Learned helplessness

50


Discussion by: oleg.gayevsky

Hello from Ukraine!=) Sorry for my English, google translate is to blame for 80% of my mistakes in the sentences =DDD

Sorry if someone has already discussed this, but still.
Perhaps someone thinks that a true believer, so difficult to change their beliefs, because they are stupid or poorly educated. I seriously doubt that all true believers are stupid or dumb. Recently I read about psychological experiments, and one of them struck me as very appropriate for the explanation of fanatical faith.
It's an experiment called "Learned helplessness" which held the American psychologist Martin Seligman in 1967.
I will give a brief description. I will not go into details. you yourself can easily read the wiki about the experiment completely.
here briefly:

"Learned helplessness is the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it to help itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situationOrganisms that have been ineffective and less sensitive in determining the consequences of their behavior are defined as having acquired Learned Helplessness"

you like this idea?
they are trained to be helpless. because they were forced to think that control over their lives they do not.
And they are so fanatically defended because it is the only thing that they can do on their own.

 

50 COMMENTS

  1. I’m a bit confused. Bear with the dippity fundamentalist that is me. Assume God is real and so forth and faith in the Son of God as God is a gift to all mankind, waiting for takers. Now let’s assume I am a drug addicted, drug dealing porn purveyor. Let’s say I have been really trying to stop those things. All the best psychiatric treatment in the world hasn’t helped me. If I accept Jesus as God, and if my faith depends on a simple belief, and from that root belief I find I have been given the strength to overcome addictions and/or problematic/destructive behaviors (because of the gift of faith I received), how does this qualify as learned, and how does it qualify as helpless? I hadn’t learned the skills found in my new strengths to ignore temptations, nor was I being helpless, waiting around in my tight-whities with a giant bowl of cereal watching cartoons, waiting for God to miraculously heal my mind with no effort on my part. If anything, endless counseling or repeated counseling cycles would qualify as learned helplessness, even shamanism, because I exhibited dependence on them, with no measurable change. At best, you could call faith a placebo. But if it is concocted nonsense without the power to change the natural, material neural network of conditioned responses, why did the gift of faith, rather than the sciences more grounded in material reality, with many more available theories and tools, help me instead?

    To the first post I reply that a couple of those studies only prove what men will do to themselves and others on the natural plane given no guidance nor any accountability. Moreover, I feel that at least two of them only serve to prove that the softer the science, the closer they are in shade to the ethical horror show they can be, that they lend themselves to authoritarianism, promote conformity, and create intergroup turmoil (I say this even though it’s what I do for a living – one small example – I think of the ways in which behavioural analysis has changed websites, advertising, etc. Read the posts on alternative news sites and it’s amazing how many reprehensible things are said seemingly in order to garner votes.)

    I wiki’d the Asch Experiment and I am wondering if the confederate participants were blind to one another’s participation as confederates?

    • In reply to #2 by shortpolock:

      I’m a bit confused. Bear with the dippity fundamentalist that is me. Assume God is real and so forth and faith in the Son of God as God is a gift to all mankind, waiting for takers. Now let’s assume I am a drug addicted, drug dealing porn purveyor. Let’s say I have been really trying to stop those t…

      Sorry Shortpolack. You lost me at “Assume God is real”…. Any argument built on this fantasy has got to be nonsense. Akin to “Assume disease is caused by demons,” or “Assume there are ghosts in your house right now.” A waste of consciousness to follow you down that crooked path.

      • A WASTE OF CONCIOUSNESS ??!!!??!!!??!!!??

        Jiminy Cricket, man. Ouch. Just call me Alice. ;-)

        In reply to #9 by justinesaracen:

        In reply to #2 by shortpolock:

        I’m a bit confused. Bear with the dippity fundamentalist that is me. Assume God is real and so forth and faith in the Son of God as God is a gift to all mankind, waiting for takers. Now let’s assume I am a drug addicted, drug dealing porn purveyor. Let’s say I have be…

    • In reply to #2 by shortpolock:

      Assume God is real and so forth and faith in the Son of God as God is a gift to all mankind, waiting for takers.

      This is totally begging the question, but anyway…

      Now let’s assume I am a drug addicted, drug dealing porn purveyor… All the best psychiatric treatment in the world hasn’t helped me. If I accept Jesus as God, and if my faith depends on a simple belief, and from that root belief I find I have been given the strength to overcome addictions and/or problematic/destructive behaviors (because of the gift of faith I received), how does this qualify as learned, and how does it qualify as helpless? …If anything, endless counseling or repeated counseling cycles would qualify as learned helplessness, even shamanism, because I exhibited dependence on them, with no measurable change. At best, you could call faith a placebo.

