Emotion Vs. Logic


One of the primary findings of persuasive psychology is that people are tied to their opinions through emotional and/or logical deduction. In other words, people believe that certain concepts are true for emotional and/or logical reasons. Therefore, in order to instill a new belief into an individual, we must remove the existing belief by appealing to people through the exact avenues in which they have derived their beliefs.


Let us consider a hypothetical scenario in which we are entrepreneurs who have just opened a business on the top floor of an old city skyscraper. Everything is set to go, but there's one major problem with which we need to contend. The only business consultant in the entire city refuses to take the elevator to such a high elevation because he has deduced that something tragic could possibly take place at that height.

Since our first impulse is to conclude that the man has a fear of heights, let us first consider that this is in fact the correct scenario. We must now ask ourselves whether this man has a fear of heights for emotional reasons or for logical ones. Barring the presence of a series of tragic events that have taken place while the consultant was in similar structures, it's a fairly safe assumption that the man has a fear based on emotion. This should be nothing new to us because we realize that phobias are typically emotional fears often attributed to isolated events that took place at an impressionable age. The next logical step here is to ask why the consultant is afraid of heights. If he cannot articulate a legitimate reason and relies instead on such explanations as "I just get scared when I look out," we know we have made a safe assumption that the man holds a belief for an emotional reason.

The question now becomes "How do we eliminate this fear?" Should we bring in the experts who built the structure to ensure him that it won't fall? Should we show him the evidence that the building was constructed according to the proper codes? Should we show him the statistics of how unlikely it would be for a tragic event to take place at that height? The answer to all questions presented here is the same. No. Why would such measures fall on deaf ears? The man has an emotional fear of heights, thus we cannot appeal to his senses through pleas of logic. As he's perfectly aware that millions of people go into tall buildings every day and return to the ground unharmed, what good what it do to tell him what he already knows? Instead, we must appeal to his emotion. One such recommendation would be to have the man ascend the building slowly, allow him to look outside on each floor, and let him adjust to his surroundings each time until he feels comfortable progressing up the skyscraper. Such methods are how psychologists often remove unreasonable fears in their patients.

Let us now consider a situation in which the man feels that the building will fall because he believes that old skyscrapers are not as safe as the newer ones. Instead of having an emotional fear, our business consultant has formed what he believes is a logical reason to avoid ascending the building. Do we use the same measure as we did in the previous scenario? Will having him slowly ascend and allowing him to adjust to his surroundings alleviate his fear? No. Why would such measures fall on deaf ears? The man has a logical fear, thus we cannot appeal to his senses through pleas of emotion. We must show him the evidence that the building was constructed according to code. We must bring in the experts who built the structure to ensure him that it won't fall. Such methods are how we appeal to intellect in order to remove unreasonable fears in people.

So, how does this all relate to the subject of debunking Christianity? Religious beliefs, like the beliefs of the consultant, must also be held for emotional or logical reasons. With this in mind, how should we approach the task of deconversion? As before, we must delve into the history of the individual's beliefs to find the place from which they originate. I would be confident that if we undertook this exercise in a large group of people, almost the entire sample would have built their beliefs upon emotional reasons. This is not to say that people can't be Christians for logical reasons. After all, apologists are masterminds at creating logical reasons in the defense of their emotional beliefs; and as they old saying goes, smart people believe dumb things because they're very gifted at coming up with ideas that support their notions. The reason I feel that people build their beliefs upon emotion rather than logic is that the vast majority of people are introduced to the emotional components of Christianity before the logical ones. Such notions as "God is perfect," "Jesus loves you," "Heaven is real," "Hell is a terrible punishment," and "the Bible is sacred" are consistently instilled in children long before they are approached with evidence and data that suggest the fraudulent nature of such claims.

If the conclusion is accurate that religious beliefs are primarily built on emotional reasons, we now know the avenue that we should take to change the incorrect beliefs held by Christians. This discovery, of course, does not destroy the layers of conditioning that one will have to fight through, nor does it remove the individual's propensity to invent absurd justifications to eliminate cognitive dissonance, but it does demonstrate the futility in trying to convince someone that the Gospels are unreliable by utilizing such examples as the disagreement between Matthew and Luke on Jesus' birth in order to reveal its obvious human fallibility. People with emotional ties in this instance will emotionally cling to the Gospels' veracity while their cognitive dissonance is alleviated by apologists' absurd "Quirinius held the office twice" or "Quirinius was a co-governor" explanations.

