Don't Try to Choose Your Beliefs

by cofty 20 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • cofty

    Beliefs are not things to be chosen like new clothes; authentic beliefs happen to us without our conscious attention.

    I have often seen comments from ex-JWs to the effect that they are now unsure about what they 'ought' to believe. Others express offense when their chosen beliefs are challenged and well-meaning bystanders protest that everybody is entitled to believe whatever they wish. This misunderstanding of what it means to believe something is unhelpful.

    It's natural to want to quickly replace our old beliefs when our worldview has collapsed around us. In reality it's a process that will take many years. Making conscious decisions about what we think we would like to believe is a sure way to restrict our growth and recovery from the cult.

    Is the god of the bible worthy of worship? Is the bible inspired? Does prayer have any value? Why suffering? Is there life beyond physical death? Did life evolve by an unguided process, and if so does that rob life of meaning? What about moral questions regarding relationships, marriage, sex, abortion, child-rearing, politics, war, animal welfare, human rights and equality?

    The only sensible thing to do is to keep acquiring knowledge by every means possible. Read great books. Listen to lectures and debates. Engage in honest debate to try our our current ideas see if they hold up to scrutiny. Seek out the very best presentation of positions that you don't feel attracted to, but don't waste too much time on every bizarre idea. Resist ideological tribes at all costs. Somebody from whom you learn useful things about science might be a total dullard in matters of ethics or politics. There are no gurus any more, don't replace one 'faithful slave' with another.

    Be brave enough to begin from a position of uncertainty about big questions. Keep learning, questioning and challenging everything. With time and much effort our beliefs take care of themselves.

  • scary21
  • scary21

    Yes, yes and YES. Thanks for all your posts.

    .I love learning, and you have helped me do just that.

  • sir82


    However, for a lot of ex-JWs, it can be more challenging than it would be for the typical never-a-JW.

    JWs are trained to not think critically, not to reason on matters (outside of the whatever-it-is that passes for JW "reasoning"), not to question, to quash doubts....

    Those lessons are driven in from the start of every JW's experience, whether birth or conversion. I.e., those lessons are driven in for decades.

    It takes a lot of effort to unlearn that, before the steps in the OP can even be started.

    It is, of course, worth the effort.

  • nicolaou
  • cofty

    ha! Great minds think alike Nic. or is something about fools never differ? I forget.

    Interesting that quite a few posters didn't get your point 11 years ago. To me - and you - it seems blindingly obvious. Choosing your beliefs is self-deception.

    Sir82 - I agree it is a huge challenge especially for those of us raised in an environment of intellectual dependence.

    Scary21 - Thanks.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Very true Cofty, it's so sad to hear ex JWs say they don't know what beliefs to have. We don't need "beliefs" for goodness sake , instead we need knowledge and clear understanding!

    The best we ever get is a feel for the shape of reality based on sound information from different disciplines, we can't carry around a bag of absolute certainties any more like JWs do thinking they know what "the truth" is and that Armageddon is just around the corner. These are just words parroting cult doctrines.

    The world is full of charlatans and religious ones can do a lot of damage to the gullible.

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    So I should choose to believe that my beliefs shouldn't be chosen?

  • sparrowdown

    I have noticed some come on here asking what they should believe - destined for the fire after jumping out of the frying pan.

    To wipe your belief slate clean is very scary, to keep it clean until you research thoroughly and then you can start building up a reliable knowledge bank can be unbearbably uncomfortable when you are used to having all the pre-digested answers provided for you by a cult.

    I'd say my waking up from the cult of religion was my first "red pill" there have been many more since then and will continue to be more - I hope.


    I became a Taoist. I’m free to learn anything and everything while just being. It’s great, I can watch Bill Nye, listen to Alan Watts, suspend disbelief for the sake of entertainment, even visit a friend’s Church and listen for universal truths without being a condescending a-hole.

    I can even binge watch Harry Potter...


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