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Old 03-12-2014, 05:17 PM
 
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Anyone else a little tired of being skeptical?
I relish my skepticism. Would not want to give it for just about anything. It inoculates me from all the wild claims (and sales pitches) humans constantly toss my way. It's a much stronger shield than faith.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Originally Posted by averysgore View Post
Many great minds have been inspired by Buddhism. I pretty quickly reject it, but I feel like I'm missing the inspiration as well. That's the way it "takes the fun out of it."
In retrospect I don't think there was that much "fun in" Christianity for me when I believed it either -- I think it is not in the nature of a rationally biased person to be very impressed with something based on "nothing more than feelings". As for meditation, I tend to find a formal meditation practice a waste of time, but the general concept of mindfulness is more useful in ways I can relate to.

For example, there's the principle that the human mind is "flypaper for bad experiences" and good experiences just pass through it like they never happened. This is an evolutionary adaptation ... we are wired to remember bad stuff and avoid it far more than to remember good stuff in life -- or put another way, we learn far faster and more readily from negative experiences than from positive ones. This was great for "red in tooth and claw" survival but pessimists like me can get pretty bogged down because of it. Recently I read a book by a psychologist who recommends leveraging brain plasticity by doing a simple mindfulness practice of staying present with every positive experience you possibly can, as they occur in real time, for at least 15-20 seconds. Just really notice it and "install" it in your memory banks, without trying to work up any particular feeling about it or anything like that. Over time it increases subjective contentment / happiness, centeredness, and confidence and reduces anxiety. It's entirely science-based and woo-free. You may wish to check it out:

Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:59 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,867 posts, read 3,793,329 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by averysgore View Post
Some background: I was a pretty religious Catholic until age 23. Now I'm 32 and strongly nonreligious, and I'm not budging there.

I was curious about Buddhism and other Eastern Philosophy (I know the philosophy/religion line is pretty blurred there), not because I want another religion, but because enough people I respect have found meaning in it that, yeah, there must be something there worth exploring. If not a credible religion, at least a new way of thinking, or something.

But when I looked up the basics of it, my first instinct was to find the flaws and be skeptical. Then I realized I would do that with most Western Philosophy too (which I currently know very little of). And that skepticism tends to be my default approach to anything - "schools of thought," personality theories, psychological disorders, etc. Obviously it's the right attitude for astrology and Catholicism, but is it the right attitude for everything?

Anyone else a little tired of being skeptical? I feel like I'm missing out. I think what I need is to slightly believe something without dogmatically believing it. Or just to read things and absorb them without constantly deciding whether they're flawed (most of them probably are).

Thoughts?
I sort of know what you mean, except I have never had any faith in any kind of god. But I definitely had that 'feel like I'm missing out' thing for the longest time. You look at other people who seem to get something out of it and wonder what you must be missing.
In fact posting on this forum really helped with that (thanks guys - I'm sure you know who you are).

I discovered that actually I don't think you are missing anything.
People of faith, as far as I can tell, either have constant nagging doubts, or they are living in denial, or they have been brainwashed , or they have to come up with wild explanations to defend their faith. There are few people who have an unwavering, well thought-out faith.
Either way I realised there was a good reason I never had any belief in any god, because none of those options are very appealing. Atheism is straightforward. You don't have any of that.
So, in answer to your question, no I'm not tired at all of being skeptical. It's the best way to be!

But it sounds like you have a little way to go yet. I think you are still looking for something to believe in. Maybe you will get there, maybe you won't but I wish you the best in your exploration.
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:12 AM
 
40,103 posts, read 26,772,494 times
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Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
People of faith, as far as I can tell, either have constant nagging doubts, or they are living in denial, or they have been brainwashed , or they have to come up with wild explanations to defend their faith. There are few people who have an unwavering, well thought-out faith.
I find this uncharacteristically condescending of you, Cruithne . . . besides being over-generalized.
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:31 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
I find this uncharacteristically condescending of you, Cruithne . . . besides being over-generalized.
Not trying to be condescending at all Mystic. Just being honest and they are just my honest observations.
I won't go into naming names, but you see it all the time on the R&S forum. Even the most devout with nagging doubts - which is at least being honest with yourself and not necessarily a bad thing in my view. It means you are starting to see things clearly.
The extreme opposite is an unwavering dedication, but then you see those people say the strangest things about how they must never, ever waiver.
And I did say there are a few people who have a well thought-out unwaivering faith and I would include you in that category. You can take that as a compliment!
Of the other descriptions I don't honestly see anything wrong with those. They are what I genuinely see. Maybe there are other options I hadn't thought of ?
In any case, my point was that there is no 'faith' option that I could see as appealing. I don't have a problem if others want to believe it.

Last edited by Cruithne; 03-13-2014 at 12:41 AM..
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:04 AM
 
39,205 posts, read 10,887,543 times
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Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
Skeptical is too often confused with cynical. Cynicism, while often a useful position, if followed to a fault, can be as capricious and limiting as faith.
Yes. If instead of swallowing the line, hook and sinker with bubbling enthusiasm one questions it, the bod who tossed out the line tries to shame you into swallowing it with the Cynicism accusation. Of course you are right and the extreme is to refuse to see any side but the one that makes everything look like a dog's dinner.