However, life is rarely as black and white as it can be made in hypothetical scenarios. The people with the most influence over maintaining Christianity are the people with all the answers – the apologists. Upon a large foundation of emotional attachments to the veracity of their religion, they have weaved a tangled web of what they believe are logical defenses for their beliefs. While simply clearing the emotional attachments before destroying the perceived logic in belief may work for common individuals, this tactic will surely not work on those who have come up with clever ways to convince themselves that their beliefs are solid. With a network of logical and emotional bonds to wade through in order to reach the apologist, how does one even begin? For the answer, I believe we should revisit the scenario offered earlier about the business consultant.

Let us now consider a hypothetical situation in which the consultant has a combination of emotional and logical reasons for not wanting to visit us at the top of the skyscraper. Not only has he developed an emotional fear of heights beginning at a young age, he has also convinced himself of the legitimacy of his fear by reinforcing his decision with a network of misinformation built upon logical inaccuracies. Now the man has created a wall of perceived legitimate reasons as to why his emotional fear is a sensible one. Well, how do we handle such a situation?

Since we wish to invoke rational thinking in order to get people to drop their misplaced beliefs, we must decide whether emotion or logic is the biggest opponent of rational thought. This choice should be obvious since emotion is often irrational, and logic is closely related to rationale itself. To put it in a much simpler way, we cannot appeal to logic when emotion is in the way. We must defuse as much irrationality as possible before we can begin to utilize logic in support of our position. We cannot simply usher the man to the top of the building by allowing him to adjust to his surroundings because there will come a time when the logical fears of being on floor three will be outweighed by the emotional fears of being on floor ten. The amount of success in this initial step of tackling emotion will vary from person to person, but through much time and effort, we might be able to force the man to make enough concessions on his emotional beliefs, which will then eliminate a bit of emotional irrationalism, so that we can illustrate how his logical fears of floors three through nine are misplaced. If this much easier step of tackling logic proves fruitful, then we simply rinse, lather, and repeat.

Admittedly, this is much easier said than done when it comes to religion. When some of the constructs of emotional beliefs include "God is perfect," we find that it can be extremely difficult to make chinks in perfect armor. All is not lost, however, because we know that it is possible to intellectually reach people who believe that God is perfect, or else we would not be gathered where we are right now. Where one should ideally begin the task is debatable, but I strongly feel that attributing human authorship to the Bible is the proper avenue to take. This does not invalidate the premise that God is perfect because it makes room for such possibilities as God allowing humans to write their history and God not concerning himself with perfection of everything. These ideas seem harmless enough on the surface, but they begin to provoke questions of bigger impact, such as why God would choose such avenues when they lead to increased doubt and logical ambiguity.

I very often hear skeptics only going after the logical misinformation presented by Christians before giving up in disgust and wondering why they can't appeal to people's intellect. I've even caught myself doing it on more than one occasion because we're often provoked with misinformation. We must remember, however, that it can be nearly impossible to alter a person's stance on an important topic by invoking the use of logic and rational thought when so much of that person's stance is protected by emotional irrationalism.

21 comments:

DagoodS said...

Good post. Reminds me of the Jonathan Swift quote: It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

John W. Loftus said...

Jason, great post!

The reason I feel that people build their beliefs upon emotion rather than logic is that the vast majority of people are introduced to the emotional components of Christianity before the logical ones.

Exactly, exactly, exactly. When it comes to religious beliefs we have a very strong propensity to believe based on when and where we are born. Therefore, I have proposed what I call The Outsider Test to evaluate our beliefs.

Jason Long said...

Thanks.

John,

That world religion map makes me want to move to Antarctica.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Doubting John said...
"So, how does this all relate to the subject of debunking Christianity? Religious beliefs, like the beliefs of the consultant, must also be held for emotional or logical reasons. With this in mind, how should we approach the task of deconversion?"


The whole premise here that beliefs (religious or not) are either emotional or logical strikes me as overlysimplistic, at best, and, at worst, it seems completely contrived. But here is the real question in my mind: What if a religious belief is neither emotional nor logical? For example, what if a believer has actually encountered God for themselves? In this case there is a personal encounter which doesn't fit the category of either emotional or logical.

