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Featured Is religion just another method to resolve cognitive dissonance?

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Wandering Monk, Aug 1, 2020 at 8:15 AM.

  1. Wandering Monk

    Wandering Monk Well-Known Member

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    It occurred to me the other day that some of the Bible's most revered figures were pretty bad people at one point.

    Abraham nearly murdered his son. Some Jewish sages say he actually killed Isaac or that Isaac's soul fled as the knife was raised.

    Moses murdered a task master.

    David murdered Uriah by proxy.

    One way for people to resolve the conflict between the kind of person they are and they kind of person they should be is to find forgiveness from a higher power. Usually this results in a high level of piety. As the saying goes, 'he who is forgiven much, loves much.'
     
  2. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    The piety is mostly in one's mind, not some higher power !
    I really hope that there is a heaven out there for you, really !
     
  3. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    This is not what cognitive dissonance means, though, is it?
     
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  4. Gargovic Malkav

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    If I've never learned how to forgive, I would've been a hateful, maybe even a dangerous man. If I've never been given forgiveness, I would've been a hated, maybe even a dead man.
     
  5. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    It means that one is scatter-minded, no bullseye, loose cognizance.

    Just like my blogs !
     
  6. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
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    it seems to be a recurring thing in most religions.

    Aṅgulimāla
     
  7. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    No.
     
  8. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Perhaps, for religions that teach forgiveness or "salvation" from some higher power. My religion has no such teachings. Frankly, my religion creates at least as much cognitive dissonance as it resolves. Probably more, considering how at odds my religion is with mainstream culture in America. I have to participate in things that go against my religion almost constantly living in America. It's why I have a very awkward love-hate relationship with this country.
     
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  9. ecco

    ecco Veteran Member

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    As the saying goes, 'He who is forgiven much, must have done a whole lot of bad things requiring forgiveness'.
     
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  10. ecco

    ecco Veteran Member

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    Is religion just another method to resolve cognitive dissonance?

    Religion isn't used to resolve cognitive dissonance; religion is cognitive dissonance!
     
  11. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    It is.
    Almost all people think of themselves as good people. But they don't always act good. There is the cognitive dissonance.
    Religion solves that dissonance by forgiving the bad things.
     
  12. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    For those that believe in a religion, it serves as a beacon and guide about how to live their lives. Those that don't believe, of course, think it's a bunch of hooey.
     
  13. Left Coast

    Left Coast Aspiring Vegan Mosquito Slayer
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    I think that tendency exists in many people, including non-religious people. The difference is where they seek forgiveness from, whether it's other people, themselves, a higher power/deity, or some combination. Forgiveness is a necessary step, IMO, to free us from the past and enable us to live freer, more ethical lives moving forward.
     
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  14. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    I think cognitive dissonance more describes the state we find ourselves in when we question our core beliefs.
     
  15. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    "In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; or participates in an action that goes against one of these three, and experiences psychological stress because of that." - Cognitive dissonance - Wikipedia

    You can question without cognitive dissonance. Dissonance only occurs when there is a contradiction. E.g. you acting badly while thinking of yourself as a good person.
     
  16. Wandering Monk

    Wandering Monk Well-Known Member

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    Or that your religion expects better behavior than you are capable of. This creates guilt which needs to be resolved, hence, atonements.
     
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  17. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    I don’t see any dissonance in the idea of having an ideal or goal that one falls short of. That’s pretty normal for all of us, in many different contexts.

    The idea of forgiveness is just taken from a parent bringing up a child. Again it’s quite natural in a parent/child relationship. I don’t really see where dissonance comes in.
     
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  18. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    That's because you see being good as a goal, not as a fact.
    If you deeply believe to be good, failing to do good is a contradiction.
     
  19. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    Aha, yes I see that would certainly be a problem. But it is not how the religion I am familiar with works.
     
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  20. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Catholicism has made good use of that trait with confession.
    I don't think it to be the main reason for religions to exist but it is how I understood @Wandering Monk's question.
     
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