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Grace Seeker
11-08-2010, 10:57 PM
I came across an interesting book that puts forth some thought provoking ideas. While one could apply them to any aspect of life, including one's religious views, they weren't written with that in mind, so I'm not encouraging anyone to read anything of that sort into them.

The big thesis is that we all practice a little bit of self-deception, fooling ourselves into believing things that we know are not true, but living with them as if they were and blithely ignoring the internal conflict an act such as lying to one's self should produce.

The author, Ten Elshof, says, "If you caught yourself in the lie, you'd miss out on the satisfaction that comes from believing, really believing, [the lie you're hanging onto in that moment]." He says, "Life offers me a deal. … The beliefs I have about myself and others do not need to be true to bring me satisfaction. I only need to believe them." He thus candidly concludes, "So it shouldn't be a shock to us that many have taken the deal. … And what's alarming is that, had I taken the deal [of managing to actually believe things in the face of evidence to the contrary] it would seem to me … that I had not."

Convoluted thinking? Yes. But how else, other than convoluted thinking, are we going to be able to get away with the act of self-deception?

Elshof suggests people deceive themselves in at least five ways:
1.Attention management. We selectively pay attention only to the claims that accord with our perception of the truth—and ignore all the data that threaten to undo it.
2. Procrastination. We say (my words not Ten Elshof's), "It's okay for me not to do that now because I will do that soon," when in reality we have not resolved to get that done.
3. Perspective switching. We borrow the perspective of others, as King David apparently did when for more than a year he looked at himself quite guiltlessly from the vantage point of those who had no idea of his complicity in the murder of Uriah.
4. Rationalization. We justify ourselves with irrelevant reasons that don't truly apply to the situation.
5. Re-sentiment. We re-order our sentiments by denying that we care about something dear to us or by somehow cloaking our vulnerability.
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جوري
11-08-2010, 11:06 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
Convoluted thinking? Yes. But how else, other than convoluted thinking, are we going to be able to get away with the act of self-deception?

that could indeed prove fruitful -- Let us know when you have shed the notion of a dying God then and let go of the self-deception!

all the best
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Muhaba
11-09-2010, 05:06 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
I came across an interesting book that puts forth some thought provoking ideas. While one could apply them to any aspect of life, including one's religious views, they weren't written with that in mind, so I'm not encouraging anyone to read anything of that sort into them.

The big thesis is that we all practice a little bit of self-deception, fooling ourselves into believing things that we know are not true, but living with them as if they were and blithely ignoring the internal conflict an act such as lying to one's self should produce.

The author, Ten Elshof, says, "If you caught yourself in the lie, you'd miss out on the satisfaction that comes from believing, really believing, [the lie you're hanging onto in that moment]." He says, "Life offers me a deal. … The beliefs I have about myself and others do not need to be true to bring me satisfaction. I only need to believe them." He thus candidly concludes, "So it shouldn't be a shock to us that many have taken the deal. … And what's alarming is that, had I taken the deal [of managing to actually believe things in the face of evidence to the contrary] it would seem to me … that I had not."

Convoluted thinking? Yes. But how else, other than convoluted thinking, are we going to be able to get away with the act of self-deception?

Elshof suggests people deceive themselves in at least five ways:
1.Attention management. We selectively pay attention only to the claims that accord with our perception of the truth—and ignore all the data that threaten to undo it.
2. Procrastination. We say (my words not Ten Elshof's), "It's okay for me not to do that now because I will do that soon," when in reality we have not resolved to get that done.
3. Perspective switching. We borrow the perspective of others, as King David apparently did when for more than a year he looked at himself quite guiltlessly from the vantage point of those who had no idea of his complicity in the murder of Uriah.
4. Rationalization. We justify ourselves with irrelevant reasons that don't truly apply to the situation.
5. Re-sentiment. We re-order our sentiments by denying that we care about something dear to us or by somehow cloaking our vulnerability.
Does that mean you've realized that you've been deceiving yourself about your faith? I hope so.

Originally Posted by Vale's Lily
that could indeed prove fruitful -- Let us know when you have shed the notion of a dying God then and let go of the self-deception!

all the best
haha couldn't have said it better myself!
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Ramadhan
11-09-2010, 06:49 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
The big thesis is that we all practice a little bit of self-deception, fooling ourselves into believing things that we know are not true, but living with them as if they were and blithely ignoring the internal conflict an act such as lying to one's self should produce.

Wow.
This perfectly apply in your situation, Grace Seeker.
I wonder how long you will keep ignoring all those conflicts in the bible and deceiving yourself to believe that it is true.
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caadam
11-09-2010, 07:08 AM
I know how that is... it brings a dull panic over my heart when thinking about what I believe in. I mean, I say I'm Christian on this board, but it's only because right now I relate to that faith the most. I can't say I'm something else or nothing at all. The matter being that my faith in knowing there is God is through the Bible, but... there are things in the Bible that my heart and mind can't believe because of a lack of logic. I know there are Christian brothers and sisters out there who probably feel sad seeing me write that, but it's true.

