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Gordon Taylor

Retired engineer

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Are people of faith in fact gullible?

Gullibility is the belief in something with no substantiating facts to support that something. I contend that if you believe in something based upon Scripture, whichever religion you belong to then you are gullible. That is not to mean evil or stupid but simply gullible. This also differs somewhat from credulous depending on what actions you take in support of your beliefs or faith.

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    Apr 21 2013: While some theists are much smarter and wiser than I, I just think they are wrong on the gods or goddesses question.

    I guess they agree with me about all the god concepts they don't believe in.

    But respect their right to follow whatever religion etc as long as it doesn't harm others.

    I guess the degree of gulibility depends on their religious beliefs and how they came to them, how much they have tested and evaluated them.

    E.g. A deist belief is probably less gullible than believing in a specific detailed dogma such as scientology or christianity with an interventionist god and lots of dogma.

    Trusting with out testing the claims is more gullible than critically reviewing and believing there is sufficient evidence to believe in the claims.
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        Apr 26 2013: Hi Chris, Dawkins is just one atheist, with a higher profile than most. There is not an atheist dogma. We dont even agree on the definition of atheist most the time. His views on Christianity are his own.

        I agree it seems he picks on the most literalist interpretations often. But I suggest a fair portion of Christians believe in some of these aspects.

        As an atheist you can only speak about the specifics of one religious belief system at a time.

        Personally I have found no compelling evidence or sufficient reasoning to believe in any god or goddesses concepts that warrant being called gods or goddesses, even the deistic. The more specific beliefs contradict so can not all be correct. The ones I have looked have their own rationale why theirs is correct, which I have found flawed
        Eg resurrection, no proof it happened
        Koran could only come from god, not convincing.
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        Apr 27 2013: Hi chris if you would accept the stories and claims of miracles and eye witnesses for the bible, why not for all the other religions?

        Isnt it possible humans built up the stories for their own purposes, borrowing from other religions, to build a legend, and fit a messianic profile.

        No independent mention of jesus, his existence, his miracles, his crucifixion, during his life. No way to separate fact from fantasy.

        He didn't even write anything down.

        Apparently tombs opened up and saints were walking around, yet nothing recorded ever found outside of biased followers.

        We seem to have different standards of evidence.

        Its all possible, but so is every other similar myth.

        If your particular interpretation is correct it seems god is incompetent, or obtuse, or the catchall very mysterious ways
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        Apr 28 2013: And im just disagreeing that if something is in scripture or oral stories even if they describe miracles in front of witnesses then that is sufficient proof of extraordinary claims.

        The bible says the red sea parted in front of all the hebrews. I just don't find the bible says so sufficient
        Proof.

        I also get you may differentiate between some religious writings and stories based on some code, and look for connections. Not sure how maori creation stories fit in your world view, or aztec, or Babylonian.

        Im not chastising. Just stating my point of view that religious writings, even with codes is not sufficient evidence there is a god and associated miracles or even the words and actions attributed to jesus or moses were actually said by them. Could be. But the more extraordinary the claim, the more i would be looking for evidence to corroborate.

        Actually you seem to be referring to non kabella practitioners as preschoolers.

        There are messages even in the trivial sense that we can take from scriptures. Homosexuality and materialism bad etc in the bible. We can see parallels or make connections that can apply to our lives today. People are people. Why should we be surprised if religious writings say things relevant to the human condition. You say you have an understanding of some deeper level messages. Fine. These messages may not be from a god. There may not be a god. This could all be man made.

        Say a religious scripture makes a prediction that comes to fruition. Does that make every other claim in it something we should accept without further evidence?

        Based on what you have described, i haven't heard anything that makes me think it more likely a god exists. Just my point of view - possible but convincing.

        One can ask for evidence. We have different perspectives on the evidence and come to different conclusions. Im not trying to change your mind. Just engaging in a discussion.

        You claim your point of view is the truth. For me your view is an open question.
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        Apr 28 2013: Hi chris, i define atheist as not having a belief in gods. It does not mean i claim to know there are no gods or goddesses. In my opinion theists or deists i have come across haven't met the burden of proof that their concept of god exists.

        No issue if they disagree. People can believe what they want.

        Not sure why you think you need to be a theist to have an opinion on gods, religion etc. im not a classical musician or economist. So should i refrain from expressing an opinion on these too?
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        Apr 28 2013: Hi chris, im just a human being.
        I have one of the most powerful brains/minds we have reasonable evidence actually exist, along with other humans. Yet most of us are not that well equipped to understand even the highest levels of scientific knowledge our species has achieved. And we have intuition engines for quick assumption making, primal instincts, limited senses, social considerations, that may impair even our limited ability to reason.

        I think my point that if your view is correct, from what little i understand of it, then god or whatever has not done a great job of being convincing that it exists in a particular form to the masses, or open minded but reasonably sceptical people.