      … I agree entirely here, as none of this actually requires there to really be a God. Many ex-addicts do make such claims for conversion: and (having been a psychiatrist), though many have been helped by psychiatry, many have become helpless through ill judged or downright abusive psychiatry. I’m surprised you write, “At best, you could call faith a placebo” – but there too I agree, ie that is my view as to how faith can improve lives despite being a sugar pill.
      .

      But if it is concocted nonsense without the power to change the natural, material neural network of conditioned responses, why did the gift of faith, rather than the sciences more grounded in material reality, with many more available theories and tools, help me instead?

      In orthodox psychiatry, even medicine in general, treatments can work without it being known how eg how painkillers work has only relatively recently been found out. One could say that psychodynamic therapy was concocted nonsense – and believe me many have! – but it has still helped at least in some ways. In other words, treatments or other events may have an effect, but that does not mean how they are thought to work has any bearing on what actually happens. We are limited as to the inferences one can make after events.

      • …how does this qualify as learned, and how does it qualify as helpless? …If anything, endless counseling or repeated counseling cycles would qualify as learned helplessness, even shamanism, because I exhibited dependence on them, with no measurable change. At best, you could call faith a placebo.

        I agree entirely here, as none of this actually requires there to really be a God. Many ex-addicts do make such claims for conversion: and (having been a psychiatrist), though many have been helped by psychiatry, many have become helpless through ill judged or downright abusive psychiatry. I’m surprised you write, “At best, you could call faith a placebo” – but there too I agree, ie that is my view as to how faith can improve lives despite being a sugar pill.

        When I was a kid, I saw a psychiatrist who gave me brain supplements to help me do better in school. It worked for about a week until it was my turn to go feed the rabbits in the back of the property. At some point the game is up. What convinced you the Game was up? Was it inference or deduction?

        In orthodox psychiatry, even medicine in general, treatments can work without it being known how…

        So why then does faith need to be a placebo? (I mentioned it because it is an obvious conclusion) What do you think of Gould’s notion of NOMA?

        In reply to #10 by steve_hopker:

        In reply to #2 by shortpolock:

        Assume God is real and so forth and faith in the Son of God as God is a gift to all mankind, waiting for takers.

        This is totally begging the question, but anyway…

        Now let’s assume I am a drug addicted, drug dealing porn purveyor… All the best psychiatric treatme…

        • In reply to #26 by shortpolock:

          So why then does faith need to be a placebo? (I mentioned it because it is an obvious conclusion) What do you think of Gould’s notion of NOMA?

          Faith doesn’t need to be a placebo, but it may be. However, while treatments for psychiatric (psychological) problems can be medical, quite often they are not, or not exclusively. The placebo concept in psychological treatment is more complex. But there are trials comparing a specific therapy to both a waiting list or unstructured contact (although waiting is ‘no intervention’, it might not be the best way to tease out a specific response). So it might be that the real benefits of going to church could be unique to churchgoing (e.g. there may be some supernatural healing): or might be similar to going to some regular secular activity (say meditation).

          In terms of Gould’s full NOMA stance, inasmuch as I have grasped it, I do not understand how the NOMAs can ever interact if they really never overlap, and, from that, how any entity can have contact with both and hence know about both. NOMA seems to avoid a clash between scientific and religious knowledge at the cost of an unbridgeable epistemological divide.

          Put another way, I see NOMA as self-contradictory. For if NOMA was right, then that implies one can only achieve full knowledge from both science and religion. But if NOMA is right and these realms have no overlap, then there is no way to know both of them – there is no overlapping area to know them both from. So NOMA, while claiming full knowledge is needed through science and religion at the same time makes that range of knowledge impossible. I think that means NOMA boils down to knowing supposed concepts such as square circles – sounding good, maybe a metaphor of some kind. But like square circles, NOMAs cannot be known to exist.

    • In reply to #2 by shortpolock:

      I’m a bit confused. Bear with the dippity fundamentalist that is me. Assume God is real and so forth and faith in the Son of God as God is a gift to all mankind, waiting for takers. Now let’s assume I am a drug addicted, drug dealing porn purveyor. Let’s say I have been really trying to stop those t…

      Faith: a gift or a curse?