Further, what if (per Calvin and developed more recently by Plantinga and others) God designed humanity in such a way that belief in God is a reaction to various instances in the world. i.e. moral conviction of shame as a result of commiting immoral acts, or a sense of awe of God when viewing a grandiose scene from nature. You would be quick to call these such instances "emotional," and there is certainly an emotional aspect to it. However, if God really did create humanity with this impulse to believe, then the belief would be more than a mere "emotion" as I understand you are using it above.

So, basically, your above post rests on the presupposition that God does not exist and hence ways of "de-religiousizing" believers. However, if God does exist, then an appeal to either "emotional" or "intellectual" arguments would never convince them otherwise because their faith would be deeper than the simplistic dual description of belief.

One last thing...
It may very well be that God exists, but that a religious believer has contrived their beliefs in God (or a religious system) quite apart an actual encounter with God. They may be conforming to social or cultural standards (i.e. "everybody in my neck-o-the-woods believes in God"). Or they may have an intellectual conviction of God's existence apart from an actual experience with God. Hence, this complicates the discussion all the more, I guess!

John W. Loftus said...

Jonathan, good to see ya finally post here! I always enjoyed the dialogue with you. But now I'm Atheist John.

I've already answered your questions here.

Read them and come back to comment on them here if you wish.

Bruce said...

However, if God really did create humanity with this impulse to believe, then the belief would be more than a mere "emotion" as I understand you are using it above.

So what is it then, an instinct?

For example, what if a believer has actually encountered God for themselves? In this case there is a personal encounter which doesn't fit the category of either emotional or logical.

I agree with John, you are going to have to define "personal encounter" in some meaningful way before we can discuss whether it is emotional, logical, both or neither.

As for the original post, I agree, we have to provide emotional alternatives as well as logical alternatives to religion. I hear a lot of born-agains talk about how God helped them change their previous evil ways. Basically, they have substituted the emotional support they get from believing in God for whatever emotional support they were getting from their past lifestyle. It seems to me this is one "advantage" that religion has over atheism. They have an organization in place that offers a plan for emotional fullfillment. Not that atheists aren't emotionally fullfilled, we just have to find it within ourselves. We don't have anyone (or anything) making guarantees of emotional happiness, and a lot of people would rather bet on the (seemingly) sure thing than take a chance on reality.

Jason said...

The dichotomy between beliefs derived from reason and beliefs derived from emotions is plausible, but it doesn't encompass quite every type of belief. For example, as Bruce suggested in this comment section, there are beliefs derived from "instinct". In-born beliefs such as those pertaining to facial structure and intentional agency, and indeed the foundations of logic themselves, are not derived from reason nor emotion. These three sources of belief are probably all that exist (as far as I can tell upon superficial reflection).

Jonathan's example of the individual that has a direct experience of God, which I interpret to be something like the experience of the fictional Moses, is a member of the set of beliefs based on emotion or reason, however. The fictional Moses must have used his reason to infer that the only being matching the description in front of him was God. A belief needn't be founded upon correct reasoning to be the product of reason.

In regards to the article itself, I am living confirmation of the notion that reason can be used to change a person's mind about religion. I was a 19 year old bible school student who was exposed to the critical reason of M. Martin and decided on the basis of Martin's book to reject Christianity. One can speculate about possible emotional influences in my life at that time, but I think that such speculations would be ad hoc.

That is not to say that everyone can be so convinced, however. After I rejected Christianity I showed the book to a fellow student. At first she grew skeptical of Christianity as well, but then one morning she decided to continue believing. I asked her why and she provided no reasons, but it was clear that she was too emotionally bound to the faith to discard it.

Jason Long said...

