Benefits Of Believing In God?
As I think through my theory of mind, I try to work out how odd things could be explained – that is to say can my theory of mind make sense of oddities of human thinking and action.
If you are not aware, you can scoot back and read it by searching for the phrase “My World View – Free Will”
Go on, I’ll pause while you read … it’s a lot of reading.
Okay then, all caught up?
We all live in the simulation of the world that we run inside our brains. As children we learn the rules of how objects behave along with how our bodies work. By puberty we generally have that sort of stuff figured out to some level of confidence, and we have been solving problems for 7+ years or learning to. Religion teaches children the pat answers to some questions before they have a chance to ask them
- Why are we here?
- How did we get here?
- What is the purpose of life?
That means that these children have been given rules for their simulation that relieve them of having to solve difficult problems. Their simulator has been ‘trained’ to accept magic as an answer for some problems which go outside the scope of day to day activities. Their simulators treat ghosts, demons, angels, gods as real objects, as real as cars or trees and places they’ve never seen but know are real.
Learning new things gets difficult as you get older. The longer a rule is in place, the more difficult it is to change. For ease of explanation lets call the effect of changing a rule an Equivalency of Pain or Stress (EoPS) except it has no physical sensations. It triggers the same responses though. For that reason we are often reticent to change our minds where a rule change is required. It is easier to compartmentalize or ignore facts that are contrary to our simulator model rules than it is to change the rules.
This is why dramatic experiences are often associated with leaving religion. Such events cause us to reject a rule or several because observation does not match the rule(s) we built.
This acceptance of magic rules attributes causes a lot of problems. Magic is not localized or temporal, it can happen anywhere and any time. Before long, all good things come from the good magic and all bad things come from the bad magic. That is how the rules work in the simulation in the brain. Odd justifications can happen as we try to account for observation against our rule sets. We need good in schools, so we must need good magic and thus we need god in schools. Those who have these magic rules can’t think otherwise without having to change their rules which in turn will cause them pain (EoPS) so they avoid it until it is more painful to not change the rules.
Those of you who were devoutly religious once, think about the journey you took that changed the rules in your head. The ways that you slowly dismantled the rules and rebuilt them with new rules so that you had the answers to the same questions, perhaps more answers or better ones, but you had to rebuild the rules of how the world works to do it.
This mechanism of change is commonly known. We’ve all seen stories about boot camp where they try to break the recruits, right? That is an intense period of changing rules and creating new rules in the minds of the recruits. When they are done with boot camp, they have new ways of thinking. Higher education does this also, just slower and with more information being added.
What does this mean for how we can stop magical thinking? Stay tuned. I’ve got some studying to do.
What do you think?