Human beliefs are fascinating. But often scary. As more time passes since my deconversion, I become further fascinated with human beliefs and their power over us. People have quite the propensity to believe all kinds of shit, and we’ll get very passionate about some very strange things.
I have a list of controversial topics below. Most people have a strongly held view about each item in the list. I too feel strongly about all of them.
I am grateful that in the United States we have freedom of religion and that a person can choose to believe whatever they want. I am willing to defend the rights of others to believe whatever they want, even if I disagree with them. But how a person acts or behaves towards others as a result of their belief — that’s another story. Strongly held beliefs are fine. Hate crimes that arise from strongly held beliefs are not. Intolerance and discrimination is wrong. And misinformation in areas of science and medicine can be deadly, regardless of someone’s strongly held belief.
Correlation? Is there a correlation between strongly held religious belief and agreement with some or all of the following hot topics? I won’t go into detail for each item, but see if you are in agreement with any of the statements below. Count how many you agree with:
- The Chemtrail conspiracy: Our skies are filled with chemtrails (chemical trails).
- Evolution is a lie. We are not descendants of primates.
- Aliens built the pyramids.
- The earth is only 6,000 – 8,000 years old.
- Climate change (global warming) is a hoax, or at the very least, it’s just part of a natural cycle and mankind has not contributed to the problem.
- Tyrannosaurus rex and other dinosaurs lived with humans.
- Vaccines don’t work and/or they are harmful and/or big pharma is just pushing them to make money.
- Ghosts are real. Demons are real too.
- Homosexuality is a choice. It’s a sin and therapy can (and should) be used to fix it.
- Dinosaurs didn’t exist. Any fossils found are either man-made or incorrectly identified.
- Psychics actually have magical powers
- Astrology is real.
- The sun revolves around the earth (not the other way around).
- The earth is flat or hollow.
- The Apollo moon landings were faked.
- The Holocaust didn’t happen.
Do you have strong feelings about the statements above? Do you believe that there’s a strong correlation between religious belief and any of the above? Is it healthy to be skeptical of any unusual claim?
For the record, I disagree with all of the statements above. But I can count 5 from the list that I used to agree with many years ago. The Internet is an amazing tool but a person can find idiots on the net who will support anything and everything.
Speaking of bizarre beliefs, Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright recently discussed their new documentary called “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” on CBS. The documentary includes interviews with several former church members. The author shares that he too is fascinated by human belief, and given the truly bizarre dogma of Scientology, it is both scary and fascinating that we human beings can be so imprisoned by such beliefs.