Caring if People are Wrong

A recent CFI blog post talked about whether or not we should care if people believe in gods. The author makes the following statement:

Why should we care whether others believe in a god or other supernatural beings? Because these beliefs are false? Yes, they are false, but most people, including humanists, have a large number of false beliefs. Mistaken beliefs do not typically trigger passionate, prolonged efforts to persuade the person holding the erroneous belief that s/he is incorrect. Think of all the false beliefs each of us has about history, physics, biology, and whether our hair is thinning.

Lindsey is wrong, at least when it comes to me. Mistaken believes DO trigger passionate, prolonged efforts to persuade the person holding them. There is no reason to hold a mistaken belief if the information is available to change it. These days, the information is often available.

Due to my own privileges, I have access to the internet just about anywhere I go. With those capabilities, eighty percent of the incorrect believes I encounter can be dispelled with a simple Google search. Another hour will solve probably the next ten percent or so.  The last ten percent? Well those are a bit harder.

Even those issues are not impossible. They simply take a lot longer to find the answer and explain the truth. Some of these mistaken beliefs are like a belief in god – they are simply unfounded. There is no evidence for god, thus it is harder to prove. There requires a far more elaborate teaching of the scientific method, proper evaluation of evidence, understanding of “proving a negative,” etc.

Again, this is not an insurmountable obstacle, just a challenging one. The effort is worth it. They say knowledge is power, and it is. Unlike many other kinds of power though, sharing knowledge does not diminish that power within the sharer, but merely enhancing the power of the receiver.

So go forth and correct mistaken believes where you can. Spread the knowledge. Let others share it is power.

-That is all.


7 thoughts on “Caring if People are Wrong

  1. Lucas Bell says:

    So are you saying that we should try to convince those around us that god doesn’t exist? Yes I know that you helped me when it came to finally kicking religion, but I am a person who saw that loss coming. Personally some things I really need to prove wrong, but when it comes to religion, I usually keep my mouth shut.

  2. Nicholas Lester Bell says:

    The answer to the question “does god exist?” is no. There is no evidence in the known universe to support the existence of any divine being. As a skeptic and a supporter of science, I will support the truth over a lie at every chance I get.

    But convincing others that god does not exist need not take the form of a theological debate. God falls into the ten percent that requires a longer explanation. Religion is rarely a topic one takes on directly. Instead, you encourage skeptical thinking, understanding the scientific method, etc. You fight the believe in god by providing people with the tools needed to convince themselves to give up the belief.

  3. Faites says:

    I would just leave those people alone. I remember as a high-schooler some chick told me that she didn’t want me to go to hell. I decided, in that moment, that I didn’t want others to feel the way she made me feel. I will not impress my religious views onto others. I do encourage rational thought to a point (that is to say, in scientific areas). But, when it comes to spirituality, I have decided to let people be.

  4. Lucas Bell says:

    If someone ever tells me they are worried I will go to hell, it would be hard for me to not tell them that I would rather burn in hell then be a part of their religion.

  5. Beliefs inform your actions, if in the case you are a Christian you may believe that Noah’s flood is real and that God said he would not destroy the Earth again. e.g. Rep. John Shimkus

    This man will clearly make policy based on his belief of Christianity…

    Funny… Shortly after that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

    If you believe that God created the earth 6000 years ago and planted Adam and Eve in a Garden in the middle of the desert, you are more likely to vote on a school board to TEACH THE CONTROVERSY. i.e teach children the Intelligent Design Theory of how the earth and all came to be.

    This is the problem with having incorrect beliefs and it needs to be stopped.

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