Jonathan, I have addressed your post point by point with headers.
Jonathan
The whole premise here that beliefs (religious or not) are either emotional or logical strikes me as overlysimplistic, at best, and, at worst, it seems completely contrived
Jason
Well, let us see if it can be demonstrated as such.
Jonathan
But here is the real question in my mind: What if a religious belief is neither emotional nor logical? For example, what if a believer has actually encountered God for themselves? In this case there is a personal encounter which doesn't fit the category of either emotional or logical.
Jason
Yes, it would. It would be a logical belief. I believe God exists because I saw him is a logical thought, just as I believe Europe exists because I've seen pictures of it is a logical belief. Nihlo pointed this out earlier.
Jonathan

Further, what if (per Calvin and developed more recently by Plantinga and others) God designed humanity in such a way that belief in God is a reaction to various instances in the world. i.e. moral conviction of shame as a result of commiting immoral acts, or a sense of awe of God when viewing a grandiose scene from nature. You would be quick to call these such instances "emotional," and there is certainly an emotional aspect to it. However, if God really did create humanity with this impulse to believe, then the belief would be more than a mere "emotion" as I understand you are using it above.
Jason
Yes, my post presupposes that the enormous evidence compiled that demonstrates the lack of veracity in the Bible is valid. Since my post was aimed toward those who have no emotional bias and have already discovered this, it's a valid presupposition to make for my audience. Since I cannot rule out the possibility of a different god instilling beliefs in people, nor can I rule out elephant-sized unicorns on Jupiter instilling them in people, nor can I rule out basketball eating aliens building a machine that emits them through radio waves, I cannot rule out an infinite amount of possibilities. Since one is just as unlikely as the next, I stick with what we can observe through study. I will admit that it is conceivable for a person to also have a belief based on instinct, as others have pointed out, but to suppose that God instills such beliefs or that unicorns instill such beliefs begs the question of the existence of God or unicorns.
Jonathan

So, basically, your above post rests on the presupposition that God does not exist and hence ways of "de-religiousizing" believers. However, if God does exist, then an appeal to either "emotional" or "intellectual" arguments would never convince them otherwise because their faith would be deeper than the simplistic dual description of belief.
Jason
No, that's a terrible assertion. Since we do not know what level or avenues this god would utilize to instill these beliefs, we cannot say for certain that emotional or logical arguments could reach them. As you seem level-headed, I hope you understand this enough with me having to provide elaborate examples.

Jonathan

One last thing...
It may very well be that God exists, but that a religious believer has contrived their beliefs in God (or a religious system) quite apart an actual encounter with God. They may be conforming to social or cultural standards (i.e. "everybody in my neck-o-the-woods believes in God").
Jason
This might be considered a logical decision. If everyone believes in God, then it is logical to believe that there is nothing wrong with such a belief, provided that no one has questioned such a notion. To say that God must exist on the basis of these beliefs would be illogical, but it would be a decision reached on the basis of what one perceived was logical.
Jonathan
Or they may have an intellectual conviction of God's existence apart from an actual experience with God. Hence, this complicates the discussion all the more, I guess!
Jason
Depending on how you define an intellectual conviction, I imagine this would fall under logical.

Jonathan Erdman said...

I would like to make a point here about personal encounters.

It is difficult for me to see how a personal encounter with an individual can be neatly categorized as either logical or emotional. For example, I believe that my brother (who lives in Texas) exists based upon my many personal encounters with him throughout the course of my lifetime. Even if you were to produce a great deal of good evidence against the fact that he ever existed it would still be very hard for me to shake the notion that he exists. I have memories of encounters with him that have stuck with me. There is really no evidence you could produce that would shake my belief except, perhaps, if my mother told me that she never had such a son. But even in that scenario my belief in my mother is grounded in my personal encounter with her.

But what, I ask you, is the basis of this belief? Whatever is the basis of my belief that my brother exists, I would say it is very similar to the belief that God exists. Is it logical inference? Is it an emotional response? I just think it is too simple to say "logical" or "emotional" when we are talking about a personal encounter.

Along these lines I would reference back to Nihlo's post and ask a basic question: How can Nihlo judge his friends' reason for holding on to the faith? Clearly she did not make all decisions in the same way and on the same basis as Nihlo, but that does not mean she was too "emotionally bound to the faith to discard it." It is difficult for me to logically see how this follows. At best Nihlo can say, "In spite of rational appeals against her faith she continued to believe."

And on a bit of a tangent here...I always wonder about the rational atheist champion who claims to follow evidence and reason wherever it takes them. Is this possible? Or even desirable? What if you found yourself accused of a heinous crime and all the evidence was stacked against you, but you knew that you didn't do it? Would you follow the evidence, or trust your own memory and instinct? Although I don't know Nihlo's friend I would guess that she had a greater reason than rationality to maintain her faith, in the same way that you would hold on to your innocence in a court of law even in the face of evidence and testimony against you. Sometimes pure reason and evidence are not the best things we have to go on. From my experience, life is not always that simple.

