Psychological pressure to believe
Now, if the notion of "forcing people to believe" would hardly make
any sense to be taken literally (because "force" and "belief" do not
refer to the same type of reality, and work quite differently), let
us explain how it may still somehow occur, how we might say that
some people do have a behavior of "forcing" others to join their
belief - even if they forcefully and sincerely reject this
accusation of trying to force people to agree with them, as this is
not their conscious will (but only, perhaps, some collateral damage
produced by the holiness of their attitude where they are so highly
into, far above human senses, that it becomes disconnected from the
concrete reality of their behavior).
Some of these means may be called "psychological pressure"
Example: to persuade people that the Earth is flat, or at least
demonize the claim that it is ball-like, you just need to consider
that the claim of the ball-like shape of the Earth, is an act of
hatred and persecution against the Flat Earth Society, its members,
their freedom of consciousness, and also against God who had the
goodness to come to Earth and die on the cross to reveal us His word
which describes the Earth as flat.
- To consider that those who don't agree, or don't listen to
them and trust their teachings, are proud, dogmatic,
narrow-minded and hard-hearted. But it is very unspiritual to be
proud, dogmatic, narrow-minded and hard-hearted. Thus if people
want to be spiritual (good-hearted, open-minded...), they need
the humility to listen to and trust the good teachings of these
generous spiritual teachers, without any further argument.
- To replace the matter of what is true or false, or a matter of
fact, by a matter of what is good or bad, what is virtuous or
vicious, either towards others, towards God, or towards one's
self-fulfillment. This is often presented as an advice for the
interest of the person, especially if there is a difference of
well-being or of virtue between both people (so as to make it
feel that one's opinion is more virtuous or source of well-being
than the other). Ignore that believing something for an
advantage rather than after an evidence, is the very definition
- Ways to artificially strengthen the impression of how you feel
better or are more virtuous than the other (for example: are
filled with a divine serenity), either in terms of serenity,
fate, self-fulfillment; feel offended by the other's position,
or anyway provide the impression that it is offending
- Put forward your good intentions and try to help the person -
as there is no more devastating force than the force of goodness
and pure intentions, to defeat by condemning as "evil", any try
to come and contradict a claim
- Put a hard burden of study on the other person (reading the
Bible, apologetic treaties...), but don't care yourself to study
as much of the other side's arguments, because "he is free to
believe what he wants" and you will not bother about it; be
convinced that whoever disagrees must have not done his homework
yet, but don't checking whether this is the right picture of
things - anyway, it is virtually impossible to prove how serious
and deep the search has been, especially in the very small size
of replies in conversations.
- Claim that the truth (or God) reveals itself to any sincere
seeker (or to anyone with the right attitude - insert here
whatever definition of the "right attitude" can be considered);
and more precisely that it is what one claims (this must be so
anyway, because it is one's conclusion of a deeply sincere
search, and who can dare to deny one's sincerity and dedication
to the truth ?). Disregard that this claim is rigorously
equivalent to a personal attack against anyone who disagrees (as
it means they did not sincerely seek the truth, or did not have
the right attitude whatever it is), and is utterly refuted by
evidence (as there are very sincere people in all religions, who
reached opposite conclusions from the same sincere search).
- Generally, sincerely develop some view (while staying stupid
and unaware how absurd your view is), namely some "explanations"
of the other person's position, such as that his search for
truth was not serious, or that his position is the result of
some sin. This will make the discussion go mad, and either
directly convince the person without genuine evidence, or upset
him and force him to fight back and tell you that you are
claiming nonsense. But insist that you had very good intentions
and were telling very normal and polite things in a civilized
discussion, while on the other hand, feel yourself martyred when
hearing any criticism, any view opposing yours, any expression
of a disagreement that is addressed to you.
- Blame what you feel as a disrespect (fight) started by your
opponent, on his "ego" or bad character and picture this as his
entire "fault". This way, explain that this is the sign he is a
wrong person and needs to change - by receiving God (your
religion) in his life.