I just want to know the truth, and not deceive myself in order to feel all right about something that I know is most likely not true. More and more it makes me want to understand Islam, actually.
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glo
11-09-2010, 07:13 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
I came across an interesting book that puts forth some thought provoking ideas. While one could apply them to any aspect of life, including one's religious views, they weren't written with that in mind, so I'm not encouraging anyone to read anything of that sort into them.
Given that this thread is in the general section and not the comparative religions one, perhaps we can follow Grace Seekers suggestion to not read it specifically from a religious perspective (as so far everybody seems to have done)?


The big thesis is that we all practice a little bit of self-deception, fooling ourselves into believing things that we know are not true, but living with them as if they were and blithely ignoring the internal conflict an act such as lying to one's self should produce.
I suppose that we sometimes believe things we have been taught, and that unless we experience a moment of questioning or doubt, we are not even aware that what we believe is a lie.
In that instance we are not lying to ourselves, we are simply believing a lie. (Which I don't think is the same thing)
Once we realise that what we have believed is not true, we may still try to hang on to it by using the methos the author describes.
I guess letting go of something we believed to be true, and something which perhaps society around us believes to be true, can be very painful and hard. We might find ourselves isolated or ostracised as a result ...


I am trying to think of an example of something which I may have believed to be true in the past, but don't anymore.
Problem is, the only things I can think of are likely to be contentious or emotive and take this thread off topic. Perhaps I need a bit more time to think of a good example.


Elshof suggests people deceive themselves in at least five ways:
1.Attention management. We selectively pay attention only to the claims that accord with our perception of the truth—and ignore all the data that threaten to undo it.
2. Procrastination. We say (my words not Ten Elshof's), "It's okay for me not to do that now because I will do that soon," when in reality we have not resolved to get that done.
3. Perspective switching. We borrow the perspective of others, as King David apparently did when for more than a year he looked at himself quite guiltlessly from the vantage point of those who had no idea of his complicity in the murder of Uriah.
4. Rationalization. We justify ourselves with irrelevant reasons that don't truly apply to the situation.
5. Re-sentiment. We re-order our sentiments by denying that we care about something dear to us or by somehow cloaking our vulnerability.
Reply

glo
11-09-2010, 07:25 AM
Originally Posted by caadam
I know how that is... it brings a dull panic over my heart when thinking about what I believe in. ... there are things in the Bible that my heart and mind can't believe because of a lack of logic.
I think you describe that feeling really well, sister.

That sense of panic that something which we have believed may not be true.
A sense of fear and loss of direction, uncertainty, insecurity ...

I think it requires us to step back, take time out, hear and read what others have to say, broaden our understanding, pray for guidance and finally (hopefully) find a place where we are sure about ourselves again, and where we can firmly and with conviction say 'I believe!'.

Despite being keen to keep this discussion beyond the religious arena (only because I fear it will simply lead to pointless debates rather than address the topic at hand), I have to say that I have had similar feelings and thoughts about some Bible passages, caadam, and my own journey has taken me to question and scrutinise them and to seek God about them, to study and understand them - and to find my own path.
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GuestFellow
11-09-2010, 12:17 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
The big thesis is that we all practice a little bit of self-deception, fooling ourselves into believing things that we know are not true, but living with them as if they were and blithely ignoring the internal conflict an act such as lying to one's self should produce.
How ironic...

Elshof suggests people deceive themselves in at least five ways:

1.Attention management. We selectively pay attention only to the claims that accord with our perception of the truth—and ignore all the data that threaten to undo it.

2. Procrastination. We say (my words not Ten Elshof's), "It's okay for me not to do that now because I will do that soon," when in reality we have not resolved to get that done.

3. Perspective switching. We borrow the perspective of others, as King David apparently did when for more than a year he looked at himself quite guiltlessly from the vantage point of those who had no idea of his complicity in the murder of Uriah.

4. Rationalization. We justify ourselves with irrelevant reasons that don't truly apply to the situation.

5. Re-sentiment. We re-order our sentiments by denying that we care about something dear to us or by somehow cloaking our vulnerability.
As you mentioned, this can apply to any aspect of life, especially nationalists. I will have to keep a mental note of this. XD
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Woodrow
11-09-2010, 01:37 PM
We humans are quite complex we all carry with us various systems of beliefs and attitudes, the development of these are a continuous growth process that is live long. The formation of beliefs (any belief) is quite complex. Before I address that I want to say a little about beliefs in general:

There are a minimum of 3 belief systems we each follow.

1. Proven Beliefs---These are things that are readily verifiable, replicable and carry indisputable proof based upon observable proof. Things such as "Water is a necessity for life" this can be verified by the fact living creatures die if they are deprived of water. and other observable factors.

