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  1. #1
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    Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    Assertions:

    1. Humans are animals and therefore have instinctive drives to reproduce, eliminate competitors and acquire resources that will benefit their survival.

    2. Cooperation among Humans evolved because it increases the chances of survival. Cooperation reduces the risk of predation (safety in numbers) and allows the group to overcome problems that would be insurmountable for an individual.

    3. The conflict: many of the basic drives in #1 conflict with the smooth and orderly operation of a society, #2.

    4. Ethical Principles, Morality, Laws and Taboos suggest appropriate guidelines for resolving the conflict.

    Historically . . .

    5. Religions developed in primitive societies to provide answers to life's mysteries. One major advantage to religion was a reduction in the fear of the unknown. Because religion was created by man, most explanations involved anthropomorphism. Natural phenomena were explained in terms of human-like gods. (e.g. Zeus makes thunder, Apollo moves the Sun).

    6. The Judeo-Christian faiths coupled the concept of "God" with a set of moral principles (e.g. the ten commandments). The result was beneficial to their society because individuals were highly motivated to be on good terms with God and wanted to avoid his wrath. Hence they were more likely to comply with the code of conduct set forth in the commandments and by Jesus.

    Discussion:

    Assuming the validity of the assertions above, how does the concept of God benefit and hurt the whole of society, all of mankind now? What are the advantages and disadvantages of believing in the Judeo-Christian mythology (Heaven, Hell, God)? Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? Would it be better to go ahead and believe fully in the existence of God, in order to improve the functioning of society? How would that affect our relations with individuals subscribing to a different set of beliefs who are also part of mankind?

    Guidelines
    : I would really, really prefer that this thread not devolve into a shouting match between Atheists and Theists over the existence of God.

    There are many other threads where that has happened and is happening. Please join one of those other threads if this is what you would like to discuss. In this thread, we are assuming that God is a construct, an idea, a concept. We are discussing the advantages and disadvantages to society (not the individual or you) of maintaining the belief in God. Please do not try to prove or disprove God's existence.
    It is less important what you believe, than why you believe it.

  2. #2
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    I prefer the diversity we have now - I don't want everyone to believe in God and I don't want everyone to disbelieve. Let people believe what they want - as long as they don't force you to believe it (that includes hypnosis).
    While laughing at others stupidity, you may want to contemplate your own comedic talents. (link)
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  3. #3
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    One disadvantage of your thesis: Disbelief in God doesn't cause any fear of the unknown today. On the other hand, belief in God, causes a fear of Hell.

    Sidenotes:
    Are we considering the other alternatives, besides hypnotizing everybody to believe in God? What if we disillusion everybody to become an atheist?

    How do you define benefit to a society? Is it the the greatest possible benefit to the greatest number of people?

    I think this brings up the very important question: is it justifiable to force somebody to do something, if it benefits him/her? I say yes, as long as the benefit is desired by that person himself. By analogy, if a kid jumps into the fire, we'll try and stop him, because we know that the kid doesn't understand that the fire causes him pain (which is against his desires). Similarly, if a person doesn't understand that what he's doing will not fulfill his goals, we're justified in forcing him to stop.
    Last edited by Muse; October 27th, 2007 at 03:07 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    1) If you're going to about brainwashing people, it'd be far better to brainwash them into a moral system than a religion. All the benefits without the baggage.
    2) There's no real evidence connecting religion and positive morality. Non-religious people tend to be just as moral.
    3) Religion has been one of the most divisive forces in human history. On an intersocietal level, it has been a contributor to conflict, not cooperation.
    Freedom is you choosing for yourself. Law is the government choosing for you. The two are opposites.

    Pray - To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy - Ambrose Bierce
    Faith - Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge about things without parallel - Ambrose Bierce

  5. #5
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop View Post
    I prefer the diversity we have now - I don't want everyone to believe in God and I don't want everyone to disbelieve. Let people believe what they want - as long as they don't force you to believe it (that includes hypnosis).

    I fully agree with you here. As long as people don't force me to believe in what they believe in, i am happy. Everyone has the freedom of choice and the freedom of speech. They just need to know that they will need to take the consiquences of their choices as well.



    _________________________________ Post Merged _________________________________


    Quote Originally Posted by Zorak View Post
    Assertions:

    1. Humans are animals and therefore have instinctive drives to reproduce, eliminate competitors and acquire resources that will benefit their survival.

    Ok, i won't turn this into an argument, but i know for sure i am not an animal
    Last edited by ladyphoenix; November 27th, 2007 at 01:41 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost - Then fixing broken quote tag.

