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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

John's Psychoanalysis

Here's one trend that's becoming common over at John's circle, and it involves a great deal of attempts at trying to encompass the mentality and mindset of Christians and reduce it to psychological terminology. While seemingly parroting this trend from the likes of folk such as Richard Dawkins, John Loftus seems fond of pointing out that a great deal of the Christian opposition is "deluded" and does so with the same flippant regard as Dawkins:

Many Christians treat skeptics like me as if I am the enemy to be debated and not a fellow human being interested in the truth. That is surely one of the marks of a brainwashed or deluded person too.

This is deliciously ironic. Seeing as John spends his time venting about how primtive and superstitious it is to subscribe to the tenets of Christianity, is it any mystery that he would, to some degree, be perceived as an "enemy to be debated"? In fact, the existence of DJ's blog doesn't really indicate he's interested in anything else but debating with Christians. He aims at trying to conjur up arguments and push the envelope of controversies in many cases. Now the question is, what is his aim when he writes posts such as these?

Perhaps it requires going back a little further in time to the original post John alludes too:

Below in no particular order are what I consider the ten marks (or characteristics) of a deluded person. I think even educated Christians will agree with most of them.

The fascinating thing about this line of reasoning is that we see it stemming from individuals totally without credentials in a psychological field, and yet nonetheless, these individuals (some of them highly respected and credible scientists like Dawkins) proceed to make psychological assessments. At first this seems harmless, but the effects of such statements and their influence on the impressionable (which in modern times seems to be the majority of the worldwide web) have dangerous and detrimental implications. The definition of delusion used here by John is defined on his own personal parameters, which in turn translates to his own opinionated viewpoint, not based on anything that mental health professionals deem to be "deluded." In essence, such a wreckless use of words means that anyone may call someone "not in tune with reality" delusional because they derived the defintion from or other such similar means.

You might want to consider from this checklist how many of them apply to you. To the degree that more of them apply then the more likely you are deluded by your faith. Now it's quite possible that Christians can be deluded and yet their faith is true, in the same sense that a person might be brainwashed or indoctrinated into believing the truth. But the point is that if you're deluded then you have no reason to believe.

Overall, John is correct. And as a matter of fact, many Christians believe in their faith for no other good reason than they were brought up in those traditions, or it just so happens to be the religion of choice because they are most familiar with it. Not because they have examined and analyzed different perspectives or compared their own faith to other religions. Not because they have considered the possibility that they might be dead wrong. In other words, no critical thinking is included in the puzzle.

But now that we've already established the opinionated bias for this defintion of what it means to be delusional, what follows is going to be rather suspect. In the same light of John's opening statement here, it is also true that John may arrive to the right conclusions all for the wrong reasons (is John delusional perhaps?).

A deluded person is more likely than not one who...

2) As an adult never adopts nor cultivates the adult attitude of doubt. All adults must revisit the religious faith taught to them by their parents since #1 above is undeniably true. That means they must doubt. Doubt is the adult attitude.

This is of course dependent on the presence of a "religious faith" by which one has to be brought up in, unless of course John is meaning to imply that atheism, agnosticism and deism can be included in the list.

Furthermore John needs to establish the extent by which doubt is necessary to cultivate "the adult attitude of doubt." Is it more wise to be a skeptic or a cynic? Is doubt needed with regard to everything or only in the cases of religious faith? How can John except people to follow along with this reasoning if the words being used are not defined in specific terms?

3) Never reads widely or is exposed to other points of view in the media. I'm talking about non-fiction works about the sciences, different cultures, different faiths, and those written by skeptics or non-believers. To escape from being deluded, believers should read books that are written by people within different cultures and faith communities, and watch programs on the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS, 60 Minutes, Dateline, and yes, YouTube.

Very nice John, well done. This means we can pretty much classify those living in third world countries without access to the internet, television, print, and the media as "deluded" for having the beliefs that they do. Let's also not forget scientific illiteracy. After all, it is the fault of the people in these given nations for not boning up on their organic chemistry and quantum physics, even if it might mean certain death for them at the hands of their own government or socioeconomic class. Bravo, bravo.