2. Self Evident Beliefs-- These are things we take to be true with no evidence needed, most things in this category are simply definition. such as a triangle has 3 angles. It does not take much to see that is the definition of a triangle so therefore a triangle has 3 angles. But, things are not always that clear. We all carry with us beliefs that have never been challenged, we base our belief upon experience and projection of other things. We have never had these beliefs challenged so we live with the basic assumption they are true.

4. Hidden Beliefs--These are similar to self evident beliefs. this falls into the realm of things like "Common sense" "horse sense" etc. Like self evident beliefs they have never been challenged. But these are beliefs we do not even know we have until somebody makes a statement that challenges or contradicts them. They can be quite emotional, as we do not know we have the belief, but when somebody contradicts it we usually bet quite defensive and even angry. Our response is almost always on the emotional level and not based on logic.

Now going back and based upon what Grace Seeker posted. We all are capable of deceiving our selves.Self deception occurs in the conscious/proven level, but is made by us seeking means to alter some of our self evident beliefs and indirectly make new hidden beliefs. In order to prevent doing that we need to constantly seek verification and proof of all things. We also need to always be honest in all things, especially with us. Today's lie we fabricate just may turn into something we end up believing tomorrow. A good reason to avoid deceive others, because when we deceive others we eventually deceive ourselves.











Did anybody notice I typed 4 instead of 3 above. Did you believe it was a typo or did you hold off deciding until you read the entire post and got here and now know I did so deliberatly?
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GuestFellow
11-09-2010, 03:00 PM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
A good reason to avoid deceive others, because when we deceive others we eventually deceive ourselves.
:sl:

Does this apply to pathological or compulsive liars?

Pathological liars attempt to deceive others without feeling remorse from what I understand. As for compulsive liars, these people lie without realising it or sometimes lie to make themselves feel good. In some cases, these people actually believe the lies that they tell until after a while.

Did anybody notice I typed 4 instead of 3 above. Did you believe it was a typo or did you hold off deciding until you read the entire post and got here and now know I did so deliberatly?
I didn't even notice that they were numbered. :X
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Muhaba
11-09-2010, 03:06 PM
Originally Posted by glo

Despite being keen to keep this discussion beyond the religious arena (only because I fear it will simply lead to pointless debates rather than address the topic at hand), I have to say that I have had similar feelings and thoughts about some Bible passages, caadam, and my own journey has taken me to question and scrutinise them and to seek God about them, to study and understand them - and to find my own path.
Why not make a separate thread about them and we can discuss them and go over them one by one.
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جوري
11-09-2010, 04:02 PM
Originally Posted by muhaba
Why not make a separate thread about them and we can discuss them and go over them one by one.

That is just glo making a final plea to our new member in her own special way.. I am surprised the I have been on this forum for four whole years and a christian still hasn't reared its ugly head but I am sure there are more tactful ways around it or perhaps the PM system and CP can also prove of value!
if you are looking for a rational debate with a christian I honestly wouldn't count on it!

:w:
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glo
11-09-2010, 04:32 PM
Originally Posted by τhε ṿαlε'ṡ lïlÿ


That is just glo making a final plea to our new member in her own special way.. I am surprised the I have been on this forum for four whole years and a christian still hasn't reared its ugly head but I am sure there are more tactful ways around it or perhaps the PM system and CP can also prove of value!
if you are looking for a rational debate with a christian I honestly wouldn't count on it!

:w:
This thread is not about religious debate, Lily.
It isn't even in the comparative religions section ...

We have had many, many discussions and debates about Biblical issues in the CR section, and I disagree with you that there were not intelligent or rational. I have learnt and broadened my horizons and understandings and beliefs in this forum beyond my wildest imagination - by reading and engaging with the thoughts of others (Christians, Muslims and many others).

We have fabulous discussions and exchanges here - providing people can stay civil, be respectful towards each other and accept that others may have different viewpoints or beliefs ... :hmm:

The issue Grace Seeker is raising in this thread (I think) is how our own beliefs can be challenged, and what happens when we allow our beliefs to be challenged.
Where do we go from there?
How do we admit our doubts and questions?
How do we move on from what we realise was wrong to something new and truer and purer?

Grace, am I understanding your original post correctly?
What is the title of the book you are referring to?
It sounds very interesting indeed. :)
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جوري
11-09-2010, 04:44 PM
Originally Posted by glo
This thread is not about religious debate, Lily.
It isn't even in the comparative religions section ...
and?
We have had many, many discussions and debates about Biblical issues in the CR section, and I disagree with you that there were not intelligent or rational. I have learnt and broadened my horizons and understandings and beliefs in this forum beyond my wildest imagination - by reading and engaging with the thoughts of others (Christians, Muslims and many others).
That is a little subjective-- what would you like me to do with your testimony?
We have fabulous discussions and exchanges here - providing people can stay civil, be respectful towards each other and accept that others may have different viewpoints or beliefs ... :hmm:
Indeed!
The issue Grace Seeker is raising in this thread (I think) is how our own beliefs can be challenged, and what happens when we allow our beliefs to be challenged.
Where do we go from there?
How do we admit our doubts and questions?
How do we move on from what we realise was wrong to something new and truer and purer?
good to know..

all the best
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titus
11-09-2010, 04:59 PM
Anyone find it funny the number of people that post on this thread and immediately think it does not apply to them, but only those that believe differently than they do?
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GuestFellow
11-09-2010, 05:09 PM
^ Your far too easily amused. I've failed to see the hilarity behind this topic. XD
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جوري
11-09-2010, 05:11 PM
Originally Posted by titus
Anyone find it funny the number of people that post on this thread and immediately think it does not apply to them, but only those that believe differently than they do?
you are the only one, you must amuse easily!

all the best
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جوري
11-09-2010, 05:12 PM
Originally Posted by ProfessorSunday
^ Your far too easily amused.