  6. #6
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Castle View Post
    1) If you're going to about brainwashing people, it'd be far better to brainwash them into a moral system than a religion. All the benefits without the baggage.
    2) There's no real evidence connecting religion and positive morality. Non-religious people tend to be just as moral.
    3) Religion has been one of the most divisive forces in human history. On an intersocietal level, it has been a contributor to conflict, not cooperation.
    I agree with 1 and 2; however, I was asking whether it would be better to convert everyone to the same religion. Sorry if this wasn't clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by muse
    I think this brings up the very important question: is it justifiable to force somebody to do something, if it benefits him/her? I say yes, as long as the benefit is desired by that person himself. By analogy, if a kid jumps into the fire, we'll try and stop him, because we know that the kid doesn't understand that the fire causes him pain (which is against his desires). Similarly, if a person doesn't understand that what he's doing will not fulfill his goals, we're justified in forcing him to stop.
    This reduces the potential learning associated with making errors. In the case of the child and the fire, I agree. In some cases, however, let 'em learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aspo
    i know for sure i am not an animal
    How do you know?
    It is less important what you believe, than why you believe it.

  7. #7
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    The problem I have with this idea of brainwashing/hypnotizing and stuff is that a few are to determine what is 'best' for the whole to believe in. Who determines if those few are correct or not or actually acting for the benefit of the whole? Who is to say that what is best for a thriving social system is what is best overall for humanity, the planet, the universe?

    I would say this is an issue of human arrogance where whoever gets into power then determines for themselves and the people they have dominion over what is 'best'. Personally, I do not like other mortal and fallible humans to determine what I should or shouldn't believe in, whether or not it is for the sake of the community. (Wouldn't that type of brainwashing be considered communistic?)

    The mind already has an inherent system of valuing life experiences. I trust that I already inherently sense what is best for me, whether or not I follow that sense. That is my free will to do so. To have someone try to hypnotize me to come in line to what they believe to be true isn't for my benefit or even the benefit of my society, it is for the benefit of those who came into enough power to try to manipulate my mind. I already have enough issues trying to dismantle what American consumer advertising has made me believe, I don't need more...
    Undress yourself of your beliefs and you will be that much more exposed to Truth.

    Is it the job of the Earth to bring us peace, or is it our job to bring peace on Earth?

  8. #8
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    I believe in the freedom of people to voice differing opinions (so long as these do not harm others), indeed, to have everyone singing from the same hymn sheet would be boring and negate evolutionary humanity - (and for we theists, 'God's Intentions').

    I don't care much for totalitarian states (religious or otherwise), and in anycase, unless everyone percieved 'God' and His nature and 'wishes' in a similar way, there would still be room for dissent and violence.

    I would also feel somewhat uneasy about the credentials and motives of the individual or group behind all this hypnotism.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
    Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson.

  9. #9
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    So the counterarguments thus far consist of:

    1. I don't want anyone else deciding for me what to believe.

    2. It would be boring.

    3. It contradicts god's intentions.

    4. There would still be some violence and dissent, regardless.

    Let's compare these to the benefits:

    1. After being hypnotized, nobody would recognize that the decision had been made for them; it would just seem, quite suddenly, that there was one God and we were all his children and life is sacred and we should treat everyone with respect and kindness.

    2. It would seem quite exciting, to believe that some awesome holy being was looking over us.

    3. Not sure what God's intentions are exactly, maybe this could be explained to me. Do reliigious wars fall under God's intentions somewhere?

    4. So there would be less violence, though, right? Lots less, even?
    It is less important what you believe, than why you believe it.

  10. #10
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    It seems that Utilitarians don't even bother to conceal the more insidious implications of their value system anymore.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

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  11. #11
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    It seems that Utilitarians don't even bother to conceal the more insidious implications of their value system anymore.
    I take it, Clive, that you would be opposed to hypnotizing everyone to believe in God?
    It is less important what you believe, than why you believe it.

  12. #12
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    I take it, Clive, that you would be opposed to hypnotizing everyone to believe in God?
    Without their consent? Of course.

    But does it really matter to you what I think? After all, you know better than all the rest of us, and if only you could force your views on enough people, the world would be a better place, right?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

    HOLY CRAP MY BLOG IS AWESOME

  13. #13
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Without their consent? Of course.
    I also cherish autonomy and would be opposed to forcing beliefs on others, whether through hypnosis or other means.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    But does it really matter to you what I think?
    If you have something worth listening to, I'll listen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    After all, you know better than all the rest of us, and if only you could force your views on enough people, the world would be a better place, right?
    I have enough trouble navigating my own life's decisions, let alone yours or anyone else's. I'm interested in whether there is value to the construct of God, regardless of whether God exists.
    It is less important what you believe, than why you believe it.