  2. Hi Oleg,

    Perhaps having faith in a religion is like having faith in a football club (or whatever). A fan, whether dumb or genius, may grow up to believe that a particular club is the greatest, because from birth the father or mother kept drumming into the fan’s head that there is nothing quite like it in the whole world. Always going to matches, always wearing the club’s shirt, and always chanting, “We’ll support you ever more”. The goalkeeper and defenders may be useless, and the forwards can’t score any goals, but the fans keep the faith and some of them, when the club loses a match, throw beer glasses or racist insults at the fans of other clubs, or at the referee, or at football heretics. Anyone for tennis?

    • In reply to #4 by ZedBee:

      Pop culture, especially Canadian comedians, like to reference a hockey team called the “Maple Leafs” (sic).

      They always lose, but the fans are so loyal they make more money than other teams. I am not a hockey fan, but I think perhaps 60 years ago they were more successful.

  3. It is certainly a condition which seems to effect climate change Deniers (arguably a new religion in itself). The implications of them being wrong are so overwhelming, they decide they just have to be right, regardless of any amount of evidence.

    • In reply to #5 by Stevehill:
      Religious people sometimes assert that God won’t let climate change happen. He loves us too much. If necessary he will pull off some grandiose miracles to make it all better.

      Othertimes they relish the notion of mass destruction, and want to fund events to bring a prophesy to fruition involving Israel.

      The bible says 144,000 virgin boys get to go to heaven. The rest roast. I can hardly see anyone looking forward to end times.

      These beliefs seem not just nuts, but highly inconsistent.

  4. Shortpolock:

    Assume God is real and so forth and faith in the Son of God as God is a gift to all mankind, waiting for takers. Now let’s assume I am a drug addicted, drug dealing porn purveyor…

    Are you trying to use a hypothetical scenario that conveniently suits your agenda as… evidence for your agenda?

    Let’s ASSUME something else shall we?

    Let’s assume that god doesn’t exist, that Jesus wasn’t the son of god with any divine powers, and died like any mortal man.
    Lets assume that you’re a drug addict, brought up as a Christian lets say, but you never really embraced your faith and rebelled against your family and ended up in this horrendous state. You’ve been to see counsellors who have tried to help you help yourself, instructing you with the things you need to do to get yourself out of this mess. But you feel helpless, that’s why you ended up in this situation. You can’t explain why, but you just can’t be convinced that you have the power to stop taking drugs, you’re addicted and the addiction is too powerful for you to overcome.
    Then let’s assume you go to a church where some preacher tells you to give yourself up to god and you’ll be saved and cured of your addiction. This apparent revelation triggers emotions from your childhood, and invokes a childlike reverence for this new authority. Suddenly it’s not you who has to do anything, suddenly the burden of responsibility is on someone else, and that feels great. You’ve convinced yourself that if you try to do anything to help yourself then you’ll fail, and that’s what causes you to fail, self sabotage. But if someone else does it, then it might not fail, especially if that someone is the almighty god. As long as you convince yourself that you’re worthless and someone much better than you has taken responsibility for your life, then you won’t relapse, so in a way god has saved you.

    But god doesn’t actually exist (we’re still assuming, play along) and his effect on you is a psychological illusion, you could have successfully recovered just the same if you had managed to convince yourself that you weren’t worthless and that you had the ability to save yourself, that you were choosing to remain an addict all along because you didn’t want to take responsibility for your actions. But that method seems much more difficult, and you had emotional barriers in the way from your childhood Christian indoctrination.

  5. Actually that ‘assumption’ is a bit of a cliché.

    Let’s assume that you recovered from your drug addiction, and lived a happier, healthier life for a few years on the back of your ‘born again’ experience. Everything seemed peachy but it was all based on self-deception. Whenever someone brought up the possibility of god not existing, or the fact that you recovered from your addiction on your own you get angry at them, because the idea that god doesn’t exist makes you extremely anxious, if he doesn’t exist then you’re afraid you’ll relapse and ruin your life again. It’s terrifying, atheists have become the most terrifying people in your world, because if they’re right then your entire life is a lie, it could fall apart and you could relapse. ¬

    Let’s assume you see a Christian counsellor about your anxiety. He reinforces your dependence on your faith in god, but your doubts and anxiety don’t go away. You might be more convinced of your faith in god and so you might develop a smug self-righteousness to counter the anxiety brought on by these atheists, but it never truly goes away. Then one day you face an emotional crisis, you lose a loved one, and this poses a serious challenge to your faith. You’ve built your entire life on this single pillar of faith and it’s been suddenly struck down. Let’s assume you relapse, and become addicted again, because you’ve lost your god, or your god has forsaken you, he took your loved one away and it doesn’t seem fair, he’s not looking out for you anymore.