John W. Loftus said...

What if you found yourself accused of a heinous crime and all the evidence was stacked against you, but you knew that you didn't do it? Would you follow the evidence, or trust your own memory and instinct?

Good question, and it would be indeed difficult to sift it all through, especially if I was absolutely sure I did not do the crime, nor did I have it in me to do the crime.

What if you woke up one morning to police officers who arrested you for murder? The case against you is that there were two witnesses who saw you at the scene of the crime, you had no alibi, you had a motive for murder, your blood and hair were found under the victims fingernails with corresponding scratches on your back, and the victim’s blood was found on your shoes? But you “know” you didn’t kill anyone. At that point you must consider the evidence against you, and it’s overwhelming. Your “knowing” ends up being delusional no matter what the reason for your delusion.

Since the above scenario is possible, you could also be deluded in claiming to know God exists because of a purported veridical experience of God.

The difference between the suggested "murder" scenario and your claim to have had a personal encounter with the God of the Christian variety is that there is hard objective evidence for the “murder,” whereas there is no hard objective evidence for your claim. But just because there isn’t the same kind of evidence for us to debunk your claim, you can go on your merry delusional way all you wants to.

Jason said...

How can Nihlo judge his friends' reason for holding on to the faith? Clearly she did not make all decisions in the same way and on the same basis as Nihlo, but that does not mean she was too "emotionally bound to the faith to discard it." It is difficult for me to logically see how this follows. At best Nihlo can say, "In spite of rational appeals against her faith she continued to believe."

Her behaviour and words made it clear to me that emotions were what bound her to Christian belief. One day she agreed that the weight of reason was against Christianity, and the next she was almost crying and said that she had decided to believe. I asked her why, and she told me that no reason led her to believe.

Steve said...

Of course there is the possibility that you could never convince the person to ascend the building. He suggests that you move to another location, but to no avail. So you have to find another person, that is not afraid of heights.

One week later you are all up in your conference room excited about your procpects. As you get up to get a cup of coffee you notice an Airliner about to smash into the building just just a few floors below you.

You now have about an hour to think about the person that couldn't work with you because you refused to move to another location.

Jason Long said...

Can you say "false analogy"?

Steve said...

Jason- Can you say "false analogy"?

Is it? Like your analogy is any more comparable to why Christians believe. You say that people believe what they believe because of reason or emotion, or both. Can you prove that? I think not. It is obviously unimaginable for you to think outside your box.

Have you seen the movie Signs? It’s about the notion that there is a reason for everything. In my analogy the man who escapes death may wonder why his life was spared, and seek God? If he was already a Christian he would be thanking God for another chance? Granted he was afraid of heights, but how will he view this fear now? This fear saved his life.

Now, did God create us with the ability to hear him through our conscience/sub-conscience? We don’t know either way. You seem to think that debunking Christianity is just a matter of convincing Christians of your weak arguments against it. (Of course they are not weak to you)

Someone may still yet be able to convince the man that Skyscrapers are safe at this point, but if he is a Christian do you think you’d have much of a chance convincing him that his faith is founded on lies?

Jason Long said...

Steve
Is it?
Jason
Yes, it is. My analogy was of a man who held a misguided belief about a building that was presupposed to be safe. It was not the conclusion that was in doubt, it was the method with which he reached it. You offer a solution in which the man was right, yet the man reached the solution through illogical deductions.
Steve
Like your analogy is any more comparable to why Christians believe.
Jason
It now becomes clear that you didn't even know the definition of a false analogy. Try brushing up on your logical fallacies. Aside from that, my analogy is dead on as to why Christians and other religious members believe what they believe. Ask any former believer, and they'll tell you the same thing.
Steve
You say that people believe what they believe because of reason or emotion, or both. Can you prove that? I think not.
Jason
It's clear that you know nothing of persuasive psychology, an entire branch of psychology dedicated to this very topic. I guess we should just throw everything out because you don't agree with it. I have categorized beliefs into two categories. Someone else offered instinct. Unless you can offer beliefs arrived outside of these categories, you'll have to get over it.
Steve
It is obviously unimaginable for you to think outside your box.
Jason
This has to be the most ironic thing a Christian has ever said to me. We call ourselves freethinkers for a reason, Steve. My capacity for freethought isn't in question here. If you can demonstrate to me that persuasive psychology is bunk, I'm more than happy to change my mind.
Steve