        The bits of the bible that you would consider should be taken non literally are not the reason i am an atheist. I have investigated other beliefs and various arguments for the existence of gods, and for me it remains an open question, with insufficient reason or evidence to believe in any of them i have looked at. Every theist or deist has or had their own view, so i dont know all god views. Just what i have seen, over many years seems to point to spiritual beliefs being cultural constructs, informed by unreliable interpretations of so called conflicting revelations that may just be psychologica phenomena. The more generic arguments i have examined are also flawed, fallacious, or insufficient in my opinion.

        I wouldn't say atheism is comforting for me. Its just honest. I have no contempt for religion in general. No issue with love based beliefs. I do oppose the hate based beliefs. I look at each relious or spiritual view on its merits with my limited capabilities coming to the best but imperfect conclusions i am capable of. My views today are more refined than 10 years ago, and very different from 29 years ago. I expect they will continue to evolve.

        I have no contempt for people honestly exploring, putting forward their point of view. I just find some positions wrong or unproven.
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        Apr 28 2013: Also, i am time pressed sometimes so often dont add the words that soften what i say, so the tone may come across as blunt.

        I not angry or stirred up when commenting. Occasionally a little perplexed.

        Actually a little bit of frustration is fine, just not violence or attacking the person.

        Sometimes disagreeing bluntly with a religious world view that is part of a persons deeply held beliefs, can be felt as a personal attack, but i try to address the ideas and not judge the person,

        Re your question, i answered it in part above about the comfort factor. There are so many views of gods and goddesses, i dont have a strong view on most. Im not sure it is contempt but god concepts requiring animal or human sacrifice or create beings and send many to eternal torment are not really something to respect imo. Loving gods, no problem.hating jealous gods, not so good.

        I apologise if my disagreement on some religious points of view comes across as contempt. That is not my intent. Im just trying to unpack the arguments, consider and respond. Some i just find flawed just as christians find mormon or islamic arguments for why their doctrine is correct flawed. The uncaused cause argument is a pretty poor one in my view after years of consideration. If an argument is fallacious and i point it out, this is discussion, not contempt.

        As i have stated, smarter, wiser, more compassionate people than i ascribe to contradictory religious and spiritual beliefs, that i find unsubstantiated. If anything, i may discuss energetically, but i appreciate the stickiness, attraction, even the way our minds are amenable to agency assumption, profound psychological experiences, tied to these beliefs. I appreciate these belifs are linked to identity and meaning. But we should be able to debate and discuss and disagree peacefully, even if it upsets or frustrates people at times.

        Again, i try look at the ideas and arguments. In some cases i think the argument is flawed and i say so.
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        Apr 28 2013: Other times the ideas or arguments are better than my own, so i take them on board.

        There was one discussion where someone stated given there either is a god or not, two outcomes, so the probability of a god existing is 50%. I disagree, point out why, wait for a response, read, understand, and still disagree, try again to explain primary school probability. In the end no issue if we agree to disagree.

        I think another source if tension is god is a psychological plug that works for some even though it just pushes back questions.

        As an atheist, you come across so many variants of god beliefs, that contradict and can not all be correct. You argue one god concept on a particular point, then another pops up that is not unreasonable on that particular point. its like the hammer game hitting hamsters. I guess i need to be more careful. Maybe someone on ted has found the absolute truth and has sufficient evidence of this.

        I also disagree with other atheists on some god or religion related topics.
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        Apr 28 2013: I agree chris faith is a personal choice in free countries.

        A really good question is what would it take to convince most atheists that an invisible, immaterial, interventionist god exists.

        I guess a powerful and smart god could be more obvious if it chose to. Its not for me to guess or judge the intent of gods, but others claim to know. Im not sure if there is a hell in your view. The idea of helping and assisting is beneficial or at least benign. Other views if correct, well i would have hoped a god that would send you to hell for not meeting its conditions should be more obvious.

        If a god was as obvious as the moon, or another person, well is that too much to ask. As it is there is barely a hint that gods exist in terms of evidence. Most theists point to humans having god beliefs and other indirect and inconclusive evidence, or personal experiences which i find hard to differentiate from experiences with no supernatural component. They could just be going on in our head. Then nde, which could also be in peoples heads. Etc. there are those that believe honestly they have seen faeries or been abducted by aliens. Could be, but as it stands we dont have sufficient evidence imo.

        I agree this is only based on my limited life experience and senses. Others may have found compelling evidence, or have latched onto some spiritual truth via some other mysterious channel.

        Again, others may disagree and that is fine. I have no issue with people choosing to practice peaceful religions. But also see no issue discussing and debating regardless of my status as a believer or non believer in any particular faith.

        We probably stand together defending or supporting freedom of religion within reasonable limits.

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