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Motivated Reasoning Keeps Us From Changing Minds
Many people are thinking emotionally, rather than logically
There is a point to this, and it is not meant to be a post on Christianity but on motivated reasoning. Keep reading to figure out how.
In the past, I have written numerous articles on Christianity, specifically the early Christ-followers, the Essenes / Ebionites. I was trying to trace down when the bible became corrupted from what the actual message of Jesus was. Now, I know some people reading this might believe the bible to be inerrant. But, I’ve created a video and article using logical proofs, assuming the bible is inerrant, that proves it’s not.
I remember a time when I thought it was inerrant and had questions when I would see contradictions. I remember actually searching the internet and finding the “Got Questions” website that attempts to answer how they are not contradictions. I remember a time when I was satisfied with those answers.
It’s Impossible To Change Someone’s Mind
I recently saw this saying (below) and it’s quite accurate. I know that I cannot change someone’s mind. They have to be ready and willing to accept a new way of thinking. I have actually said it’s impossible to change people’s minds because I believe it is. I never write or speak expecting to change people’s minds with my words. There has to be a desire to change in them or else they will misunderstand you or use the flimsiest piece of evidence to justify their belief, even when there is plenty of verified evidence to disprove it.
I know this quote is accurate, because I know I didn’t have the desire to change when I first looked into the contradictions of the bible, and then I did have the desire to change and looked at the biblical contradictions and I actually changed. Even if a Christian reads this and is with me so far on the bible having some contradictions, they can usually not pass this test:
Paul contradicts Jesus on whether eating meat sacrificed to idols is okay. Paul says it’s okay so long as no one sees you and stumbles in their faith, but Jesus (in Revelation) says it is still wrong in and of itself (Revelation 2:14, 20).
I can argue all factory-farmed meat is meat sacrificed to idols because they harm the animals’ welfare in greed, to serve their idol/god ‘mammon’ (to make more money). So factory-farmed meat could be meat sacrificed to idols and wrong to eat according to Jesus.
But most people do not want to stop eating meat. So they will tune that out, and start coming up with excuses for why I must be wrong, using the flimsiest evidence.
This is not meant to be a religious substack trying to get people to stop eating meat, but I wanted to share my experience (which just happens to be in Christianity) with the difference between actually wanting to see if I am wrong about something and not wanting to be wrong.
I Didn’t Want the Bible to Contradict Itself
In the beginning, I didn’t want there to be errors in the bible because it meant I would now have a lot of extra work to do, figuring out which verses are good and which are bad, and then figuring out if I should not eat meat, or eat “unclean food” etc. It is actual work to question your beliefs and then take action based on them. Who will your authority be on the subject if the bible is not? Most people don’t actually want to take that authoritative position over themselves, which is why they prefer having others in authority over them.
Vaccines, Masks, and Lockdowns
People were given the information that vaccines, masks, and lockdowns did more harm than good, or they were given information that they were actually very helpful. Just like the bible, it’s a double-edged sword. It comes down to who you believe. Who was your authority figure on vaccines, masks, and lockdowns?
I was never too concerned about getting sick, because of my belief system (we attract sickness or repel it through our thoughts). I always thought lockdowns were stupid. I didn’t need an authority to tell me they were good or bad, as I knew it wouldn’t stop the disease from spreading. But I also had the benefit of living in a state that didn’t lock down and I was able to see how freedom didn’t change things for the worse.
However, many people don’t have those experiences or beliefs, and they were left wondering if COVID was as bad as some doctors said or “like a cold” as other doctors said. They had to choose who would be their authority, and who would get their trust.
Censorship = Echo Chambers
The mass censorship of anyone against vaccines, masks, and lockdowns meant social media sites were turned into echo chambers with the flip of a switch. People could no longer hear real debates to come to the truth through informed discussions.
It became much more difficult to hold a stance that mass mandatory or coerced vaccines, masks, and lockdowns were wrong. People now had motivated reasoning to believe that coerced vaccines, masks, and lockdowns were good. If they were wrong (that these were good), they’d be mocked and lose jobs, opportunities, friends, family, vacations, and social credit.
It may not necessarily be that they “wanted” to believe COVID was so awful we had to resort to these mandated measures through coercion and bullying, but they didn’t want to be labeled a COVID-denier, anti-vaxxer, rightwing nutjob, etc. They didn’t want to lose jobs, friends, family, and their “good reputations.”
When there was this demonization of anyone talking about the things that were banned off social media, it made it that much harder for people to disagree with the talking points of what was being allowed. It made it so people had such motivated reasoning to not change their minds, and that it made it impossible to change them.
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It’s Not Your Job To Change Other’s Minds
It can be very difficult for people to see others ignoring hard truths and not being able to “save” them from their “victimhood” to these falsehoods. But you cannot change their minds through logical discussions. It’s not about logic to them right now, it’s about emotions. Until they hit rock bottom and decide they need to change, they will not be open to the idea that they made a mistake.
You can’t have logical discussions to change their minds, but you can do something that doesn’t directly deal with them. You can be vocal about your beliefs in front of them, so they are no longer in an echo chamber and get to hear differing views.
Also, if someone comes up to you with a somewhat open mind, you can try to be patient with them and explain your views. It can be difficult to pinpoint if someone has an open mind or not. If you detect that they are not ready to hear it because they’re being too combative with your points, it’s okay to walk away. You may have planted seeds that will grow into them questioning things later. You may never know if you changed their mind in the long run.
This goes back to my post earlier about helping when people ask for help. Until and unless someone asks for help, don’t try to “save” them. You have to look for signs that the person will take some personal responsibility to take care of themselves (research further with an open mind in this case).
Please keep in mind that many people have many reasons why they don’t actually want to change their mind on a subject, even if they feel like they should say they have an open mind. You have to look for signs that they are walking the walk, and not just talking the talk before heavily engaging in discussions with them.