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Is Belief in God Counterintuitive?

  1. A.Villarasa profile image80
    A.Villarasaposted 19 months ago

    In a detailed  hubPages essay titled : "Comfort theories of religion" , the author Thomas Swan flatly stated that  belief in God  (as are religious beliefs)  is  counterintuitive.

    In a rather telling paragraph, he derailed this counterintuitive label when he wrote:  " for example, the experiments described earlier found that belief in God increased when people were exposed to 'death primes'. This suggests that people are able to INTUITIVELY tie together the notions of death and God by assuming that belief in God means belief in an afterlife. Thus, in this case, the comforting belief in an afterlife encouraged a related belief in God in order to retain cognitive consistency."
    I may be misconstruing or misinterpreting  the meaning of counterintuitive, so I checked Webster's definition  and it states: "contrary to what would intuitively be expected."
    So now I'm m confused. Are you?

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
      Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago in reply to this

      --makes sense to me. What is the confusing part?

      1. A.Villarasa profile image80
        A.Villarasaposted 19 months ago in reply to this

        Is he saying belief in God is counterintuitive or not.

        1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
          Slarty O'Brianposted 19 months ago in reply to this

          People only believe in god because they want something out of it. Death scares them. They will believe anything to avoid oblivion. Well many will anyway. They petition god with prayer. Were they not to think god was going to give them something they wouldn't bother. What would be the point?

          The second part of the meme is the fear of punishment for wrong thinking. People fear god. Good god fearing people and all that. So they brown nose it like a dog with its tail between its legs, hoping master won't hurt them.

          In other words, religion is highly selfish, even for all the groveling people have to do.

          Counter-intuitive? I don't think so. The brains prime function is to keep the cells/ the body alive at all costs and see to its needs. Ours has turned the tables and like a bad government, has decided it is the most important thing.

          Thus it invents souls and gods and heaven to cheat death.

          The thing about intuition is, its very often wrong.

          1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
            Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago in reply to this

            --so is intellectual reasoning.

          2. A.Villarasa profile image80
            A.Villarasaposted 19 months ago in reply to this

            @slarty:                                                                                                         You are conflating belief in God and religion.

            Spousing or spouting religious belief does not always mean that those beliefs are theistic. In the same way that theism does not always mean  adherence to any religious  precepts or principles.
            Be that as it may, your interpretation seem to be grounded on the idea that  people develop theistic beliefs because of  fear or mordantly because of need. Fear and need are just too far  in between in the spectrum  of  possible reasons for them to be  considered in experiencing "cognitive consistency".

            1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
              Slarty O'Brianposted 19 months ago in reply to this

              That's truly funny. So you tell me what is to be considered then.

              1. A.Villarasa profile image80
                A.Villarasaposted 19 months ago in reply to this

                @slarty:
                What is truly funny, in a perverse kind of way, is you painting such a broad brush, people with theistic/religious  inclination, labeling them cowering fools and idiots for even thinking that a Deity exist, and then becoming dependent on that deity for their emotional sustenance, and fearing that this Deity would punish them for  sins and various infractions. Come to think of it, you rally missed the train on that one.
                If you must know, theists have unmistakably non-perplexing  and fully intuitive reasons why they believe what they believe.  In  a greater sense it is they who will come to the none-too-obtuse conclusion, that whoever denies the existence of such a Deity, are going to be  in the end , the ones holding an empty bag.

                Now that is counterintuitive.

                1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
                  Slarty O'Brianposted 19 months ago in reply to this

                  I didn't think you could answer. Nice try at changing the subject though.

    2. Phil Perez profile image81
      Phil Perezposted 19 months ago in reply to this

      A, counterintuitive is just counterproductive. except intuition has to do with the mind and production has to do with doing something physical. Understand ?

      1. A.Villarasa profile image80
        A.Villarasaposted 19 months ago in reply to this

        My question was more rhetorical than anything, but since you posted, what do you believe. Do you think belief in God is counterintuitive or as you implied in the physical realm, counterproductive?

        1. Phil Perez profile image81
          Phil Perezposted 19 months ago in reply to this

          Well, to base most of your life on God I think is impractical. Mainly because nobody knows He exists. You can hope, but it won't change the fact that you still don't know. You need clear-cut evidence to firmly believe in something and God isn't that. Most things are explained scientifically. Obviously, science doesn't have all the answers, but it has provided a generous amount whereas spiritual evidence has not. There is a possibility that God exists, I won't count it out that He doesn't but right now, I believe it might be counter-intuitive, unfortunately.