  14. #14
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zorak View Post
    Let's compare these to the benefits:

    1. After being hypnotized, nobody would recognize that the decision had been made for them; it would just seem, quite suddenly, that there was one God and we were all his children and life is sacred and we should treat everyone with respect and kindness.

    2. It would seem quite exciting, to believe that some awesome holy being was looking over us.

    3. Not sure what God's intentions are exactly, maybe this could be explained to me. Do reliigious wars fall under God's intentions somewhere?

    4. So there would be less violence, though, right? Lots less, even?
    I remember pondering the issue that when I actively believed in a creator that absolutely loved me, I felt ecstatic. I saw that as consoling and beneficial. But, when I thought that there was no god, *poof!* those related feelings vanished leaving me feeling cold and isolated. Is this similar to your issue?

    The only thing that I see wrong with instilling automatic belief in a higher deity is that on an individual level--even with the belief in God--there always seem to be a set of negative beliefs that a person must work through before achieving serenity. It is those negative beliefs, which may or may not be related to God-belief, that leads to violence and other negative behaviors. A person behaves violently either as a defense of some ideal or for the sheer enjoyment of being violent (i.e.: sadism).

    I think, rather, to achieve the goal you are aiming for, it is not a belief in God (which carries the burden of definition) that you are after. It is the belief that EVERYTHING (and, I mean EVERY THING that can be made aware of and conceived of) that exists is positive, beneficial, and loving and that NOTHING is negative, imperfect and threatening. The funny thing is, is that many theists believe God to be unconditionally loving and beneficial. Now it's just semantics to discern the difference between "everything" and "God".

    If we can get everybody to believe that every thing perceived is good and there is nothing bad at all in existence, then violence would definitely be stemmed because nothing would threaten one's ideals. And, if someone were being violent for the sheer joy of it, then others would perceive that as good and not retaliate unless it was pleasurable for them to do so...

    Interesting stuff...
    Undress yourself of your beliefs and you will be that much more exposed to Truth.

    Is it the job of the Earth to bring us peace, or is it our job to bring peace on Earth?

  15. #15
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    But does it really matter to you what I think? After all, you know better than all the rest of us, and if only you could force your views on enough people, the world would be a better place, right?
    One cannot really criticize him for believing his moral system - and vision of an ideal world - is right. I think the world would be a better place if everyone adhered to my beliefs as well. The only difference between us lies in the means he considers ethical to enforce it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zorak
    Let's compare these to the benefits:

    1. After being hypnotized, nobody would recognize that the decision had been made for them; it would just seem, quite suddenly, that there was one God and we were all his children and life is sacred and we should treat everyone with respect and kindness.

    2. It would seem quite exciting, to believe that some awesome holy being was looking over us.

    3. Not sure what God's intentions are exactly, maybe this could be explained to me. Do reliigious wars fall under God's intentions somewhere?

    4. So there would be less violence, though, right? Lots less, even?
    It raises questions, too (my numbers don't correspond with yours):

    1. Could we not achieve the same effects by hypnotizing someone to a moral system, as Castle suggested?
    2. Should we be hypnotizing everyone into a moral system we cannot rationally verify to be correct?
    3. Does the benefit to be derived in terms of reducing violence and crime outweigh the trampling of personal autonomy and freedom that comes with such a proposal?
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  16. #16
    mtdewrush
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    Lightbulb Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    I am torn. On the one hand, it would seem beneficial to go ahead and make everyone believe in one god. If this were to come about, there wouldn't be religious wars and people would be seemingly at peace all practicing the same standards etc..

    Then I think a bit more on it and religion seems to be the very thing that is tearing the world apart. Wouldn't it be nice if nobody had to worry about pleasing a god? Nobody would judge each other and threaten eternal damnation if they didn't straighten up their act.
    The bible would become just another story book that people could read if they chose to do so, but it would be more like a Reader's Digest where they compile multiple books/stories into one.
    People could still learn lessons from the bible as we do when we read or see anything. It just wouldn't rule our lives.

  17. #17
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zorak
    5. Religions developed in primitive societies to provide answers to life's mysteries. One major advantage to religion was a reduction in the fear of the unknown. Because religion was created by man, most explanations involved anthropomorphism. Natural phenomena were explained in terms of human-like gods. (e.g. Zeus makes thunder, Apollo moves the Sun).
    While I agree that religion serves this purpose, your definition is incomplete. It's like stating "used car lots exist to provide affordable transportation to the masses." That's only part of the truth. The other part is that used car lots exist to help a minority of individuals gain wealth at the expense of the unwise consumer.