:haha: you beat me to it!
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titus
11-09-2010, 05:22 PM
Someday, Vale, I'll be like you and know everything and being completely self aware.

Until then I guess I am doomed to walk the world deceiving myself and being amused too easily.
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جوري
11-09-2010, 05:30 PM
Originally Posted by titus
Until then I guess I am doomed to walk the world deceiving myself and being amused too easily.

hey whatever gets you through Vicissitudes of daily life, I am all for it.. you should grab amusement where you can find it!

all the best
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Woodrow
11-09-2010, 09:12 PM
Originally Posted by ProfessorSunday
:sl:

Does this apply to pathological or compulsive liars?

Pathological liars attempt to deceive others without feeling remorse from what I understand. As for compulsive liars, these people lie without realising it or sometimes lie to make themselves feel good. In some cases, these people actually believe the lies that they tell until after a while.



I didn't even notice that they were numbered. :X
It does not apply for Pathological liars. They know they are liers and have no feeling of guilt or remorse. They have a very immoral personality and believe that they are above any need of guilt. It does apply to a compulsive liar. There is an old saying that if you tell enough lies long enough to enough people, people will believe it. In the case of the compulsive liar they have lied to themselves so much they can no longer differentiate the difference between lie and truth.
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GuestFellow
11-09-2010, 10:27 PM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
It does not apply for Pathological liars. They know they are liars and have no feeling of guilt or remorse. They have a very immoral personality and believe that they are above any need of guilt. It does apply to a compulsive liar.
:sl:

I think with Pathological liars, it is a lot more complicated.

Liars' brains 'are not the same'

As Dr Cosmo Hallstrom said, the issue is whether this behaviour is under voluntary control. There could be many other mental disorders associated with pathological liars.

There is an old saying that if you tell enough lies long enough to enough people, people will believe it. In the case of the compulsive liar they have lied to themselves so much they can no longer differentiate the difference between lie and truth.
There is an element of truth behind this. I think complusive liars remember their lies for a short period of times. People can spot inconsistencies in their stories, because a complusive liar will not be able to remember all the lies which they have told. The moment when they lie is the moment when they cannot tell the different between truth or lie.
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glo
11-10-2010, 07:08 AM
Originally Posted by titus
Anyone find it funny the number of people that post on this thread and immediately think it does not apply to them, but only those that believe differently than they do?
I take titus' point that we have a tendency to consider our own beliefs and stand-points to be the truth, and therefore - by definition - everybody else's false.
But we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that - at least in the philosophical and religious arena - truth is a difficult concept because it cannot be proven.
Perhaps the term 'lie' is quite strong in that context, and we should think of it as something which an individual has come to consider as untrue or unconvincing.

Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
The big thesis is that we all practice a little bit of self-deception, fooling ourselves into believing things that we know are not true, but living with them as if they were and blithely ignoring the internal conflict an act such as lying to one's self should produce.
I have been thinking about an example of this in my own life.

I don't know if it fits, but I will try ...

Some years ago I was with a church, which took the Bible very literally and which pretty much denied evolution.
Now, I don't think I have ever not believed in evolution. To my understanding and in my mind the evidence for evolution is just too strong to deny it.
Now, however, I found myself in a group of people which I loved and admired very much on very many levels ... but which taught something I could not truly believe in.

That situation did create a tension for me.
I don't think I ever stopped believing in evolution, but I found strategies to justify in my own mind quietly going along with that belief, rather than saying openly 'I think you are wrong, because ...' or 'I don't share your belief of ...'

I tried to convince myself that it didn't matter and that it wasn't important enough for me to be honest with the others. Rationalization.
I tried to focus my attention on the beliefs we did share rather than the ones we didn't. Attention management
Perhaps somewhere I feared not being part of the group anymore, if I admitted my difference in views and beliefs. Re-sentiment.

Finally, I could not hold that tension any longer.
I felt that I was not truthful to the people of the church, to myself and to God.

Being able to say 'I disagree with you' (and to finally go elsewhere) was liberating and refreshing.

Actually, if I think about it, having exposed myself to so many different beliefs and view-points in the past few years has eroded my thinking of 'I am right and you are wrong'.
That sense of certainty that I am right has been replaced with a sense of 'I cannot possibly be 100% right. Nobody can. But I am doing the best I can to my best knowledge and effort. And I am willing to be mouldable and flexible and allow myself to learn, change and grow.'