- Claim that you will pray for this person to change and convert
(for God to reveal Himself to him)
- Prophesy that the person will come to agree with you later
once the right search for God will have been proceeded; consider
that it was his fault if it does not happen. Or, claim that your
position has been successfully defended and that it is thus
gaining growing support, or prophesy that it will do so at some
- Request justifications for his views, and don't tolerate the
idea that his position could be anyhow justified unless his
replies will have convinced you; disregard that this burden of
care for your understanding may have nothing to do with the real
search for truth he may have carried out, either because you are
unable to understand or properly assess arguments anyway, or
just because the evidence is a result of years long search and
analysis that cannot be summed up just for you
- Anyway, don't wait for replies. If he did not convince you in
5 minutes (or in one email message), conclude that he had no
argument, thus he's just wrong
- Dismiss any try to contradict you as "mere arguments" thus "mere theory", "human thoughts" (as if
your own thoughts were not human), and unholy, while the real
life with God has nothing to do with arguments. Therefore if
people want to sincerely search for God and find Him they must
agree with you.
Indeed, according to
"After Rowbotham's death,
Lady Elizabeth Blount created the Universal Zetetic Society
in 1893 in England and created a journal called
Earth not a Globe Review, which sold for twopence, as well as
one called Earth which only lasted from 1901 to 1904. She held
that the Bible was the unquestionable authority on the natural
world and argued that one could not be a Christian and believe
the Earth to be a globe."
About the burden of search: active atheists are usually more
knowledgeable about religions, than religious people themselves.
Either because this knowledge led them to deconversion after they
were Christians, or because the arguments by believers that have
excessive study requirements on the other part, led them to do this
study, in order to provide replies.
"I'm angry that I have to know
more about their fucking religion than the believers do.
...when believers treat any criticism of their religion -- i.e.,
pointing out that their religion is a hypothesis about the world
and a philosophy of it, and asking it to stand up on its own in
the marketplace of ideas -- as insulting and intolerant.
...when Christians in the United States -- members of the single
most powerful and influential religious group in the country, in
the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world -- act
like beleaguered victims, martyrs being thrown to the lions all
over again, whenever anyone criticizes them or they don't get
So, the problem that they don't understand, is, if they want
their position to be respected, it's up to them to opt for a
position that deserves respect; it's not the fault of others if
they criticize and even condemn a position that is not defensible
(because it is blind and disrespectful against more knowledgeable
people). The problem is, the question of which position is
defensible and deserves respect, can be very hard to discern:
anyone having any position thinks that this position is true and
thus deserves respect...
Let me mention an experience trying to with a Christian in a team
trying to evangelize people in the streets (he was probably
evangelical, but I had a similar experience with a Mormon).
Now, is this power real, what does it make ?
He said something like: it is pointless to try arguing because the
depth of the issue is not a matter of argument, but a matter of God's power coming to your
life (and of course, as usual, stupidly repeating the old empty
buzzword that "Christianity is not a religion but a relationship
with God"). So, yes, this is power
that he's talking about.
In the experience of trying to talk with this guy, I must admit
there really is some overwhelming power in his life, and a power
that he is bringing to his conversation.
Here is how this overwhelming power feels:
In conversations, like a bulldozer, he smashes all possible chances
of meaningful dialogue and mutual understanding, under the blinding
radiations of his divine serenity. This powerfully makes things feel
in some way, as if they were completely different from whatever they
are in reality - not letting any sufficient room (time, attention)
for the other one to explain himself.
This force of blindness and distortion of feelings, has the power to
make conversations go completely crazy. This does not leave any
decent chance to behave sanely, rationally and humanly when
dialectically interacting with such a natural disaster.
Even though this person is totally sincere, this behavior acts as a provocation. This makes the
other part go mad and angry at trying to deal with this natural
disaster, and makes it feel as if it was their fault (bad character,
"lack of spirituality"...), as if the true origin of the clash was
not the provocation by this powerfully unshakable "divine serenity"
that does not let any room for meaningful debates and human
If Christians wanted to behave decently as concerns the search for
truth (I mean, to be really,
methodologically decent, not just to fool themselves into
feeling that they are behaving decently just because they have a
feeling of honesty in their heart, as they usually do), they would
no more go and bother people with their divine serenity and other
such provocative personal pressures on people to convert. Instead,
they would go and examine the deep logic and structure of the
arguments (now rather by Internet, where there could be more decent
room for such careful study and meaningful debates between opposite
sides, if only it was better worked on...).
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