    But lets rewind the clock a bit, lets assume you went to see a secular counsellor about your anxiety about god, you might be convinced that you made the changes in your life, that you are responsible for all the good in your life and not god, you might finally see reality as it is and lose your faith in god and live just as happy a life, if not happier, because you’re not constantly anxious about atheists confronting your beliefs. Then, when you lose your loved one, you have more than a single pillar of faith to fall back on, everything you relied on your religion to provide you’ve found in other places, you have a whole network of emotional and psychological support. It’s hard, you grieve like anyone else, but you’ve only lost one loved one, you haven’t lost a god at the same time and so the wound isn’t quite as deep, and you’re still able to resist the drugs because you’re still the person who resisted them in the first place.

  6. I think learned helplessness may be a factor for some conversions but not all. Furthermore, it would often be as a step rather than a final state.

    It does seem that some believers have had multiple traumas and got into a seemingly unescapable situation – like the electrified cage floor of Seligmans’ dogs – and have become resigned and maybe depressed. However, I don’t think the testimony of such converts is that they continued in such as state i.e. learned helplessness was a step. Maybe conversion is to helplessness and entrapment of some kind, but rarely to utter passivity and chronic depression.

    Furthermore, some conversions appears to be about getting excited and some gain – perhaps even financial. Or maybe just to fit in and be able to progress in a career and relationships. Faith becomes a route to power of some kind.

    All that said, passivity and ‘helplessness’ is built into a lot of religion, so while the route to it may not be like that of Seligman’s tortured animals, helplessness is there in spades.

  7. Christians are taught to submit to authority without thinking. They are taught it is wicked to question. They are taught at a very early age the basics of the faith. Think of the things you learned before age 2 — do not run in front of cars, do not poke strange dogs with a stick, do not defecate on the floor, do not put your finger in a mousetrap, do not touch the stove elements. It would be extremely difficult to talk you out of these, no matter how brilliant the logic. We believe tenaciously whatever mommy taught us first.

    I have noticed that JWs are taught to believe they are stupid, not to trust their own thinking (even for the most obvious conclusions), always to defer to an “overseer”. This is a form of learned helplessness.

  8. OOoooo ! I love shortpolock’s thought experiment !

    Assume God is real and so forth and faith in the Son of God as God is a gift to all mankind, waiting for takers.

    Yes let’s assume that for the sake of discussion ! Now no changing horses, shortpolock ! This lovely caring God who cares so much about shortpolock’s welfare, that He steps in to give the helpless person some of His grace, is the same monster who allows some 30,000 children to die every day of poverty related issues. Children mind, not even sinners, just plain helpless destitute young human beings. If I was God I wouldn’t allow that. There would be no poverty. This same caring God, in His wisdom, did nothing to prevent the many tragedies through the centuries, including so many natural disasters, diseases and wars among humans. Where was God during the holocaust ? What did He do on the Eastern Front in WW2 when Christians on both sides were freely slaughtering each other. Over 20 million died in that particular struggle. For what ? So that the caring Jesus could attend to poor shortpolock and his problems?

    Forget Hiroshima, shortpolock has an addiction !

    A rather egocentric view of the world, IMO !

    • In reply to #13 by Mr DArcy:

      OOoooo ! I love shortpolock’s thought experiment !

      Assume God is real and so forth and faith in the Son of God as God is a gift to all mankind, waiting for takers.

      Yes let’s assume that for the sake of discussion ! Now no changing horses, shortpolock ! This lovely caring God who cares so much abo…

      It is so easy, isn’t it? Your moral outrage at God makes me think you might actually believe in God.

  9. In terms of mental health its hard to find out if the problem is biomedical predisposed by genes or biomedical underpinned by psychological leanings. This is the reason why we have so called ‘psychiatric survivors’ decrying pharmacology for mental health as barbarity, abusive and inhumane. Why? Because they have found solitude and sukor in psychotherapy and alternative approaches. Of course they ignore the objective reality that serious mental illness is predisposed by genetic influences and its pathology is outside the reach of psychological approaches.