Perhaps being fixated and rigid in one's thinking and beliefs, and refusing to consider other views is more harmful - because it prevents us from growing and developing?
Perhaps believing that our views and beliefs are perfect prevents us from actually perfecting them?


Hope this early-morning-monologue makes sense to anybody!! :D
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aadil77
11-10-2010, 09:58 AM
interesting thread, I admire some peoples sincerity here
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جوري
11-10-2010, 01:47 PM
Originally Posted by glo
Hope this early-morning-monologue makes sense to anybody!!

to yourself undoubtedly -- but hey that is all that matters..
questioning ones way of thinking and believing that one can't sincerely be right 100% of the time, would require that one makes some life style alterations to obtain some satisfactory level of a perceived perfection. If you find yourself holding on to the same views you believe as rigid 'only as pertains to other people' then you have made a 360 unfortunately and come out none the wiser.. only with much more psychobabble with which to loan yourself credence to those who can't cut through the bull!

all the best
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Grace Seeker
11-10-2010, 03:43 PM
Originally Posted by titus
Anyone find it funny the number of people that post on this thread and immediately think it does not apply to them, but only those that believe differently than they do?

Yes. And just a tad ironic as well given the theme of self-deception. But whatchya gonna do? I would like to think myself above behaving that way, but sadly that would just prove the author's original point. Whether there are others who really are above this practice, or just so ensconced in it they are blind to their own idiosyncrasies, I don't believe it is for me to say.
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Grace Seeker
11-10-2010, 04:42 PM
Originally Posted by ProfessorSunday
As you mentioned, this can apply to any aspect of life, especially nationalists. I will have to keep a mental note of this. XD
Yes, I think you are right. It can happen with anything that is important to us. Let me take a trivial (to me) topic to illustrate. My brother and I are both baseball fans, meaning that we enjoy the sport both playing it and watching it. But he is a Chicago Cubs fan and I am a St. Louis Cardinal fan, meaning fanatic. That is we get so wrapped up in our favorite team that we can become oblivious to its failings and refuse to recognize the other's positives. This is "necessitated" in our lives by the fact that our two teams are archrivals. Which, should you know about my relationship with my brother, is exactly why we root for them the way we do. The competitive aspect of our relationship "necessitates" that we pick different rather than the same team to root for. And so, a few years ago when they traded players with one another, our view of the talents of the two individuals involved in the trade changed 180 degrees based not on their on the field performance, but on the uniform they were wearing. Did we know better? Certainly, we love the game and know who is and who isn't good, both of these players were actually just mediocre, but when they were on our team, like a true fanatic, we considered them great! So bad are we, that at the end of the season, we don't examine which team had the better overall record, but which team one the head-to-head competion between each other for bragging rights.

Now, sadly, this fanaticism is not confined to the way people feel about baseball teams. Nationalism being a case in point. Such ways of thinking were one of the incipient causes to the first World War and the failure to resolve those issues allowed WWII to like a phoenix rise from the ashes of the first conflagration. And, I am convinced, nationalism remains behind the lack of progress in settling the present conflicts in the middle east.

And lest it seems like I am pointing my finger at other countries and deceiving myself with respect to my own country's faults, I am sometimes appauled at what passes for patriotism here. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have heard people refer to the phrase, "My country right or wrong, but always my country." They offer it seeming to think this is the height of patriotism. Yet, to me is speaks of the exact opposite and an implication that one does not care whether the country is right or wrong. How could that be truly patriotic? Yet, this view fills our nations ransk with volunteers whenever some alleged threat is perceived. And others, unable to go into military service, gladly give away all their rights to the government which then uses its power against its own citizenry. And we applaud them for doing so -- self-deception by the masses.


Originally Posted by glo
Given that this thread is in the general section and not the comparative religions one, perhaps we can follow Grace Seekers suggestion to not read it specifically from a religious perspective (as so far everybody seems to have done)?
Thank-you, I did choose to post it in general and not Comparative Religion, because if we can become fanatical about sports and country, how much more so on this forum might we respond that way about our various religious beliefs. But surely we do need to look at this aspect of self-deception as well. But I would encourage each of us to look at our own, rather than someone else's. The words of the prophet Isaiah make it clear how each person needs to check his/her own behavior to see if they reflect our alleged beliefs:
The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
(Isaiah 29:13)
Those words apply to more than just the people of Isaiah's day, Jesus saw it in his own time (cf. Mark 7:6), those members of my congregation that claim to worship God, but want to see the American flag flying above the Christian flag might just fit this description as well, and within Islam, the different expressions of jihad might be yet another example of this behavior by at least some. The practice seems to be so common as to give me cause to think it might even be universal. Yet, who among us would see ourselves as living so hypocritically? Is this perhaps, again, just the art of self-deception. We greet people on the street, "Hi, how are you?" without actually caring to hear the answer. We offer saluations, "all the best" when our other words convey that we don't even wish people well, let alone the best.

