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Old 06-11-2013, 09:03 AM
 
40,098 posts, read 26,761,498 times
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Originally Posted by mordant View Post
I believed the tenets of my faith, but I did so by being both willfully ignorant and dishonest with myself and my own though processes and doubts. Call it what you will, but the net result is the same as lying. I now regard myself as essentially having participated in a mutual pact with fellow theists to mutually reinforce lies told to ourselves and to each other and ultimately to the greater world.

I suppose I could argue that I didn't know what I believed and propagated was false, thus I lacked the intent to deceive. But that's a little like a person enjoying a particularly good cocaine hit driving at 150 miles per hour down a freeway and saying he didn't mean to hurt or endanger anyone. It's kind of lame. So I own it for what it was: willful ignorance and the embrace of ideas I knew, not all that deep down, were unsupportable. The only difference when I left the faith was that I was finally willing to admit that belief in god was a sham. My admission suggests that I knew it at some level all along.

It is entirely possible that some people experience faith differently, that they really don't suppress doubts or ignore logical inconsistencies / impossibilities -- that they are so unobservant and/or incurious and/or dense that they really never are troubled by such things. But I suspect it's unusual because most believers admit that they struggle with doubt, and also with temptation (strongly suggesting that they are no "new creation") and uncertainty and anxiety (strongly suggesting that there is no indwelling holy spirit) and bitter disappointments (suggesting the Hand of God is not really guiding things or at least that the teachings of the church are not setting reasonable expectations), etc. The facade starts to crack even more when people experience relationship problems, divorce, children who depart from "the way in which they should go" that they were brought up in, and on and on.

It's really just a question of when the straw that breaks the camel's back comes and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. And when it does, what are you left with? The fact that you have believed a lie, at the very least -- but in my view, that to some greater or lesser degree you have participated in that lie as well.
Thanks for this clarification, mordant. Unfortunately, what you describe is not lying . . . it is simply being wrong. If being wrong is lying then we are definitely ALL liars many times in our lives.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:16 PM
 
39,189 posts, read 10,872,385 times
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Thanks for this clarification, mordant. Unfortunately, what you describe is not lying . . . it is simply being wrong. If being wrong is lying then we are definitely ALL liars many times in our lives.
I have discussed this matter elsewhere and there are various shades of untruth. One is almost praiseworthy - economizing on the truth to avoid causing pain. There is also genuine mistake. On the cusp is the cherry -picking of facts to support an argument one wants so much to be true and the technical but serious 'Lincoln' lie' of saying something is so when you don't know that it's so.'

Then we are in the area of wilful refusal to take on board demonstrated factuality and the repeating of disproven claims elsewhere to a new audience in the hope of deceiving. Even if one is convinced that the Big Picture is true and therefor a few incidental lies are justified in the overall scheme of things, it is a lie.

The individual may take that as a template against which to measure any particular examples they may have in mind.
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