    ****Apologies for the spelling don’t have spell checker at the mo.

  10. I hope shortpolock’s confusion has been eased somewhat. Some excellent responses taking his post seriously. And a few dismissive ones, but we’re used to that round here.

    From my own experience, “born again” people seem to be especially dishonest about taking personal responsibility for their actions. Like it’s a free ticket to act like a cunt and expect to get away with it.

    Shortpolock, to his credit, doesn’t sound like one of those.

    • That was refreshing. Thank you.

      In reply to #20 by OHooligan:

      I hope shortpolock’s confusion has been eased somewhat. Some excellent responses taking his post seriously. And a few dismissive ones, but we’re used to that round here.

      From my own experience, “born again” people seem to be especially dishonest about taking personal responsibility for their acti…

  11. As long as you convince yourself that you’re worthless and someone much better than you has taken responsibility for your life, then you won’t relapse, so in a way god has saved you.

    Problem is, your replies rest on another mistaken assumption, that I am saved from the awful scary stuff in the spoon; that my life has made a 180 relative to the drug, or whatever. In reality (well, what you, Seraphor, might say is my subjective reality) my faith is simply acceptance of the fact that I was bought from the consequences of my sin. My salvation in Christ is the first fruit of that belief. I used to think that salvation rested in my spotless record, but I’ve come to find out that that would mean when anyone sins they lose their salvation, until they repent again and ask for forgiveness. For an eternal God that would be pretty weak. From what I understand of the Bible, an addict’s relapse need not crush his/her faith because it is a gift. Their salvation does not rest with them.

  12. Shortpolok:

    Problem is, your replies rest on another mistaken assumption, that I am saved from the awful scary stuff in the spoon; that my life has made a 180 relative to the drug, or whatever. In reality (well, what you, Seraphor, might say is my subjective reality) my faith is simply acceptance of the fact that I was bought from the consequences of my sin. My salvation in Christ is the first fruit of that belief. I used to think that salvation rested in my spotless record, but I’ve come to find out that that would mean when anyone sins they lose their salvation, until they repent again and ask for forgiveness. For an eternal God that would be pretty weak. From what I understand of the Bible, an addict’s relapse need not crush his/her faith because it is a gift. Their salvation does not rest with them.

    I’m sorry, I thought the topic was all about mistaken assumptions, please forgive my mistake, but can you see how I could have made that mistake with all the talk of assumptions and gods and salvation?

    I’m not going to respond to much of this reply because it is all begging the question and taking christian dogma as axiom, so it’s really not worth anyone’s time trying to reason you out of it. You won’t accept anyone’s argument against it on the basis that it doesn’t suppose salvation as the one and only solution.

    I would just like to point out though, how you recognise a fault with your bible’s logic, yet rather than see it as a fault you rationalise an alternate fantasy to replace it and your god is all tickityboo again.

    Well done, you’re really succesfull at this self-deception mallarky.

  13. shortpolok:

    I used to think that salvation rested in my spotless record, but I’ve come to find out that that would mean when anyone sins they lose their salvation, until they repent again and ask for forgiveness. For an eternal God that would be pretty weak.

    On second thought, I would like to address the startling flaw you’ve rationalised yourself out of.

    This is a classic paradox for christianity, and from some respects it’s main failing as a system of moral guidance. Two opposing scenarios, neither are very good systems, but depending on your interpretation of the bible you will need to choose one of them. Different christian sects choose differently.

    On the one hand you have the scenario where your god is a strict and merciless judge of character, expelling you from heaven if you’ve committed grievous sins, no matter how much repentance you do. Of course not every case is like that, I’m sure he’d open the gates for you if you stole a loaf of bread or coveted your neighbours butt, but surely he’s not going to let in the mass murderers or child rapists, even if they’ve repented, right?

    Secondly you have the capitalist system, where salvation is bought with the currency of faith. The more faith you have, the more misdeeds you can be forgiven for. Under this system, heaven is populated with flocks of pious Christians, along with all the child rapist priests of the catholic church, and probably Hitler too, because they all had faith in god, it doesn’t matter that they were horrible, despicable people who caused a great deal of harm, they had faith.

    If it’s the latter, then you have the problem of hell being populated mainly by good, moral, non-christians and heaven populated mainly by faithful monsters who were cunning enough to bargain their way in through timely repentance.
    If it’s the former, then you have the problem of faith not actually accounting for much, and heaven is populated by all the best people in the world, mainly non-christians although I’m sure a fair amount of good christians as well, and hell full of all the horrible monsters, even the christian monsters, which is of course a problem to those who want to peddle Christianity.