I believe Woodrow sums it up best:

Originally Posted by Woodrow
We all are capable of deceiving our selves. Self deception occurs in the conscious/proven level, but is made by us seeking means to alter some of our self evident beliefs and indirectly make new hidden beliefs. In order to prevent doing that we need to constantly seek verification and proof of all things. We also need to always be honest in all things, especially with us. Today's lie we fabricate just may turn into something we end up believing tomorrow. A good reason to avoid deceive others, because when we deceive others we eventually deceive ourselves.
Ultimately it really isn't about fanatical sports, national or religious identifications. It is about something within human character. I've got to be right, and therefore..... That's it. We don't finish the sentence, because the completion of that sentence isn't what's really important to us. It is the desire to be right which becomes so strong that we assume it to be true, regardless the evidence, like with my brother and our sports team. Don't confuse me with the facts, things like win-loss records or championships, I know my team is better than yours, so anything you say that might even suggest a different conclusion simply has to be wrong and everything I say has to be right. While we would never put it so bluntly, we are much to sophisticated to do that, the reality is that this is exactly what so many disputes come down to, and that in and of itself simply affirms that we are each engaged in the classical art of self-deception.
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Grace Seeker
11-10-2010, 04:46 PM
Originally Posted by glo
What is the title of the book you are referring to?
It sounds very interesting indeed. :)
The same as the title of this thread. :statisfie
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Perseveranze
11-10-2010, 04:56 PM
My belief is completly based on "feeling", I believe something (religious sense) because it feels right/logical. Sometimes I am told something and I won't believe it just because that person told me, I will always do my own research on it from various angles and sources until I am satisfied with what is presented to me.

With Islam, questioning and gaining knowledge are all apart of it's faith.
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Muhaba
11-10-2010, 05:06 PM
Originally Posted by glo
Perhaps being fixated and rigid in one's thinking and beliefs, and refusing to consider other views is more harmful - because it prevents us from growing and developing?
Perhaps believing that our views and beliefs are perfect prevents us from actually perfecting them?
Actually, Islam encourages us to think and to question. Islam never tells us to believe blindly.

The fact is, i & i'm sure many others haven't blindly believed in what our religion teaches us. There were times when i wondered about things, for example one time i wondered, could it be true that we came out of nothing? what is the proof that God exists and that we weren't merely a product of evolution. I'm not sure why, but the questions were pretty strong, i think it was lack of scientific knowledge. (although i had these thoughts, i never stopped believing in my faith, however the questions were there in my mind.) however, a little scientific study was all i needed to know that it is impossible for life and the universe to have come into existence without an external highly intelligent source. I didn't need to study evolution. Only a bit of human biology and a little bit of info about astronomy was all that was needed to convince me.

so if you or grace seeker are suggesting that we have been blindly following our religion and need to rethink our faith, which sadly it seems like, then you are wrong.
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Grace Seeker
11-10-2010, 05:08 PM
Originally Posted by Perseveranze
My belief is completly based on "feeling", I believe something (religious sense) because it feels right/logical. Sometimes I am told something and I won't believe it just because that person told me, I will always do my own research on it from various angles and sources until I am satisfied with what is presented to me.

With Islam, questioning and gaining knowledge are all apart of it's faith.

With respect, Perseverance, this sounds amazingly similar to how Elshof see Christians being engaged in self-deception:

[Attention management] involves controlling what comes into my mind that involves belief formation. If I can turn my attention away from those things that do not support my beliefs, then I can succeed in retaining those beliefs I hold dear and avoid any change to my beliefs. For example, in forming beliefs about the truth of Christianity, I can conduct my inquiry in such a way as to systematically attend to evidence likely to support Christian belief and assiduously avoid evidence in the other direction. Over time, if I’m only or even primarily exposed to the evidence as presented by those with Christian sympathies, I may well find myself believing that Christianity is true, or I may find it easier to retain my belief if I’m already a Christian. One strategy, then, for acquiring and retaining beliefs that contribute to your own felt well-being is to attend exclusively or primarily to the evidence as presented by those sympathetic with the desired belief.
That, instead of a Christian, it would be a Muslim or Budhist or Hindu or other engaged in that sort of process would not, in my opinion, make the experience any less self-deceptive in nature. I'm not saying that you might not still arrive at the truth. One could. But the process itself could not guarantee to produce arrival at the truth the next time it was used any more than the flipping of a coin, though sometimes arriving at a good outcome, would be a guarantee of the right choice.
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Grace Seeker
11-10-2010, 05:11 PM
Originally Posted by muhaba
so if you or grace seeker are suggesting that we have been blindly following our religion and need to rethink our faith, which sadly it seems like, then you are wrong.

Whether you need to rethink your faith is not for me to say. I suspect that we all need to periodically reexamine not just our beliefs, but even our whole belief system and the process by which we assimilated our beliefs. But that is not what I am telling Muslims to do. If it isn't in your nature, then it isn't.


