Latest research findings: The more believers doubt their own beliefs, the more they proselytize in favor of them .

by AndersonsInfo 30 Replies latest jw friends


    In light of this study, do you think the Witnesses who are the most vigorous in defending their religion, really doubt their beliefs?

    I think JW`s are different..They can`t afford to doubt..

    Doubting will cost them..Their life,their family,their friends..

    The WBT$ has a very Profitable Spiritual Extortion Racket,going with JW`s..

    Play the Game and the WBT$ won`t Ruin your Life..

    "Would you like to be a Jehovah`s Witness?"..


    "Would you like to Die?"..

    ....................... ...OUTLAW

  • LongHairGal

    ANDERSONSINFO: I believe this. It probably explains why the JWs jump all over somebody who dares to question any of their teachings. This happened to me enough times over the years. Their ridiculous teachings simply cannot stand up to the slighest scrutiny. This is ironic considering they tell new recruits to examine their own religion to see if it is 'truth'. So with JWs they want you to keep telling it over and over. Maybe they figure if you say it enough times it makes it 'true'.

  • just n from bethel
    just n from bethel

    We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

      —George Orwell (1946)

  • just n from bethel
    just n from bethel

    Like the quote from Orwell shows above - this problem goes well beyond JWs. I find it interesting, even on this forum, that people latch on to their beliefs no matter how many hard facts show their beliefs may not be so certain. I wonder if that's just a trait that is carried over from being a JW.

    Despite all the nutty beliefs of JWs - the main downside is the shunning policy and the blood doctrine after that. You take away those two things and you have, more or less, just another religous belief system. I mean without the DFing - then you can take blood, disagree with doctrine somewhat openly, and hold ideas that are not endorsed by official JW doctrine if you so desire.

    In the book "Mistakes were Made (but not by me)" by Carol Tavris - it spends some time emphasizing this idea by focusing on the many false accusations of child abuse were that propping up in the 80s and 90s. Many child psychologists would back a claim of child abuse, only to later find indisputable evidence that such abuse never happened. However, instead of retracting their testimony, they often defended their position even more so. Rarely did any of them admit their error and faulty thinking, despite that their support of false claims put many innocent people in jail. It really is a great book - and it backs the idea Barbara is making in the OP.

  • BabaYaga


    I'm only going to quote one study found in Mr. Brooks column, the results I found fascinating which indeed should spark conversation on this discussion board.
    "Classic research has suggested that the more people doubt their own beliefs the more, paradoxically, they are inclined to proselytize in favor of them. David Gal and Derek Rucker published a study in Psychological Science in which they presented some research subjects with evidence that undermined their core convictions. The subjects who were forced to confront the counterevidence went on to more forcefully advocate their original beliefs, thus confirming the earlier findings."

    In light of this study, do you think the Witnesses who are the most vigorous in defending their religion, really doubt their beliefs?

    Great find, Barbara! One thing that I have noticed is that when doubts begin to bubble to the surface, the fears of those doubts cause many to become much more active in the Organization than usual. In other words, doubts cause zealousness. For those who cannot ignore their doubts and realizations, that zealousness is a temporary "fix". For others, it becomes the busywork and mindset that keeps them blinded to their own realizations for decades.

  • Curtains

    Hi Barbara

    I think these findings are most true of people whose beliefs are ideologically and/or emotionally based. Both are true of Jehovahs witnesses.

  • Farkel

    Have you ever noticed that when two people argue, the one to speaks (shouts) the loudest is almost always the one who is wrong?


  • ProdigalSon

    How true. When someone thinks they know the truth, it's a guarantee they'll never find it. JW's think they're the only ones spiritually "awake", but in reality their beliefs will keep them from ever realizing that they're fast asleep. The 29th chapter of Isaiah really brings this point home.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    See "Disconfirmation."

    "[B]eliefs can survive potent logical or empirical challenges. They can survive and even be bolstered by evidence that most uncommitted observers would agree logically demands some weakening of such beliefs. They can even survive the total destruction of their original evidential bases."

    —Lee Ross and Craig Anderson

  • Giordano

    "In light of this study, do you think the Witnesses who are the most vigorous in defending their religion, really doubt their beliefs?"

    I'll go against the grain and say no I don't think so. That point of view feels a little counter intuitive. A vigorous defense seems to be the style of the true believer; sometimes out of firm conviction, impatience with 'heresy' or because some need to have control over the situation. They are accustomed to keeping the 'power bond' with their god. To set an example and/or to protect their role in the congregation (being an elder).

    I think that 'doubters' are the quite ones maybe because their families are sitting next to them, or they feel obligated to the community they've been a part of, perhaps even sad that their belief has faded. They tend not to draw attention to themselves.

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