4) Does not travel widely including travel into different cultures. A deluded person only experiences a small slice of the pie. One must experience the world to see how others live. The more the better. Such a person basically stays within the social confines of like-minded religious people. The Amish are the extreme examples of this. Many believers only have believing friends. Even if believers cannot travel the world they can still step outside their social grouping to meet other people who think differently. Most believers do not trust people of different faiths or non-believers. Seek them out. Attend a freethinker's group meeting. Get to know them. Become friends with them.

More of a reiterated version of the previous point, and one that still doesn't do much justice for itself, let alone serve as sound advice on the behalf of others. Again, third world countries? What about India and the Caste System? If you are an untouchable, what then John? They are restrained to their own delusional prison imposed on them by government sanction and thousands of years of tradition?

5) Never studies deeply into the nature of his or her adopted faith. The more you know the less you believe, the less confident you become, and the more you doubt.

A reiteration of the first point (which we have already addressed) in that one is deluded by subscribing only to the faith they were brought up in. I tend to agree completely with John on points like these, but the only problem with this is that John must demonstrate that it is universal that the more one knows about their faith, the less they believe in it. This is not always true, and it may be that one chooses to study the "nature" of their faith and becomes even more convinced of it, even if it is contrary to common sense and logic. Allot of it just depends on the person more than what the person has studied and how much they know about their particular religion.

6) Lies in order to defend one's faith. There are plenty of examples of this, from faking stories about finding Noah's Ark, to fudging the truth when there is no reasonable response, to making up personal healing stories, to claiming a conversion from a position of intellectual atheism (versus a practical atheism) to Evangelical Christianity like Lee Strobel and David Wood, to personal and unjustified attacks on anyone who questions one's faith in order to poison the well against them, to debate tactics like the ones used by Bill Craig and Dinesh D'Souza who as debaters, just like boxers in a ring, are out to win the debate no matter what must be said in order to win it. These are liars for Jesus to various degrees. If you have to lie to defend your faith then you need help.

Trashing the name of your "former mentor" again are we John? It is funny that John has continued to push for a debate with Dr. Craig, but yet behind his back he chooses to make as many fatal jabs as he can.

Maybe there is something here which might indicate John suffers from a projection complex, now that we are referencing the subject of psychology. Because it is certainly the case, as we have often discussed in the infancy period of this blog, that John will also lie to save face, even when his position is without defensive merit. Need we dig up the past once more?!

And John's truthful and intellectually honest response:

Technically, I didn't lie.

Prove to me I did.

Besides, it doesn't matter that you know I started the Blog. I don't care. People will still visit there regardless, and I will continue sending people there.

You are the dishonest one.

Hmmm..very interesting. John certainly seems like he's qualified to point out the delusion of lying for a position that clearly can't be defended, even through lying. That's because of course, despite the age of the incident itself, John is guilty on all counts of this himself.

Moving on...

7) Preaches to people who think differently rather than rationally engaging them. I am constantly amazed, bewildered, frustrated, and bored with the kind of responses I see from believers who comment here at DC. They come here preaching. They pontificate. They quote mine from the Bible. They even say we're going to hell with glee. Many of them merely mouth the words of the creeds and affirm what they believe, rather than actually engaging us with a rational discussion about the basis for believing in the first place. They come here preaching to us from an ancient superstitious set of texts rather than showing us why we should believe them in the first place.

Well John, again, that is really reflective of the type of atmosphere you create. You play mostly on the emotional aspects of Christianity rather than rationally engaging believers. Your blog is a treasure chest of arguments on how the existence of suffering negates an omnipotent and caring deity. You point to recent disasters (like the earthquake in Japan) as reasons for why God can't and doesn't exist. You hardly ever address things besides. You do not explain why calamities in the present support your arguments and yet those of the past do not matter so much (and this is not to say that your point isn't realized, I understand you do this to communicate to believers) and most importantly, you never address the fact that the people of ancient times were well aware of natural disasters simply based on the fact that suffering is a common theme throughout the Bible, and natural disasters have persisted forever.