          1. A.Villarasa profile image80
            A.Villarasaposted 19 months ago in reply to this

            What exactly did you mean by clear cut evidence. If you are refering to empirical proofs, then good luck with that. In what way s is theistic belief counterintuitive?

            1. wilderness profile image97
              wildernessposted 19 months ago in reply to this

              Theistic belief is counterintuitive because there is absolutely nothing in our experience or history to support a belief in an all-powerful creator god.  As intuition relies on past experience to extrapolate to another similar event, a belief in something that has never been experienced cannot be intuitive at all.

              1. A.Villarasa profile image80
                A.Villarasaposted 18 months ago in reply to this

                Theistic belief is not counterintuitive; on the other hand, there is nothing more counterintuitive then atheism.

                Logical reasoning by itself cannot decide for or against the existence of God. Since we can not decide for sure( perhaps even after considering the more than adequate and reasonable arguments for God's existence) , but the question is of such importance, we must decide somehow. ... The decision being based on a bet, akin to but a lot more life changing than playing table craps or blackjack in the casino.

                So a bet it is, but  the question is, where are you gonna place your bet. If  you bet  that God exist, then you lose nothing, even if it turns out that God does not exist. BUT, if you place it against God's existence, and God does exist, you lose everything ie God's grace, eternity, heaven.....all potential infinite gain. Stated more succinctly, if you  win, you win everything; if you lose, you lose nothing.

                You wiin all because of your intuition that God exist. Nothing counterintuitive about that.

                1. janesix profile image61
                  janesixposted 18 months ago in reply to this

                  Isn't that just Pascals Wager?

                  There are lots of Gods to place your bet on. What if it turns out to be one of the Aztec Gods,and you are past due on your sacrifices?

                  1. A.Villarasa profile image80
                    A.Villarasaposted 18 months ago in reply to this

                    Then for heaven' s sake don't bet on that kind of a god who requires or demands human sacrifice. For if you do bet on him.... That is the most counterintuitive counterproductive act you could do.

          2. A.Villarasa profile image80
            A.Villarasaposted 19 months ago in reply to this

            @phil:
            Knowing is not the end all and be all of existence...... In so far as knowledge  becomes purposive and instructive only when it enters the realm of belief. As they say, knowing does not always mean believing. Believing, on the other hand, always leads to instructive purpose.  Emperic evidence may not always be part of its structural integrity, but it's in the believing, not in the knowing, that we move towards a goal.

            1. Phil Perez profile image81
              Phil Perezposted 18 months ago in reply to this

              Knowing is the end and be all of existence, actually. If it weren't for knowledge, humans would be too afraid to discover, to create, to think. Fear is the absence of knowledge !

              You must believe anything you know. The logic says it all. It's impossible to not believe in something you know of. You're right, A, empiricist evidence is flawed.

              In order to believe, something must stem through to get to believe in something. That 'something' is knowledge.

              When you became a Ph.D you had belief. However, you had something intrinsically motivating you to push forward and obtain your Ph.D. There was (and still is) an unconscious knowledge that you, and the rest of us all possess. Belief NEVER comes from thin air.

              1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
                Slarty O'Brianposted 18 months ago in reply to this

                But even belief is unnecessary. No belief is required when you have knowledge. Belief in facts is redundant. Once known to be fact it only requires acceptance.

                What is not fact is speculation, and belief in the speculative is folly at best and dangerous at worst. Speculation deserves no more than: wait and see if more evidence arises.

                Belief is useless and limiting.

                1. A.Villarasa profile image80
                  A.Villarasaposted 18 months ago in reply to this

                  Something to be said about the cliche" I believe I can do it....I know I can do it." thus belief comes before the knowing.

                  On must first have this inate/intrinsic desire (belief) that comes (generally) from intuition, before one can be absolutely sure (knowing) that one can move (acting)  towards a goal. Believing--->knowing--->acting.

                  1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
                    Slarty O'Brianposted 18 months ago in reply to this

                    what does belief have to do with desire? If I desire something I know I want it. If it is reasonable, not a Bentley, then I work toward it. There is usually a way to get what you want. But belief is irrelevant. Believing you can't when you can is obviously limiting. Belief that you can when you can't can be devastating.