Have you seen the movie Signs? It’s about the notion that there is a reason for everything. In my analogy the man who escapes death may wonder why his life was spared, and seek God? If he was already a Christian he would be thanking God for another chance? Granted he was afraid of heights, but how will he view this fear now? This fear saved his life.
Jason
Again, the issue is not whether or not the man was right. The issue was with the method with which he reached his conclusions. You just simply offer a scenario in which the man could be right, yet he reached the conclusion erroneously. It's a little like saying that 4 x 1 equals 4 because the product is always same as the multiplicand when multiplying any two numbers.
Steve

Now, did God create us with the ability to hear him through our conscience/sub-conscience? We don’t know either way.
Jason
Now, did unicorns create us with the ability to hear God through our conscience/sub-conscience? We don't know either way. That's yet another possibility that disproves the ideas offered in my article. There are infinite possibilities that disprove the ideas offered in my article. Do you want to know why we should not consider such possibilities as God and unicorns? Because it begs the question of their existence. I don't know how many times I've explained this.
Steve
You seem to think that debunking Christianity is just a matter of convincing Christians of your weak arguments against it. (Of course they are not weak to you)
Jason
Any former Christian who was well versed in apologetics will tell you exactly what I'm telling you. I wonder why you repeatedly rely on logical fallacies if my arguments are so weak. Begging the question, false analogies, non-sequiturs, etc. It seems that a weak argument would be easy to deflate, but that's just my way of seeing it.
Steve

Someone may still yet be able to convince the man that Skyscrapers are safe at this point, but if he is a Christian do you think you’d have much of a chance convincing him that his faith is founded on lies?
Jason
The man has not been conditioned by his peers, parents, society, and environment to believe in the absolute sanctity of not going up in skyscrapers. Steve, you and probably 90% of this world just believe whatever you've been brought up believing. Why do you think that is?

Steve said...

Jason- “It was not the conclusion that was in doubt, it was the method with which he reached it.”

I’m saying the man could possibly have been afraid of heights because a supernatural entity used that fear to save his life on that day. The conclusion was foreknown to this entity, not the man. The man realizes this after the event. That’s why I asked you if you saw the movie Signs.

Jason- "Aside from that, my analogy is dead on as to why Christians and other religious members believe what they believe. Ask any former believer, and they'll tell you the same thing.”

Former believer? Isn’t that you. Why should I take another’s word if I don’t take yours?

Jason- "Now, did unicorns create us with the ability to hear God through our conscience/sub-conscience? We don't know either way."

I thought this was Debunking Christianity, not Debunking Unicorns? I know nothing about them really. Why do you keep bringing them up? It appears to be a foolish tactic used to make Christianity look like a joke.

Jason- “Do you want to know why we should not consider such possibilities as God and unicorns? Because it begs the question of their existence.”

I believe the Christian God exists. Aren't you trying to convince others and me otherwise? Is this blog only for non-believers to convince each other of their non-beliefs?

Jason- "This has to be the most ironic thing a Christian has ever said to me. We call ourselves freethinkers for a reason, Steve. My capacity for freethought isn't in question here. If you can demonstrate to me that persuasive psychology is bunk, I'm more than happy to change my mind."

You’re confined to what you can see, hear, and touch. That's the box I'm referring too. You would need empirical evidence, or some overwhelming supernatural event that you and 10 of your friends witnessed for you to change your position. (Although I think you would reason your way out) Am I wrong here? Your post assumes that we only believe things because of either logic or emotion, or both, and you seem to rule out any unknowns that could be present. This is where you are not thinking freely and independently from yourself. I’m not arguing persuasive psychology is not plausible, I just think there’s more to why I believe than that.

Jason- “It seems that a weak argument would be easy to deflate, but that's just my way of seeing it.”

They are at the very least weaker than faith. If they are so solid then why don’t more Christians de-convert? And why do Atheists still convert? It’s just not that simple! For one thing even if I was to abandon Christianity, I would have more trouble with the thought of our existence than I would with the troublesome parts of Christianity.


Jason- “Steve, you and probably 90% of this world just believe whatever you've been brought up believing. Why do you think that is?”