8) Claims he or she does not need evidence to believe. Take notice Alvin Plantinga and Bill Craig! This is utterly delusional thinking especially when we consider all of the things they must take as properly basic beliefs coming from the witness of the Holy Spirit. As someone said, "what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." Anyone who claims his or her faith does not need evidence, even if true, ought to take a reality check.

Fair enough, but this means that the skeptic "community" can no longer define fatih as "belief in something without evidence." Right?

9) Must be convinced that his or her faith is impossible before seeing it as improbable. Time after time believers will claim I have not proved that their faith is impossible, and so lacking this kind of proof they still claim to have a reason to believe. However, we're always talking about probabilities. So even if it's still possible to believe in light of a number of problems for faith, it's still an improbable faith and that should be good enough.

Shaky grounds here. There are plenty of skeptics who would pick at aspects of religion (like the resurrection of Jesus) as impossible, and they play on this to suggest that without some sort of possibility factored into the equation, we can automatically reject the faith.

So this is a matter of whom you are addressing. And of course, it's one-sided and directed only at believers of faith.

10) Must denigrate the sciences in order to have faith. This is what I see time after time. Believers denigrate the sciences in a number of ways in order to believe. That's because faith demands it. Some believers don't even know what I'm talking about. Since science tells us prayer doesn't work then it doesn't work. It tells us the universe is 13.7 billion years old. It tells us we evolved. It tells us there was no Israelite Exodus from Egypt. It tells us the Nativity stories in the Gospels could not be true. It tells us virgins do not have babies. It tells us that dead people do not bodily rise from the grave. Christians must denigrate science in order to believe. Science or Faith? Science has a track record. Faith flies planes into buildings. Science all the way, hands down. End of story.

And now ladies and gentlemen, the jaw-dropping unanticipated climax to John's rant on psychoanalyzing religious believers.

Science tells us prayer doesn't work? Science says virgins don't have babies? All of this is of course in light of the fact that John moans about how believers don't engage him with rational discourse. Well, if one were to put faith into a box comprised of denial and refusal to consider evidence, and defines faith as a reliance on these aspects yet expects believers to back their faith with evidence, then it stands that John would have believers do the logically impossible. Contradict their own stances while somehow maintaining them in a non-contradictory fashion.

Clearly someone doesn't take the time to work out the kinks to their own arguments and assessments of mind.


  1. When you mentioned "Projection" as a Psychological Phenomena that applies to John, I think you nailed it.

    He loves to call people liars, and yet by his own admission...while making excuses for it...he talks about his own lying in his book WIBA; he talks about how he lied to his congregation, his wife, his friends, and how, as a consequence, even his own cousin did not trust him.

    To cap it off, he has in the past month posted videos of his brother and his cousin on his blog for purposes of ridicule.

    He is growing more and more angry, and I actually feel a little sorry for him.

    I think his Bankruptcy filing put so much pressure on him that he is lashing out in the only way he knows how at this point.

  2. Is anyone aware of a religion whose founding doctrines are more absurd,asinine,revolting,
    sickening,disgusting,vile, and stupid than Christianity?

    A cosmic ghost who decides to trot around the Middle East desert 2000 years ago for the purpose of allowing his own creation to savagely beat himself to death for some kind of ridiculous blood sacrifice? Really? What kind of buffoon actually believes this insanity? How have you not died of embarrassment at this point?

  3. I shouldn't have to spell this out for anyone, but I'm going to just this once:

    Let the record be settled that those who try to make the discussion on how hypocritical Christians are and how Christians don't see the glaring flaws of their own religion will go IGNORED.

    If you have something else that is more important and doesn't deal with seemingly irrelevant and pointless questions/trivia, then please feel free to share. Otherwise, don't expect a response from me on these issues. I'll consider it trolling from here on out.


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