    • Wow, that is really misinformed. I’ll get back to you sooner than I got back to stevehopker.

      In reply to #29 by Seraphor:

      shortpolok:

      I used to think that salvation rested in my spotless record, but I’ve come to find out that that would mean when anyone sins they lose their salvation, until they repent again and ask for forgiveness. For an eternal God that would be pretty weak.

      On second thought, I would like to addr…

    • I used to think that salvation rested in my spotless record, but I’ve come to find out that that would mean when anyone sins they lose their salvation, until they repent again and ask for forgiveness. For an eternal God that would be pretty weak.

      On second thought, I would like to address the startling flaw you’ve rationalised yourself out of.

      This is a classic paradox for christianity, and from some respects it’s main failing as a system of moral guidance. Two opposing scenarios, neither are very good systems, but depending on your interpretation of the bible you will need to choose one of them. Different christian sects choose differently.

      Which ones?

      Dear Mods, I will respond with some verses intended to inform, that is all. I realise it is a lot but the argument doesn’t hold water in light of the text being criticized.

      Behind this curtain…

      …you have the scenario where your god is a strict and merciless judge of character

      Character? That is not as deep as God says He goes. 1 Samuel 16:7 – “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart [the word denotes the inner man, seat of reason].”

      expelling you from heaven if you’ve committed grievous sins,

      Jesus addresses this in John 3. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

      According to God, we all start with life genetically predisposed to break God’s commandments, so are lost from the start.

      no matter how much repentance you do. Of course not every case is like that, I’m sure he’d open the gates for you if you stole a loaf of bread or coveted your neighbours butt…

      This places weight on sin. All sin separates us from God. Obviously some sins are despicable while others are niggling little trifles. But His standard is perfection, so all sin carries the same weight, death.

      Behind this curtain, a grotesque beast of human malevolence -

      …you have the capitalist system, where salvation is bought with the currency of faith.

      Two misconceptions. 1. Faith is a gift. It is not mustered up and paid out.

      Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

      Romans 12:6 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

      The more faith you have, the more misdeeds you can be forgiven for.

      1 John1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

      Under this system, heaven is populated with flocks of pious Christians, along with all the child rapist priests of the catholic church

      How?

      2 Forgiveness is eternal, once for all. Salvation is the result of being redeemed, or bought by Christ’s sacrifice.

      1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
      Hebrews 10:10 … we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
      Jeremiah 31:34 “Their sins and lawless acts / I will remember no more.”

      and probably Hitler too, because they all had faith in god, it doesn’t matter that they were horrible, despicable people who caused a great deal of harm, they had faith.

      John 3, again: 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

      The word for love there is the unconditional, sacrificial love, agape. The word “does” in “does evil” means making a practice of evil.
      So, making a judgement call here, but a rational one: Hitler, Catholic Priest chester molesters – you name it – having made a practice of these things and having not the kind of faith that transforms (Romans 12:2 – be ye not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may prove what is that good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God) but simply a mental nod while practicing evil things is not Christian, not “in the light”. 1 John 1 tells us all about that. Again only God can see the heart, but from the heart come all sorts of evil things, behaviors, thoughts, speech. So we have a clue and know who to stay away from.

      In the end it is a heart issue. Only God knows our minds. All we can do is observe behavior and make judgement calls, not condemnations. But it is true that a raping pedophile can repent from his heart and be saved. Is it likely? I would venture to guess not. Yet Christ died for all, not just the “good” people.

      As far as God coming down and tinkering with our minds to make us do good, that is the work of God’s Holy Spirit who transforms our minds to do good.

      James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what goodb is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

      1 Corinthians 6:19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

      So simple faith in Christ’s redemption bears the fruit of salvation (faith akin to the kind of trust you place in your appliances or chair or wife or faithfully sturdy consistent thing – we act on it), to which God grants his Spirit and transforms our minds (Romans 12:2) to want to do good. Only God knows whether a person’s faith is genuine.

      Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
      and desperately sick;
      who can understand it?
      10 “I the LORD search the heart
      and test the mind,
      to give every man according to his ways,
      according to the fruit of his deeds.”

      I don’t see how this fits in either of those categories.