Really? So you know my background? Where I grew up? You must know my parents too?

The Outsider Test is indeed an interesting concept. However, it does not prove anything one way or another. What a person believes because of by whom and where they were raised does not make it impossible to be true. Granted it's highly unlikely that all of the beliefs could be true, but it is very much a possibility that one could be.

Jason Long said...

Steve

I’m saying the man could possibly have been afraid of heights because a supernatural entity used that fear to save his life on that day. The conclusion was foreknown to this entity, not the man. The man realizes this after the event. That’s why I asked you if you saw the movie Signs.

Jason

Steve, I have one word for you. Unicorns. I've exposed the absurdity of this argument enough.

Steve

Former believer? Isn’t that you. Why should I take another’s word if I don’t take yours?

Jason

That's right. I forgot reasoning escapes you at times. I was thinking perhaps that since the number of former learned apologists who turn skeptics greatly outnumbers the other, you might stop and think about what that could mean for a minute.

Steve

I thought this was Debunking Christianity, not Debunking Unicorns? I know nothing about them really. Why do you keep bringing them up? It appears to be a foolish tactic used to make Christianity look like a joke.

Jason

I'm sorry to call a spade a spade, but you're logically handicapped Steve. I'll try to explain. You are submitting a scenario in which a belief falls outside of emotion and logic. That is one in which God instills beliefs. Okay. I submit one in which unicorns do it. Both invalidate my proposition. What is the evidence for either one? Nothing. That is, nothing, unless you continue to beg the question of God's existence. Geez.

Steve

I believe the Christian God exists. Aren't you trying to convince others and me otherwise? Is this blog only for non-believers to convince each other of their non-beliefs?

Jason

Steve, Jesus Christ. If you beg the question of God's existence before our discussion, what's going to change your mind? Nothing. I submit reasons why you believe what you believe, and then you invent how-it-could-have-been-scenarios that you have absolutely no basis for. What belief system couldn't withstand scrutiny given such luxuries?

Steve

You’re confined to what you can see, hear, and touch. That's the box I'm referring too. You would need empirical evidence, or some overwhelming supernatural event that you and 10 of your friends witnessed for you to change your position. (Although I think you would reason your way out) Am I wrong here? Your post assumes that we only believe things because of either logic or emotion, or both, and you seem to rule out any unknowns that could be present. This is where you are not thinking freely and independently from yourself. I’m not arguing persuasive psychology is not plausible, I just think there’s more to why I believe than that.

Jason

In other words, you believe there is something there even though you have no way of knowing it. In other words, unicorns.

Steve

They are at the very least weaker than faith. If they are so solid then why don’t more Christians de-convert? And why do Atheists still convert? It’s just not that simple! For one thing even if I was to abandon Christianity, I would have more trouble with the thought of our existence than I would with the troublesome parts of Christianity.

Jason

Fucking Christ Steve. What do you think this discussion is about? EMOTIONAL DECISIONS.

Steve

Really? So you know my background? Where I grew up? You must know my parents too?

Jason

I'd bet money on every person like you that you were raised Christian and your parents are Christian. I'd win 90% of the time, guaranteed.

Steve

The Outsider Test is indeed an interesting concept. However, it does not prove anything one way or another.

Jason

It sure doesn't, but it does show how people are guessing blind on emotional decisions.

Steve

What a person believes because of by whom and where they were raised does not make it impossible to be true.

Jason

It sure doesn't, but it does show how people are guessing blind on emotional decisions.

Steve

Granted it's highly unlikely that all of the beliefs could be true, but it is very much a possibility that one could be.

Jason

It's impossible for all beliefs to be true, and it is very much possible that one could be, but who is ever going to know as long as everyone submits their ridiculous scenarios? Gods instilling beliefs, unicorns eating basketballs, lets all just beg the question of our favorite deity's existence (the one we were raised with) and say "Hey, i'll shift the burden of proof! You can't prove I'm wrong!" I'm done with this discussion.

Steve said...

Whoa! Jason settle down! I was not trying to upset you. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Paul Manata smoked Derek Sansone in their debate. Johnny, you're making Christians look better by having no-brainers like Sansone in your blog. Thanks!

Jonathan Erdman said...

Are the above responses based on "emotion" or "logic"!

Josh (Joshster@epals.com) said...
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