Weird religious news stories this week

Weird religious news stories this week

weird religious newsWe inherit much from our cultural background, and also often accept such ideas without giving it too much thought. We often also take much of it with a pinch of salt and tend not to generally take it too seriously. There are however people who do deeply embrace  religious beliefs as “truth” at a deep emotional level and then permit some rather crazy ideas to inspire and motivate behaviour that crosses a line.

What line?

You can and should be free to believe whatever you wish. The moment your beliefs motivate you to start impacting the well-being of others is the moment you have crossed the line. We have many words that describe that. For example “deception”, “fraud”, “intolerance”, etc…

To put that another way, if you don’t believe that gay marriage is OK, then don’t get married to somebody of the same gender. What you don’t get to do is to attempt to enshrine a belief that impacts the well-being and lives of others into law.

Each week, stories of those who cross the line pop up within the news cycle, and so below you will find a summary of such items that caught my eye during the last seven days.

What popped up in the news cycle this week?

Lying for Jesus …

Being a con man is just fine as long as you also promote Jesus …

Actual evidence simply does not matter …

Utter stupidity ..

“Those who don’t believe our silly claims are vile evil people” …

From the, “That was really not a good idea” category, we have this story …

Solution for domestic abuse is … do nothing …

Abortions are wrong because we need people to buy stuff from Toys-r-us …

The solution for gun violence … magic charms …

More sexual abuse stories (the shock is that it is no longer shocking) …

Spotlight item of the week

A newly published paper (May 3rd) attempts to explain the observation that religious fundamentalists are more prone to embracing fake news as fact.

Entitled “Reduced Analytic and Actively Open-Minded Thinking Help to Explain the Link between Belief in Fake News and Delusionality, Dogmatism, and Religious Fundamentalism“, the abstract explains …

Delusion-prone individuals may be more likely to accept even delusion-irrelevant implausible ideas because of their tendency to engage in less analytic and actively open-minded thinking. Consistent with this suggestion, two online studies with over 1000 participants demonstrated that delusion-prone individuals display an increased belief in fake news, which often features implausible content, and that this increase was partially explained by cognitive style. Exploratory analyses showed that dogmatic individuals and religious fundamentalists were also more likely to believe fake news, and that these relationships were fully explained by cognitive style. Our findings suggest that existing interventions on analytic and actively open-minded thinking might be leveraged to help prevent the deleterious effects of belief in fake news.

To translate:

  • If you are inclined to just believe things because they are socially acceptable and perhaps also emotionally satisfying, and don’t analyse the claim or wonder if it is actually true, then you will be far more susceptible to embracing fake news as fact.
  • If however your thinking is more analytical, then you will be less susceptible to being conned.

..or to put that another way, as one commentator with a sense of humour observed …

“Researchers Shocked to Learn That People Who Believe in an Ancient Jewish Zombie Are Gullible!”

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