      BTW, I enjoy you’re writing style. It is at once familiar but with an air of Circus Tent Master, and I mean that as a compliment :)

      In reply to #29 by Seraphor:

      shortpolok:

      I used to think that salvation rested in my spotless record, but I’ve come to find out that that would mean when anyone sins they lose their salvation, until they repent again and ask for forgiveness. For an eternal God that would be pretty weak.

      On second thought, I would like to addr…

      • Two things:

        1. I “liked” your comment (#35) because I thought your “but I’m not” was in response to me mentioning that you are coming off as a megalomaniacal egotist. Then, I read further down the thread and realized that your “but I’m not” referred to my “maybe you are wrong”….

        I STILL “like” your comment because it clearly makes my case for the former. (the smileys are a nice touch)…

        1. Your endlessly boring, pontificating drivel in comment #39 cements the issue shut.

        Your god fixation is a YOU fixation. You spout off pretentious bullshit and then preen as if you’ve said something of import. Total and complete projection. Look god in the mirror. You’ll see YOU looking back. Analyze yourself as you would a patient of yours and then see what your diagnosis would be.

        PS. There is nothing inappropriate about calling it like it is. On this site, inappropriate posts get flagged by the moderators. You may feel a bit put on the spot, but, that’s just your psychosis talking. You get to spout your nonsensical opinion. I have mine. And, as far as a sense of humor is concerned, I did “like” your comment and I even chuckled (chortled) a bit when I read it.

        In reply to #39 by shortpolock:

        I used to think that salvation rested in my spotless record, but I’ve come to find out that that would mean when anyone sins they lose their salvation, until they repent again and ask for forgiveness. For an eternal God that would be pretty weak.

        On second thought, I would like to address the start…

  14. shortpolock:

    From what I understand of the Bible, an addict’s relapse need not crush his/her faith because it is a gift. Their salvation does not rest with them.

    Of course this is a view from faith, and not one based on psychology. Regardless of whether scripture says an addict should or should not lose his faith is irrelevant. Faith is a thought process, and if you lose it then you lose it, regardless of gods wishes.
    Unless you’re saying that when you have faith in god, then he will literally come down and tinker with your brain to prevent you losing that faith in the future. Which is demonstrably wrong because people do in fact lose their faith in god.

    So regardless of whether a relapse need not result in a loss of faith, it can and does. In reality, emotional crises DO lead some people to lose their faith in god, and losing faith in god is an emotional crisis in itself for most of those people, and so the damage is two-fold. That’s psychological damage that can be mitigated if a person rejects the fantastical idea of god before they suffer any other emotional trauma.

    • Is that based on psychology?

      In reply to #30 by Seraphor:

      shortpolock:

      From what I understand of the Bible, an addict’s relapse need not crush his/her faith because it is a gift. Their salvation does not rest with them.

      Of course this is a view from faith, and not one based on psychology. Regardless of whether scripture says an addict should or should no…

  15. Egotistical self centered megalomaniac.
    There, am I talking about shortpolock or god? It seems that the two are conflated (especially in shortpolock’s mind). Having been a psychiatrist you certainly are selectively blind to your own psyche. Of course, the person with the problem is often the last one to realize that they have a problem. Your drug addict analogy works well here.

    It is like stepping in dogshit that you cannot smell but everyone else can. Good luck with that “fact” that god is real and all that… BTW, you could be wrong.

    • But I’m not. :-) :-) :-)

      In reply to #31 by crookedshoes:

      Egotistical self centered megalomaniac.
      There, am I talking about shortpolock or god? It seems that the two are conflated (especially in shortpolock’s mind). Having been a psychiatrist you certainly are selectively blind to your own psyche. Of course, the person with the problem is often the last…

  16. _In reply to #32 by bobe_s:

    In reply to #23 by shortpolock:

    My faith is simply acceptance of the fact that I was bought from the consequences of my sin.

    What?

    It’s like an insurance payout. You pay in with regular faith deposits and if you commit a sin the punishment is paid for you by Jesus Inc. It’s a cheaper premium than Allah LTD (only occasional, sporadic paymen ts as opposed to five payments a day) but then you don’t get the 72 virgins when you die so it’s a fair trade off.

    I’d recomend forking out a little more for their Catholic policy though, as they tend to pay out for a wider range of sins, even some of the really bad ones!

  17. I know Christians like to obfuscate the implications of their theological thought circus, but those really are the only two logical conclusions of the argument for salvation. That’s the problem with Christians, they never take their logical arguments to their conclusions! they always stop where they think they’ve confused you just enough, or where they’ve been confused, but if you give it that little bit of extra thought it all falls apart.

    crookedshoes: BTW, you could be wrong.

    shortpolock: But I’m not :-) :-) :-)

    Says it all really.

