reality and is no where near as sharp a tactician when it comes to public opinion as he used
to be. This bubble is caused by adoring fans telling him that he is everything you are
biased naturally about yourself. You also get a god-like ambiance that while you may
be open to good criticism, no one would dare give it out of reverence. Other than Terry
Jones and Maybe Terry Gilliam, all of the other living members of montey python in my
opinion have suffered from this. I don't find them that funny anymore especially compared
to their genius in their glory days when they had to undergo constant creative conflict
with each other and the BBC. George Lucus was treated like a god as well, unquestioned.
Everyone kissed his ass in the making of the new movies and look what a load of crap it
produced. Living alone for many years why relaxing on
my aspergers, unfortunately solidified my ideal self. One of the few fights we have
had in our 2 years of our relationship involved my gf telling me I was being rude. Rudeness
is bad, and I am NOT bad. She was supposed to agree with me that this girl was just being
an uptight bitch. She wasn't supposed to take the other persons side, She was the bad person.
Especially since my aspergers made me blind to the fact that I probably was being rude.
After enough discussion I am going to assume that she is correct that I was. However when
she took the other girls side I was infuriated. I felt betrayed, I just wanted her to shut
up and go away because she was telling me what I equated with being a bad person. It
was one of several wake up calls I needed to change some of my behavior but when it
first happened it was so unpleasant it was emotionally painful. The truth hurts but it
can set you free, or lock you up in a mental ward. That is why when confronting someone
with the truth that everyone else can obviously see such as “god isn't real” or your boyfriend
is abusive, don't be too offended or angry when they take it as hostility. They need
the initial shock to wake them up, then the time to learn to be honest and skeptical of
their own perceptions. So what is good? Religions don't all agree
on what is good so we can't use that. Philosophy looks like it could work, but the age of armchair
philosophy is reaching its end. Philosophy relies on logic and common sense. Science
has little to do with what we assume as common sense as our perception on the issue is usually
wrong, like the assumption that religion probably keeps more people out of prison. A study was
done and it turned out to be completely opposite to what was common sense. This new marriage
of science and philosophy is a branch called ethics. Religious tell us that science can't
tell us how to live our lives and be good. Well guess what? It can through ethics and
we are overturning ideas we assumed were good for generation.
Ethics is extremely important with the advancement of new technology because much of it is a
brand new way of doing something we have ever been able to do in our entire evolution. On
top of this Globalization mostly through communication is ratcheting up the clashes of morals from
different nations, and only ethics can tell us if one side is correct on an issue or if
maybe they are both right. Globalization has produced an even larger group of people to
decide what is right so we had better have the actual truth and evidence to come up with
a way to help us get along. This globalization is also hurting long standing nationalism.
My country good is no going up against people saying your country bad. The congative dissonance
from this can either cause a person to lash out, or it can cause self reflection and and
go yeah in this situation, my country is bad, I should do something to try and get that
fixed. Nationalism prevents even questioning these things. None of us thinks we are bad
people, none of us is perfect. But if we want to become better people we have to be skeptical
and put up with a bit of cognative dissonance or we will never progress forward.