                    Opinion is not belief . Opinion can be a model based on facts. Models can be modified with new evidence.

                    Belief is prone to faith. In fact the vast majority of belief has a degree of faith involved in common usage. To me, faith has no place in rational thought, and particularly no place in the search for knowledge and understanding.

                2. feenix profile image61
                  feenixposted 18 months ago in reply to this

                  Besides the obvious -- such as it takes 365 days for planet Earth to revolve around the Sun -- provide me with at least one FACT.

                  1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
                    Slarty O'Brianposted 18 months ago in reply to this

                    If I turn on my tap today and get water, then when I turn on my tap tomorrow i will get water with 100 percent certainty as long as nothing in the system has changed. That's a fact. There are millions more. It's also a formula for truth.

                    Truth relies on the conditions that make it true. If conditions change, the facts of the matter and truth of the matter changes. But as long as the conditions remain the same, the truth of the matter is absolute.

                    You can't create a square circle. A classic example of unchangeable conditions.

                    Water boils at 100 c right? Well not always. It depends on the purity of the water as well as the altitude you are boiling your water at. But, no matter what the actual boiling point you get, if you do everything exactly the same every time, your water will always boil at that temp..

                    I'll leave it there for now.

                3. Phil Perez profile image81
                  Phil Perezposted 18 months ago in reply to this

                  @Slarty, I meant belief as in being aware that something exists and thus accepting it.

                  1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
                    Slarty O'Brianposted 18 months ago in reply to this

                    being aware that something exists in what context?

  2. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago

    Belief in God helps the individual, in that belief in God aligns his thinking with wonderful thinking as opposed to stinking thinking or neutral thinking. But, ordinarily, neutral thinking goes either toward positive thinking or negative thinking and rarely stays neutral for long. So, to intuitively align oneself with true God which is in Heaven and in Spirt, is to align oneself with love, positivity, and wisdom.
    ...which is of course, is productive.

    Right?

    1. A.Villarasa profile image80
      A.Villarasaposted 19 months ago in reply to this

      Right...unless of course if you believe that the universe/earth/humans  emanated  from a random event that neither evoked  sentience nor purpose, then LOVE has no place in the trajectory of existence.

      But if you believe that we were created sentiently and purposely, then you have to believe that LOVE has an overpowering presence in our existence.

      GOD IS LOVE. He is patient and kind. He is neither envious nor boastful or proud. He does not dishonor. He is not self-seeking,  and he is not easily angered. He does not delight in evil; he rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always persevere.

      In short there is nothing counterintuitive about LOVE.

      1. A Thousand Words profile image81
        A Thousand Wordsposted 18 months ago in reply to this

        That's a pretty far leap. The idea of love to me is golden. I think the notion of purpose is quite ego driven. But I think once you find something you're passionate about (or someone) go for it.



        I could list so many things in the bible (if that's your basis for God) that are completely opposite of most of the adjectives listed in this paragraph.

        1. A.Villarasa profile image80
          A.Villarasaposted 18 months ago in reply to this

          @thousand words:
          Substituting the word God for Love was not a leap. It was a transition.  And transitions are always mitigated by fecundity and felicity. No great effort involved.....easy, smooth and exact.

          Those things/words  in the Bible that you are referring to that you implied also applies to God that are not necessarily love- related, are IMO just human attempts at embodying God metaphorically. We know of course that the human mind thinks in embodied metaphors(most of the time), and whatever interaction God may have had  with humans in all those Biblical narratives, probably went through the prism of that mind that thinks in embodied metaphors.

          So to say that the Bible ie the Old Testament is the literal words of God, is IMO, stretching belief to its snapping point. On the other hand if we look at those narratives that involved Divine-human interaction, through the prism of a human mind that thinks in metaphors, then those Biblical stories assume  a more nuanced interpretation ie not literally.

          1. A Thousand Words profile image81
            A Thousand Wordsposted 18 months ago in reply to this

            So... situations where God is painted as anything other than love is erroneous because of human perception? Well that's certainly convenient.

            I don't even need the Bible to tell you why God isn't love, though.