    • Aww, c’mon. The comment was inappropriate and that was a slight jab at the megalomaniac insult. Have a sense of humour!

      In reply to #38 by Seraphor:

      crookedshoes: BTW, you could be wrong.

      shortpolock: But I’m not :-) :-) :-)

      Says it all really.

  18. shortpolock:

    I don’t see how this fits in either of those categories

    You’re right, the scripture does not support either of the two scenarios in it’s entirety, and that is where this problem arises, Christians cannot make their mind up. These are however the only two logical conclusions, any middle ground is a paradox. Christians have been tying themselves in knots for centuries over this, and have convoluted it to the stage where it’s adherants have invented this abstract notion of ‘faith is a gift’.

    Could you please explain how a deity is able to bestow on you a concious choice or a feeling, that is not your doing?

    If you say faith is this ‘gift’ from god, how is it that we must have faith in god to begin with? Why can he not just give this gift to everyone and end this issue altoegther? He could just save everyone in an instant.

    You’ve invented another paradox, one that makes some kind of abstract poetic sense to you because it resides in the intangible world of divine love and makes you feel at ease, but is actually a complete malfunction of logical thought.

  19. I’m a little surprised that no-one (or almost no-one) wants to pick up on the topic itself. Learned helplessness is the phenomenon whereby a battered wife (or partner) stays with the abuser despite what most detached people would consider perfect grounds to leave. It is the psychological state that leads to major abuse, or at the very least to very unhappy partnerships. It figures in these long-term kidnap cases. It is a well known phenomenon.

    As far as religion goes, it might (at least in part) help explain why some believers stick to their beliefs even when confronted by the truth, though I’m sure that there is much more at play in those circumstances.

    • In reply to #42 by Pabmusic:

      I’m a little surprised that no-one (or almost no-one) wants to pick up on the topic itself. Learned helplessness is the phenomenon whereby a battered wife (or partner) stays with the abuser despite what most detached people would consider perfect grounds to leave. It is the psychological state that leads to major abuse, or at the very least to very unhappy partnerships. It figures in these long-term kidnap cases. It is a well known phenomenon.

      That would be Stockholm syndrome

      There is however another aspect to this, where feckless individuals mess up jobs or refuse to learn, so that they can impose on well-meaning partners or associates who are capable of doing the work they shirk. – “Excused duty due to applied uselessness”, – with the dodger – “I can’t do this so someone will have to do it for me!” approach – with no intention of learning, in case it becomes part of their responsibilities!

      They are looking to maintain a child-like dependency where they abdicate all the responsibilities they can while others are left take on all their responsibilities for them.

      I am thinking of the sort of people who leave a shared work area in a mess, so the next user has to clear up after them before they can start their own work, or the sort of corporation which makes off with the money leaving an abandoned polluted area of dereliction behind them.

      It fits closely with the “God will provide for me me me!”, mentality!

      • In reply to #45 by Alan4discussion:

        That would be Stockholm syndrome

        No, The Stockholm Syndrome is the identification of victim with perpetrator. Learned helplessness is an explanation for the acceptance by the victim of their lot.

        The classic experiment involves dogs housed in cages where the sleeping area has a wooden floor and the feeding area has a metal floor through which is passed a low-voltage, but unpleasant, electric current. At first the subjects don’t feed because of the discomfort, but eventually they have to brave it. They end up adjusting to the discomfort, and even lying down on the metal floor because they’ve become used to it. This is a classic experiment from the 1960s that led to a better understanding of the dynamics of abusive situations.

  20. Interesting video on the Russian.
    Title – “Amazing proof of God’s existence”

    translation:
    _old man: – …. and his kingdom will have no end… what happened?
    _boy: -nothing. God created light on the first day. The sun, moon and stars on the fourth.
    Where does the light shone on the first day?
    _old man: – that’s where

    =DDDDD strong argument

    • In reply to #48 by Genesis John Martinez:

      For example, an atheist does not go to church all-time, although believers consider the church as an opportunity. Am I right?

      What are you trying to say? Why do you think that atheists would go to church at all? Ever?

  21. I believe that Mr. Martinez means that in principle, an atheist would not go to church at all. That is correct, since he would view worship service as a waste of time and an absurdity. An atheist might have social reasons to go to church, but so might anyone else.

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