At the extreme as you say, it can part company with rationality, which is why Cynicism is not identifiable with rational skepticism but reminds me more of a curious phenomenon I noticed in my working days- show anything to a boss and he will immediately slip into 'My job is to find a fault with this' mode. It can become a sort of cult-think that is deeply suspicious of any official stance and lends itself to conspiracy theories very readily. It is only to happy to dismiss all evidence as a cover-up and fakes.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:37 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,359,734 times
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Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
It can become a sort of cult-think that is deeply suspicious of any official stance and lends itself to conspiracy theories very readily. It is only to happy to dismiss all evidence as a cover-up and fakes.
You are oh so right about that - especially the conspiracy theories, something that has been plaguing the right side of the aisle in American politics of late.

Just like many of the right-wing Christians claim that the governor of Arizona was bullied and threatened into vetoing that godawful discrimination bill.

As for skepticism and the OP - that is your truth filter. Skepticism allows you to sift through information and be left with nothing but the truth, or at the very least, truth based on what you currently know at the time.

Without skepticism, you become gullible so yes, having your Skeptic Switch welded into the 'on' position is a good thing.
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:08 PM
 
40,103 posts, read 26,772,494 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
People of faith, as far as I can tell, either have constant nagging doubts, or they are living in denial, or they have been brainwashed , or they have to come up with wild explanations to defend their faith. There are few people who have an unwavering, well thought-out faith.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
I find this uncharacteristically condescending of you, Cruithne . . . besides being over-generalized.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
Not trying to be condescending at all Mystic. Just being honest and they are just my honest observations.
I won't go into naming names, but you see it all the time on the R&S forum. Even the most devout with nagging doubts - which is at least being honest with yourself and not necessarily a bad thing in my view. It means you are starting to see things clearly.
The extreme opposite is an unwavering dedication, but then you see those people say the strangest things about how they must never, ever waiver.
And I did say there are a few people who have a well thought-out unwaivering faith and I would include you in that category. You can take that as a compliment!
I will do so . . . but I believe there are more than just a few . . . some may not have well-thought out scientific reasons . . . but most DO have unwavering faith based on personal experiences and inner convictions.
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:58 PM
 
Location: USA
3,438 posts, read 1,261,456 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by averysgore View Post
Some background: I was a pretty religious Catholic until age 23. Now I'm 32 and strongly nonreligious, and I'm not budging there.

I was curious about Buddhism and other Eastern Philosophy (I know the philosophy/religion line is pretty blurred there), not because I want another religion, but because enough people I respect have found meaning in it that, yeah, there must be something there worth exploring. If not a credible religion, at least a new way of thinking, or something.

But when I looked up the basics of it, my first instinct was to find the flaws and be skeptical. Then I realized I would do that with most Western Philosophy too (which I currently know very little of). And that skepticism tends to be my default approach to anything - "schools of thought," personality theories, psychological disorders, etc. Obviously it's the right attitude for astrology and Catholicism, but is it the right attitude for everything?

Anyone else a little tired of being skeptical? I feel like I'm missing out. I think what I need is to slightly believe something without dogmatically believing it. Or just to read things and absorb them without constantly deciding whether they're flawed (most of them probably are).

Thoughts?
A healthy dose of skepticism IS the reasonable starting place, after all. Human beings are fallible, and as such subject to being wrong about absolutely anything and everything. Even our most carefully considered conclusions COULD be wrong, and it is important to continuously be aware of that simple fact. It's a requirement for maintaining an open mind. The rest is simply ordering what is observed to be true moving from most evidence to least evidence; which is to say, most likely according to all observation to least likely according to all observation. And personal emotional need should be the very LEAST of the deciding factors when it comes drawing conclusions based on observable fact. The sooner one realizes that the universe is under no obligation to service our personal emotional needs, the easier time one will have of things. Most of us are born with the inate suspicion that we are special, and that special things are intended for us. It can often take an entire lifetime to realize that our gift of life WAS what was special about us. And in the process too many people miss out on just what a glorious and special gift sentient consciousness really is!
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:50 AM
 
4,456 posts, read 3,709,227 times
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Quote:
Anyone else a little tired of being skeptical? I feel like I'm missing out. I think what I need is to slightly believe something without dogmatically believing it. Or just to read things and absorb them without constantly deciding whether they're flawed (most of them probably are).
Question is how far can one go with skepticism since there is a danger if one goes too far how can you tell what is a bit of truth? If say a scientist believes something is 'slightly' true hey we'd all be in alot trouble.


Quote:
And in the process too many people miss out on just what a glorious and special gift sentient consciousness really is!
True. And at the same time I think people sometimes dismiss and disparage the notion that that 'sentient consciousness' is valid in understanding and ordering the world around us in such a way that we recognize that yes we are all special and unique and use that thinking to express the nature of each and every one of our identities as we relate to the world. And a way we express that nature is through our 'beliefs'.
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