If you refer back to Woodrow's fine post in which he number different types of beliefs: #1--Proven Beliefs; #2--Self Evident Beliefs; and #4--Hidden Beliefs. I would like to suggest that the missing #3 is, Apriori Beliefs.

Apriori assumptions color even the way we accept or reject information as being relevant. In the book, I Told Me So, Elshof recounts the experience of Gina Welch, an atheist who went undercover into a major evangelical church, and concluded "evangelicals can offer arguments for Christianity but not for God." Might it not be that Ms. Welch's apriori beliefs that there is no God kept her from observing what you and I, despite our different religious views, would nonetheless concurr on -- that there is a god.
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truth finder
11-10-2010, 05:36 PM
Self-deception is a very interesting subject. People criticize each other for being self-deceived. Although there may be several tests to see if people are self-deceived or not, I propose one important test, “ability to criticize themselves”. Human beings are bound to make a mistake and believers are no exception. But admitting our own mistakes and weakness requires courage and maturity. In fact this is the greatest courage and maturity human beings can exercise. I often share with other people the following writing about one of the shameful mistakes our spiritual ancestors made to the Jewish people.

In the past we Christians made a very shameful mistake to Jews. With the wrong perception, we discriminated and persecuted Jewish people, even being silent when Nazi killed 6 million Jews. One of the main reasons was that it was Jews who persecuted and killed God’s prophets and even Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. But if we had been born and grown up in the Jewish culture at the time, we could have been in the crowd chanting for the death of Jesus. Because they expected liberation from Roman Empire through Jesus, they were greatly disappointed that Jesus was not interested in their political freedom, but instead in the forgiveness of our sins for eternal life. The rebellious Jewish people in the Bible time are just the reflection of all human beings before our Creator. Numerous times we have been rebellious and sinful before God just like the people of Israel were to God in the Bible time. In all the ugly things of the Jews of the Bible time, we see the sinful and destructive nature of all human beings including ourselves. Instead of condemning and hating Jews or other people, we need to be grieved over the sinful nature in us. We should be freed from this destructive and persistent power of sin through Jesus Christ.

I do admit that for the past two thousand years our spiritual forefathers did many cruel things to Jewish people in the name of God. They were in stark contrast to the unconditional sacrificial love of Jesus on the cross for all human beings. On behalf of our spiritual ancestors I and Christians sincerely apologize to all Jewish people.
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Grace Seeker
11-10-2010, 07:19 PM
Hearing from a different quarter, I present some reflections by T.S. Eliot:
Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm, but the harm does not interest them … or they do not see it, or they justify it … because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.
This wasn't originally written to address the idea of self-deception, but of narcissim. I wonder if that psychological pathology isn't simply one of many possible outcomes that begins with deceiving ourselves regarding our own place/value/significance in this world?
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glo
11-10-2010, 07:27 PM
Originally Posted by muhaba
so if you or grace seeker are suggesting that we have been blindly following our religion and need to rethink our faith, which sadly it seems like, then you are wrong.
How can I possibly sit in judgment of your faith?
And why would I want to?
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Muhaba
11-10-2010, 07:47 PM
Brother grace seeker, since you started this really awesome thread why don't you give us some examples of your own self-deception and maybe even narcissism, how you analyzed them, how you figued out they were lies and what you did or are doing about them, and in what way it affected / changed your life or behavior. Maybe with examples we can really see what you're talking about.
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glo
11-11-2010, 06:46 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
Apriori assumptions color even the way we accept or reject information as being relevant. In the book, I Told Me So, Elshof recounts the experience of Gina Welch, an atheist who went undercover into a major evangelical church, and concluded "evangelicals can offer arguments for Christianity but not for God." Might it not be that Ms. Welch's apriori beliefs that there is no God kept her from observing what you and I, despite our different religious views, would nonetheless concurr on -- that there is a god.
Interesting.

But isn't that something we all do - at least to a greater or lesser extend?
Receive and process new information on the basis of what we have experienced and learned before?

Isn't that why it often takes a prolonged exposure to new thinking/information/beliefs before we feel ready to step from our old beliefs to the new ones?

I remember reading two articles of people's personal journeys, which would fit into this thread wonderfully.
One was a newpaper article about young Muslims who trained to be terrorists, and how they turned away from their false beliefs that killing people was the right path.
The other was a website by somebody who used to hate homosexuals, and illustrated his journey how he came to realise that they were human beings just like him and how how came to work to support the LGBT community.

I am not sure whether I can find either of those, but if I do I will post them up here.
Both stories were fascinating and clearly described the process of letting go of one belief and taking on another.

Add-on:
Amazingly, just after writing this post I checked the activities of other members. One guest just happened to look at the thread I mentioned earlier.

Here is the original article from The Independent (16/11/2009)
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glo
11-12-2010, 05:55 AM
Originally Posted by glo


add-on:
Amazingly, just after writing this post i checked the activities of other members. One guest just happened to look at the thread i mentioned earlier.

