16th March 2012

“Even if the questionable evidence that religious believers are happier and healthier than non-believers holds up, belief in truth shouldn't rest on instrumental benefits.”

Julian Baggini

9 Responses to “16th March 2012”

  1. The Heretic Says:

    Delusional people are happier than normal people. Big surprise.

  2. Xhim Says:

    Granted, it doesn’t qualify as objective evidence, but all the people I’ve run across who have been radically changed for the better when they “became delusional” – starting with my own family – are still the most convincing evidences that JC is hard at work that I can come up with. There are some attempts at “objective” proofs, but they lack the impact of a really nasty old fart turning into a saint overnight.

  3. Dan Says:

    I’ve also seen friends straighten themselves out without being the slightest bit religious. I’ve also seen a friend’s husband break up his family by converting to evangelical Christianity and trying to force the rest of the family to do the same.

    Bottom line is, you’re fooling yourself if you think that Christianity can, by itself, change someone’s life for the better (or the worse for that matter).

  4. Xhim Says:

    I’ve seen both of those things, too, Dan. Just I’ve seen the other so much more often. So massively often, in fact, that I can’t help but find it convincing.

  5. Dan Says:

    Okay, so you’d qualify as a poster child for “confirmation bias” then.

  6. Capt'Z Says:

    Believing something because of how it makes you feel has no bearing whatever on its truth value. That said, if religion helps a terrible person moderate their bad behavior, I don’t care that their religion is bogus because the outcome is still desirable. I have no doubt that some people are better off this way.

  7. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    I can’t speak for having once believed, but I can for being happy. Perhaps it is just a disposition, but I can’t think of a time in my life when I wasn’t on balance happy. Sure I’ve had ups and downs, good times and bad, but nothing has ever upset the normal happy disposition that exists within my consciousness.

    How would that be different were I religious? I don’t know, I can’t know. Would I be happier? I don’t know, I can’t know.

    Perhaps elated is a better way to describe this living experience. I also don’t know how much happier I need to be. I’m quite satisfied being as happy as I am.

    I’m a sort of “do my best and let the chips fall where they may” type of person. I don’t get upset about that which I can’t influence or change. I’m accepting that I can’t have it all my way. Even if I could I wouldn’t want that. I like when other people win too.

    Perhaps some conclusive evidence will surface tying happiness and religiosity, I don’t really care.

    The Serenity Prayer has always struck me I would say.

  8. Xhim Says:

    Dan, the confirmation bias is an assumption, therefore actually applying it is circular logic. I find my viewpoint confirmed in my observations, therefore I must be, as you say, a poster child for “confirmation bias”. It’s kind of like: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. They may in fact be out to get the paranoid person. I could just as easily apply the confirmation bias to all you guys: because you’re convinced there is no God, you never see all the evidences to the contrary.
    Having said that, you may genuinely not have run into the transformed people that I do regularly, so are not confronted with these evidences. But since I’ve spent most of my life with society’s rejects, they become pretty obvious to me. I can’t help it.

  9. Dan Says:

    You don’t understand the term Confirmation Bias, do you? Try looking it up in Wikipedia for starters.