            1. A.Villarasa profile image80
              A.Villarasaposted 18 months ago in reply to this

              So go ahead and tell.

  3. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago

    love is a given
    in each of us
    because, after all...
    we are bubbles
    in the ocean of Spirit.

  4. janesix profile image61
    janesixposted 19 months ago

    I don't think belief in God is necessarily counterintuitive. Things appear to have purpose and design. So a designer isn't counterintuitive to plenty of people. It is also not counterintuitive to think the Earth is flat. It certainly appears to be flat.

  5. aware profile image69
    awareposted 19 months ago

    Not. It defines intuition. I think.

  6. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago

    "As intuition relies on past experience…"
    wilderness
    Vs
    "Intuition: the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning."
    Dictionary

    "1 instinct, intuitiveness; sixth sense, clairvoyance, second sight.
    2 hunch, feeling (in one's bones), inkling, (sneaking) suspicion, idea, sense, notion; premonition, presentiment; gut feeling, gut instinct." Thesaurus

    "Intuition, a phenomenon of the mind, describes the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. The word "intuition" comes from Latin verb intueri translated as consider or from late middle English word intuit, "to contemplate". Intuition is often interpreted with varied meaning from intuition being glimpses of greater knowledge to only a function of mind; however, processes by which and why they happen typically remain mostly unknown to the thinker, as opposed to the view of rational thinking."
    Wikipedia

    Counter intuitive:
    Contrary to intuition or to common-sense expectation (but often nevertheless true).
    Dictionary

  7. aware profile image69
    awareposted 19 months ago

    We instinctively belive that things are real. So much so that we invent them.

    1. A.Villarasa profile image80
      A.Villarasaposted 19 months ago in reply to this

      @aware:
      We are not talking about beliefs based on hallucinations. Inventing without a thorough examination of what we are inventing is to say the least counter-productive.

      In theism, the process of intuiting, not inventing, the existence of a non- material, non- physical entity is based on well thought out arguments.... not empirical armaments.

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
        Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago in reply to this

        Empirical:
        Experiential, practical, heuristic, firsthand, hands-on; observed, evidence-based, seen, demonstrable. Thesaurus

        Armaments:
        Military weapons and equipment.

        What do you mean, A.Villarasa ?

        1. A.Villarasa profile image80
          A.Villarasaposted 18 months ago in reply to this

          Empirical data, tools, equipment.
          These  empiric tools  tools  are to be used solely for the purpose of  evidentiary, not military  pertinence.

  8. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago

    Counterintuitive
    "A counterintuitive proposition is one that does not seem likely to be true when assessed using intuition, common sense, or gut feelings.
    Scientifically discovered, objective truths are often called counterintuitive when intuition, emotions, and other cognitive processes outside of deductive rationality interpret them to be wrong. However, the subjective nature of intuition limits the objectivity of what to call counterintuitive because what is intuitive for one is counter-intuitive for another. This might occur in instances where intuition changes with knowledge. For instance, many aspects of quantum mechanics or general relativity may sound counterintuitive to a layman, while they may be intuitive to a particle physicist. Nevertheless counter-intuitive concepts are psychologically more preferred than intuitive concepts like in Von Restorff effect."
    Wikipedia

    I would say:
    "For a child, belief in God is due to intuition AND common sense.

    For an adult, belief in God can be counter-intuitive because it seems to go against common sense(s.)

    For adults who have intuited God, their belief in God returns with their direct intuition/perception of God within/internally, rather than without/externally through the senses…( although, God also exists externally…)"
    KLH

  9. aware profile image69
    awareposted 19 months ago

    A intuitive person would keep a open mind when it comes to god ideas.my intuition is that there are many.its a gut feeling.of mine

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
      Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago in reply to this

      I would disagree. I believe there is only one Source. This one source of power and energy is the force behind all that exists. Furthermore, (and therefore,) one can INTUIT this power within one's own being. (And without.)

      The Way I See It.

  10. aware profile image69
    awareposted 19 months ago

    Im cool with that .

  11. aware profile image69
    awareposted 19 months ago

    The SUN

  12. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago

    "You need clear-cut evidence to firmly believe in something and God isn't that." Phil P.
      I would agree, with a small edit:
    "You need clear-cut evidence to firmly believe in something..." and God IS that…---> through meditation.
    Kathryn H.