Here is the original article from the independent (16/11/2009)
Re-reading the article in the context of this thread, here are a few key sentences which describe the process of moving from one set of beliefs/convictions to another:

Once the foundation stone of literalism was broken, he had to remake the concepts that had led him to Islamism one-by-one.
He says he found himself making arguments he once thought unthinkable ...
And for the first time in his life, Usama has begun to allow himself ...
Maajid's ideology crumbled. [...] But he says he found this epiphany excruciating. "I knew if I followed these thoughts wherever they would lead," he says, "I would go from being HT's poster boy to being their fallen angel."
When I first spoke out, I was alone. I had no idea that, a year on, there would be this number of people speaking out, and many more who are just offering resources and support. Once a truth is spoken, it takes on its own life.
I think it shows how painful a journey it can be to allow your beliefs/ideologies to be challenged, to be brave enough to admit to yourself that you were wrong and to go and do the right thing.

I love the final statement that once a truth is spoken you can't really turn back - or at least not without being a hypocrit and untrue to yourself ...
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Perseveranze
11-12-2010, 07:34 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
With respect, Perseverance, this sounds amazingly similar to how Elshof see Christians being engaged in self-deception:
Well, what can I say. I go on various Anti-Islamic sites and see their claims and then go and research these claims and see if Islam can refute them. And when someone tells me something (whether they be a Muslim/Non-Muslim), I won't just take their word of mouth for it, I'll always be sure to check the sources/backings of the Quran/Hadiths etc.

And up until now and Inshallah till my death, , the more knowledge I seek in regards to Islam, the greater my love for it becomes. It really is a misunderstood religion.

There are many Hadiths stating that Seeking knowlege is obligatory for a Muslim, and that it's a straight road to Paradise.

"Let there be no compulsion in the religion: the TRUTH stands out clear from error" 2:256
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Grace Seeker
11-12-2010, 09:38 PM
Originally Posted by Perseveranze
Well, what can I say. I go on various Anti-Islamic sites and see their claims and then go and research these claims and see if Islam can refute them. And when someone tells me something (whether they be a Muslim/Non-Muslim), I won't just take their word of mouth for it, I'll always be sure to check the sources/backings of the Quran/Hadiths etc.

And up until now and Inshallah till my death, , the more knowledge I seek in regards to Islam, the greater my love for it becomes. It really is a misunderstood religion.

There are many Hadiths stating that Seeking knowlege is obligatory for a Muslim, and that it's a straight road to Paradise.

"Let there be no compulsion in the religion: the TRUTH stands out clear from error" 2:256
Again, I'm not here to tell you that you are wrong. I was only pointing out that it is possible to arrive at the truth through the backdoor. After you're on the inside, I don't suppose it makes any different how one arrives there.


Muhaba asked if I would share a case from my own life. As I want to make the point that this is not about religion but can apply to any aspect of one's life, so let me share a bit about my relationship with my mother. A few years ago she was diagnozed with congestive heart failure. It was clear that she was not taking good care of herself, not eating right, not practicing good hygiene. My brother suggested that perhaps out mother was suffering from the beginnings of Alzheimers. I thought that he was reading too much into it, as he at that time had primary responsibilities for caring for our Uncle who did indeed have Alzheimers. It seemed to me he was now seeing Alzheimers in places it did not exist. I suggested that our mother was simply making bad choices, but that they were in fact her choices to make. And so it was that after a brief stay in the hospital she was sent home with instructions on how to better take care of herself, and a whole array of means by which she was going to be monitored from home by the hospital.

Well that did not work. But I was still convincing myself that all we had to do was get her back on some type of regimen and she would be better. So we brought her home with us for a couple of weeks. And during that time she did get better. After all, I made sure that she ate right, bathed, took her meds on time, etc. And once better she wanted to return to her home again. So, back she went. Yet, it was just a few more weeks and we were back to where we had been before. I got a call from a friend that they had found my mom in squalor and her laying in bed in her own feces and had her transported to the hospital.

And again she got better and was convinced that she was going to go back home. But this time I realized that I had been fooling myself before, and my mother still was. She did have cognitive impairment. Be it from Alzhemiers or something else it really didn't matter. She was no longer able to take care of herself on her own. I was deceiving myself that I thought she could and there was terrible price to be paid with regard to her health. It was still my hope that we could get her better, and take her on the trip that she wanted to back to where she had grown up. She never made that trip. Both her mental acuity and heart condition would deterioriate over the coming months. And 6 months after I signed the papers that had her discharged from the hospital not to her own home, but to a nursing home near me, she passed away from a heart attack. I will never know, if I had agreed with my brother several months early when he first raised his concerns if perhaps we could have been doing a better job of taking care of our mother, kept her health from slipping as much and as quickly as it did, and she might still be with us today.

This isn't just that I made a bad decision, but that I bought into a storyline I created, that our mother was not impaired because I didn't want to see it even when, in my brother's point of view, the obvious signs of it were there for me to see.
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