    So, we cannot discuss religion without discussing all its meanings & uses. What you're missing is that religion is used to control / influence the masses. It doesn't only explain. It prescribes a specific set of behaviors which can be manipulated to swing the will of the masses into specific actions... like blowing people up, following in crusades, or voting for terrible candidates in elections.

    I don't remember who, but someone once said, "Without religion, there would be good people doing good things and bad people doing bad things. It takes religion to get good people to do bad things." History (and our daily news) is full of individuals doing terrible things motivated primarily by religion. Suicide bombers come to mind.

    That all being said...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zorak
    Assuming the validity of the assertions above, how does the concept of God benefit and hurt the whole of society, all of mankind now?
    It hurts mankind now the way it's always hurt mankind. It exists as an oportunity for a radical minority to swing the will of impressionable individuals to commit heinous acts and to convince the majority that these heinous acts are acceptable. It's possible to be a muslim and blow up people with a perfectly defensible reading of the Kuran. It's possible to attack abortion clinic doctors with a defensible reading of the bible.

    No doubt, there are Christians outraged at that last sentence and who are eagerly reaching for their bible to prove where I'm wrong. My correctness or incorrectness is beside the point. What does matter is Christianity allows for the differing of opinion. It allows for a defensible reading of "thou shalt not kill" to mean it's all right to stop an abortion clinic doctor from doing his work by say... maiming him and it also allows for the idea that killing to doctor is forbidden.

    It proves that Christianity can be interpreted any way individuals choose to manipulate it.

    If you're a Christian, this should have you very concerned and asking questions. Likely it won't... which simply furthers my point.

    The world would be a far better place without religion.

    As for hypnotizing everyone to believe? That's exactly what has happened. The majority of people hypnotize their children into believing complete nonsense by indoctrinating them into religion.

  18. #18
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    One cannot really criticize him for believing his moral system - and vision of an ideal world - is right.
    I'm not faulting him for the act of holding to a belief. I'm criticizing what he believes in: an ideology that permits violence and coercion to effect a change of opinion.

    I think the world would be a better place if everyone adhered to my beliefs as well. The only difference between us lies in the means he considers ethical to enforce it.
    Ah, I forgot to mention that. Fortunately for anyone who wasn't aware of the keenly obvious, you covered it well.

    The point is that I'm criticizing his ethics. But thank you for pointing out that our debate about ethics...is about ethics.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

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  19. #19
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    While I agree that religion serves this purpose, your definition is incomplete. It's like stating "used car lots exist to provide affordable transportation to the masses." That's only part of the truth. The other part is that used car lots exist to help a minority of individuals gain wealth at the expense of the unwise consumer.
    I agree. Powerful ideas like those wielded in major religions are tempting to those who would use them for selfish purposes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    As for hypnotizing everyone to believe? That's exactly what has happened. The majority of people hypnotize their children into believing complete nonsense by indoctrinating them into religion.
    I also agree with this. The mind is most susceptible to hypnotic suggestion during childhood. Anyone opposed to hypnotizing people to believe in God would never take their children to church.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive Staples
    I'm not faulting him for the act of holding to a belief. I'm criticizing what he believes in: an ideology that permits violence and coercion to effect a change of opinion.
    I'm here. You can address me directly. Also, if you want to criticize what I believe in, perhaps you could exert a small amount of effort to determine what that is. I have already agreed with you that coercion is unethical. I said nothing about the use of violence to force beliefs on people.

    Instead, I'm asking what value the concept of God has by posing a rhetorical question, whether it would be better to hypnotize everyone to believe in Him. Let's try again:

    If you could, say, snap your fingers . . . and everyone would believe in the same god, have the same set of morals and values, would society be better off?

    I am inclined to think that many of the people who founded religions did so because they believed the answer to this question was "yes". In other words, morality-based religions may have begun as a well-meaning attempt to improve society. Maybe it's not the most ethical approach to establishing order in the midst of chaos, but it might have been effective in saving lives and creating solidarity. Perhaps such drastic measures are no longer necessary and can be safely phased out, but some people believe out of force of habit and, as Zhav said (taking the words from my mouth) because they were hypnotized before they even knew what that meant.
    Last edited by Zorak; November 27th, 2007 at 12:26 AM.
    It is less important what you believe, than why you believe it.

  20. #20
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    Re: Would it be best to hypnotize everyone to believe in God?

    I think the best argument against, ethics aside, is that religion or a faith based belief limits thought, exploration, science. Why look further for truth and meaning in the universe while the answer is placed in your head? ... God made it happen, created it, whatever - and God is beyond our understanding, so whatever you're pondering, just leave it be.

 

 
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