1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

When believing false things is comforting

Discussion in 'Resources' started by Phaedrus, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. Phaedrus

    Phaedrus Active Member

    Aug 9, 2019
    I came across When Believing False Things is Comforting, and I wanted to share it:

  2. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Jul 2, 2004
    Non-Theistic Mysticism
    This reminds me of Nietzsche's notion of the "life-affirming lie". The life-affirming lie is a wee bit different than what you are getting at. It's a lie you believe in -- not because it comforts you -- but in order to get out of bed in the morning, so to speak. The life affirming lie is a lie that you tell yourself in order to make it through the day.

    By the way, according to some studies, only about 15% of humans are deeply and primarily concerned with whether something is true or not. The vast majority of people simply are not truth seekers.

    Put differently, being deeply and profoundly motivated by matters of truth and falsity is not a moral choice in most cases -- it is a personality trait. You are either born to it or not.

    Now to be absolutely precise --- those good folks who are deeply and profoundly motivated by matters of truth and falsity are NOT motivated by a genuine desire to discover the truth of some matter. Their real motivation is to avoid being wrong about a matter. Subtle difference.

    Of course, I am reporting just one theory in psychology here. There are other theories as well.
    #2 Sunstone, Sep 22, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Useful Useful x 1
  3. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
    Premium Member

    Nov 16, 2011
    Atheist Libertarian
    Personally, I don't see things in black and white, i.e. true or false. I see things in probabilities. Some things are likely true, some things are likely false. Nothing is ever 100% true or 100% false. I suppose there are some things I'd like to be true but I see as likely false. Just a possibility that I am wrong about them being likely false.

    So what other folks choose to believe doesn't bother me since there's the possibility that they are right, however so slight.

    To me, being a "truth seeker" is a fools game since IMO one can never be 100% certain about the truth. The "Truth" is for religious folks to support their convictions. While I'm willing to accept what is apparently true, I'm also willing to accept I am wrong about it.

    Our conscious awareness will always be separated from reality by the unconscious mind. The unconscious is capable of creating "truths" for us to experience. Ghosts, Gods, aliens, magic whatever. If an experience can seem real enough, it becomes a bit hard to differentiate between the truth of experience and the truth of actuality.

    Is the truth of actuality more important than the truth of experience? :shrug:

    I suppose whichever makes you happier.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta and Spiritualist and Pantheist
    Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2012
    Advaita and Spiritualist and Pantheist
    When believing false things is comforting

    Let's discuss this in the context of religious/spiritual beliefs.

    I really doubt that many people believe in things they know to be false. Typically in the religious/spiritual sphere we are dealing in realms where no one can say with certainty what the truth really is so everyone is able to put up an argument for their beliefs.

    Now in such a scenario, people will gravitate to their position (atheist or theist/spiritualist) in both cases for some psychological reason. You might as well gravitate to the side that appeals to you since no one knows for sure anyway.

    I think this question of 'why do people believe false things that are comforting' is a disguised put-down of the rationality of theist/spiritualists by the atheist side.
  5. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2016
    I'd also add that some people may be genuine truth seekers in areas of knowledge that have no real impact on their life while deluding themselves in regard to truths that have an impact on reality. The British mathematician John Lennox is an excellent example. The guy is absolutely dedicated to painstakingly proving truths in his abstract mathematical land of algebraic group theory, but he denies evolution by natural selection because it personally affects his view of life. It's safe to prove abstract mathematical truths that have no impact on our lives but many people want to ignore truths that make them uncomfortable.
  6. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

    Mar 7, 2009
    Zen Buddhism
    Well they do say fantasy takes on a life of its own.

    I do see how it can be comforting albiet not completely practical or useful otherwise outside of creating personal motivation , courage, and drive through a tailsman , avatar, or icon.

    The only danger I can see from it would be a person who gets so involved, he or she loses touch and sometimes grip with reality.

    There are so many things I personally wish was true , even though I know full well deep down they are false. But it still feels comfortable to indulge in those wishes.