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

  • keeshondgirl

    I believe to some extent that is true. Personally I feel I continued to attend meetings and preaching to make myself not think about the reality that what I was doing may not be true. Almost like I had to continue to prove to myself that its true. But It was easy for me to eventually give it up as not being true and stop doing those things because I had no family or friends in the religion. I only attented for 5 years and I knew of life outside of JWs.

    For someone who only knows that way of life or has all their family and friends in it and has been doing it for years, then yes I think they would continue to do it for reasons like peer pressure or for reasons that they know no other life, just like an animal who is trapped in a cage and knows nothing else. If the person has some doubts but feel they are stuck, then continueing to preach and attend meetings may be a means of justifying those doubts. Someone in that situation could have guilt if they left and guilt can be a powerful tool to motivate someone to do or not to do something.

    Every person is different, every situation is different.

  • undercover

    The subjects who were forced to confront the counterevidence went on to more forcefully advocate their original beliefs, thus confirming the earlier findings."

    This can apply to about any religion...

    Do JWs really believe Armageddon is coming in their lifetime?

    Do Mormons really believe J. Smith received golden plates from an angel which became the Book of Mormon and is only understood by them?

    Do Catholics really believe they are taking in the literal body and blood of Christ at communion?

    Do Scientologists really believe...well, any of that bullshit?

    I think it's human nature to not want to admit that you were wrong. Not only just wrong, but duped, fooled, hoodwinked. And you gave money, time and resources to the organizations that fed your desire to believe. So when the counterevidence is presented most people retreat into the familiar and ignore that which upsets their comfort zone.

    When it comes to more cult-like religions, like JWs and Mormons, the members are more indoctrinated into the lifestyle of being a member. One may question or doubt certain beliefs, but even in the face of that, they'll defend and support that which they can't convince themselves is true because they've been to led that there is nothing else out there.

  • ziddina

    Marking this wonderful thread!!!

    [waves "hi!" at Baba Yaga...] What Baba Yaga said:

    "One thing that I have noticed is that when doubts begin to bubble to the surface, the fear 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. ..."

    I found that particularly accurate as it applies to the JWs - or any other religious group, for that matter...

    "Doubt" is supposedly a major "tool" of the "Devil". If one is experiencing doubt, some belief systems carry that fear to the extreme thought that "doubt" indicates that the "Devil" has already found a place in one's heart...

    (and that comment came straight from the mouth of the board's She-devil... ) Zid

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    To clarify the position supported by the research, this zealousness usually manifests early on, at the outset of doubts being raised. If, as happened eventually with many of us, the doubts become accepted as facts that indeed challenge the validity of our prior beliefs, it's usually too late for the sort of zealous belief reinforcement to succeed.

    There are exceptions, of course. For a research study like this to be published the number of subjects responding in such a way only needs to be statistically significant, not necessarily even a majority.

  • flipper

    ANDERSONS INFO- Good thread. Thanks for posting. I believe Steve Hassan's books mention something lik this as well- that a cult member will get very vocal, very emotional when trying to proselytize or uphold their beliefs because deep within they are having doubts. It's part of a person going through cognizant dissonance. Can't remember exactly WHERE in his books the quote was, but it's there

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    Most dubs have commited some action that has had a negative effect on their life, or worse, someone else's. Lost educations/careers/wealth/health/lives, protected abusers, abused and shunned their own families etc..

    How many painless options are there when they are confronted with evidence that it may have all been in vain?

    Keeping the brain occupied by chanting/preaching/fundraising etc. are tools for blocking out the unwanted thoughts, so the research is not a big surprise to me.

    One thing's for sure............ They'd rather be out banging on doors than talking to me about it.

  • Mickey mouse
    Mickey mouse

    A little more detail. Not surprisingly, the researchers were inspired by Leon Festinger's book ''When Prophecy Fails'.

  • Terry

    I don't think it has all that much to do with "belief" per say.

    I think it is the subsequent "all-in" gamble which results in total immersion into a world view, lifestyle, social bonding and severence of all OTHER connections which makes it too costly to change one's views.

    Think of it in practical terms:

    You buy a house in what appears to be a wonderful neighborhood and commit yourself financially to living there. Your family makes friends with the neighbors and your children make friends at school. You plant your garden, mow your yard, paint the rooms and buy furniture.

    Then, you discover the neighborhood has some previously hidden problems of a severe nature.

    Ask yourself the question: Wouldn't I try to work within the framework of my present commitment and environment hoping for the best long before I simply pack up and move?

    The emotional bonds, the financial leveraging and the penalties for action create all kinds of impact, debts and consequences both in a RELIGIOUS enviornment and a practical everyday living enviornment.

    JW's don't change easily because their total LOYALTY is committed to the Organization which mortgages their very lives should they prove disloyal.

    Like alcoholics, JW's have to hit rock bottom with total losses already to even begin to face the prospect of change.

    That is why most of us here were disfellowshipped or faded. The impact of confrontation is hard to bear otherwise.

  • tec

    I think it probably applies to anyone who has invested any amount of time into anything (though there are always exceptions to the rule)... especially if a person has brought others around to their way of thinking.

    And yes, I think that applies to both believers and non-believers. Or even some scientist whose personal theory is wrong... if he has devoted his life/time/money into proving it right. Few people want to consider 'tails' when most of their time and attachment is invested into 'heads'.


  • satinka

    JWs are TOLD they have the truth and never to doubt for a minute, or Satan will find an "in" --- the basis of FEAR.

    If they dared to doubt, their entire world would crumble, they would lose all their friends and family if they got disfellowshipped. FEAR

    At all costs, they must prove to themselves that their doubts are NOT valid. FEAR

    They must prove to themselves that they have the truth, just as they have been told. FEAR

    The must prove that they do not doubt because they are loyal to the organization and to Jehovah.FEAR

    They must prove that they are not Apostates.FEAR

    All part of the brainwash.

    It's circular.


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