    1. janesix profile image61
      janesixposted 19 months ago in reply to this

      So what exactly have you found through meditation?

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
        Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago in reply to this

        Direct responses to questions and sheer joy.

        1. janesix profile image61
          janesixposted 19 months ago in reply to this

          What kind of direct responses?

          1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
            Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago in reply to this

            Two days ago, in meditation, I asked Divine Mother to please come into my life.
            I felt the direct response:
            "I am always in your life… You have only to tune in to me."
            I understood this.
            It gave me a sense of relief
            and love.

            TWISI

  13. Haunty profile image83
    Hauntyposted 19 months ago

    I am not sure what counter-intuitive means.

    God is a myth that there is a common ground to everything that exists, we are all part of it and we cannot get out of it. I believe this myth is very useful and intuitive.

    http://usercontent1.hubimg.com/12416794_f1024.jpg

  14. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 19 months ago

    The truth is we are gods of the God… so we have the same nature. We are peace, love and wisdom. When we meditate we become what our souls actually are. We stop bombarding our true natures with desires, cravings, aversions, angers, judgments, criticisms, doubts etc etc.. We become the pure sunshine of a spotless mind, rather like that beautiful sun flower up there. cool

    TWISI

  15. aware profile image69
    awareposted 18 months ago

    Humans are great creators.its only natural that we think of a creator bigger than us  .a  tree is real.the word tree is made up out of thin air.we do stuff like that..

  16. aware profile image69
    awareposted 18 months ago

    Maybe god dosent belive in us either.

  17. aware profile image69
    awareposted 18 months ago

    Do unto others

    1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
      Slarty O'Brianposted 18 months ago in reply to this

      What if the other is a sadist? Would you think it good that he does to you what he would have you do to him?

      It doesn't always work.

      The one code that always works is: do no intentional harm.

  18. aware profile image69
    awareposted 18 months ago

    Its do unto others as you would have done to you.

    1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
      Slarty O'Brianposted 18 months ago in reply to this

      Exactly my point. It doesn't always accomplish its intent

  19. Farhan Khalid profile image61
    Farhan Khalidposted 18 months ago

    Belief in God is something based on logic. Lets suppose i show you a device that you have never seen before and tell you to use it. You would probably ask how to work it or look for an instruction manual. How in the world is it possible that such a complex being like human is sent on earth without an instruction manual. This is how our life on this world is,  we have so much in life to worry about, work, friends and family that sometimes we don't even have time to sit down and think.

    1. janesix profile image61
      janesixposted 18 months ago in reply to this

      That's not belief in God based on logic. It's based on "I don't know how it works, so God must have done it".

  20. Luis Mendoza profile image60
    Luis Mendozaposted 18 months ago

    To the author of this post, what is your question? You are unclear. Why are you just quoting Thomas Swan's work? By the way next time you share a link add your source to your quotation. This website is for sharing writing and freedom to post about what you know not what you want to learn. There is a better way to learn than just asking a question about one definition. Your writing is worst than a high school student. I say that it's your fault but I would be lying, It's actually the education system you were apart of they didn't teach you how to ask questions to put you in a position to succeed. Ask a question that puts you in a position to better understand the quote you are posting about. If you really want to know more about the post then look up the root word intuitive. What is your confusion? Edit your question and I will get back to you.

    Slarty O'Brian you are giving him the answer without showing the proper steps to get there. In philosophy class I also learned that fluff is excess waste that needs to be cut out of writing. If your trying to fill up a page use evidence and step by step on how you got your answer which is truth. Think about a test and this same question comes up on an essay question. If you are going to just repeat the same concept over and over the professor will probably fail you for not elaborating. I know because I did the same and received a D on my three question short response on the theories of Aristotle.

    1. A.Villarasa profile image80
      A.Villarasaposted 18 months ago in reply to this

      The Jesuits who educated me in  high school and the Dominicans who educated me all through medical school must be blamed for my bad use of the English language. Hmm.. for whatever reason I think , they are not going to take the kind of crap from anyone, least of all someone who git a D in his philosophy class.

  21. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 18 months ago

    "This website is for sharing writing and freedom to post about what you know
    not what you want to learn."
    Really?
    Then, I am guilty, Luis Mendoza.
    I post to find answers all the time!
    Yikes!

  22. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 18 months ago
 
working