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Have you ever heard a Theist make a statement or argument that seems logical, but becomes quickily dismissed or laughed at in order to maintain self belief? For example:

What if the Bible was made of fictitious stories written by authors who never witnessed supernatural events but wrote them down anyway? Nah.

What if Moses/Jesus/Muhammad/Joseph Smith was simply delusional, lying or manipulative? Nah.

The creation story sounds so unbelievable it can't be true. Neither can the great flood. Oh well, it's not important.

Why aren't dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible, and why doesn't the Bible fit with modern concepts of the universe, the age of the universe, the age of the earth, the shape of the Earth, space, etc. I'm sure I'll find out when I get to Heaven.

Heaven isn't in the sky because the sky contains no heaven. So it must be in another dimension. God hasn't appeared personally like he did in the Old Testament, so he must be in another dimension. Hell isn't under the earth, so it must be in another dimension.

What if everything in the Bible is just myths and stories? Well it has to be true, so it is.

What if an argument criticizing my religion makes sense? Well let me come up with a reason why it's wrong.

So what if the Bible contains small contradictions, translation errors, and books selected by a commitee? God wanted the Bible the way it is, but humans still make mistakes, so it's no big deal.

Could I believe in God simply because I grew up in a religious family and was taught religious beliefs? Why do other people have different sets of beliefs. Oh well, it must be the right religion, I'm sure all the others will be sorted out someday, then they can convert and see the truth.

Angels, demons, Adam and Eve, flaming chariots, giants, Samson, Jericho. It all sounds so unreal. Oh well, I have to believe it happened.

Armageddon can't be real, it sounds like it would never happen. Maybe it was just used to criticize Roman politics. Well, we'll see when Jesus returns, the world has its final battle, and the righteous get to live on a new Earth for one thousand years. Hopefully the Jews will convert by then.

Satan is some evil guy that makes us do bad things, instead of psychological disorders or personal selfishness? Ok.

God doesn't seem to affect the world directly like he did in the Old Testament. Devout followers have as much misfortune as non-believers. Prayer doesn't always work even when it should. Well, God must exist, and I'm sure he has a reason for everything, in his infinite wisdom. Who am I to comprehend his infinite wisdom?

Why are there so many denominations and offshoots of Christianity? Why are there religions with radically different teachings that believe in the same God? Why are there so many religious disagreements? What rituals and practices are the right ones, and how do we know for sure? It's ok, I'll find out when I die.

Events in the Bible may not seem compatible with science, but science is wrong. Or the Bible was talking about something perfectly scientific that used metaphorical language. Let me explain the science behind it.

What? No God, no afterlife? I could imagine that, but it wouldn't make me happy like the eternal afterlife does. So there has to be a God and an afterlife. I mean who would want to be that depressed.

What if we've been following something untrue for all these years? Wouldn't that be silly? That would mean everyone has been wasting their time and energy the entire time. There has to be some truth to what we believe in, otherwise it would be ridiculous to follow something that doesn't exist.

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I've been saving this for

I've been saving this for its own thread, but it seems as good a time as any to post this excerpt from Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" -- the origin of "doublethink." Here the protagonist is being tortured for his unorthodoxy and refusal to recognize the regime's "truth." Eventually, they torture him with a direct appeal to his most basic fears, and he finally cracks and denounces everything he holds dear.


     'Do you remember,' he went on, ' writing  in  your  diary,

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four“?'

     'Yes,' said Winston.

     O'Brien  held  up his left hand, its back towards Winston,

with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.

     'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?


     'And if the party says that it is not  four  but  five  --

then how many?'


     The  word  ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial

had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung  out  all  over

Winston's body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again in

deep  groans  which  even  by  clenching his teeth he could not

stop. O'Brien watched him, the four fingers still extended.  He

drew  back  the  lever.  This  time  the pain was only slightly


     'How many fingers, Winston?'


     The needle went up to sixty.

     'How many fingers, Winston?'

     'Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!'

     The needle must have risen again, but he did not  look  at

it.  The  heavy,  stern  face  and  the four fingers filled his

vision. The fingers stood up  before  his  eyes  like  pillars,

enormous,  blurry,  and  seeming  to  vibrate, but unmistakably


     'How many fingers, Winston?'

     'Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!'

     'How many fingers, Winston?'

     'Five! Five! Five!'

     'No, Winston, that is no use. You  are  lying.  You  still

think there are four. How many fingers, please?'

     'Four!  five!  Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop

the pain!

     Abruptly he was sitting up with O'Brien's  arm  round  his

shoulders. He had perhaps lost consciousness for a few seconds.

The  bonds  that  had held his body down were loosened. He felt

very cold,  he  was  shaking  uncontrollably,  his  teeth  were

chattering,  the  tears  were  rolling  down  his cheeks. For a

moment he clung to O'Brien like a baby, curiously comforted  by

the  heavy  arm  round  his  shoulders. He had the feeling that

O'Brien was his protector, that the  pain  was  something  that

came  from  outside,  from  some  other source, and that it was

O'Brien who would save him from it.

     'You are a slow learner, Winston,' said O'Brien gently.

     'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help  seeing

what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.

     Sometimes,  Winston.  Sometimes  they  are five. Sometimes

they are three. Sometimes they are all of  them  at  once.  You

must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.'