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Old 03-11-2014, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Summit, NJ
1,462 posts, read 1,368,416 times
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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?
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:22 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
3,518 posts, read 2,445,913 times
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I guess being skeptical of EVERYTHING could get a little old where you would feel like you are missing out on some things but I don't really believe that is the case. Isn't it better to think for yourself and be skeptical rather than just blindly hop on board with something without ever questioning it? We see the effects of that with the many different religions out there where people are following without doing any critical thinking and I think that is a real shame.

I'll take being like I am now rather than how I was as a fundamental Christian.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,190 posts, read 9,075,797 times
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I think that one must combine healthy skepticism with a mind that is unbiased and open to all possibilities.

One must also not confuse skepticism with negativity or incuriousness or fault-seeking.

Sometimes people are risk averse, change averse / anxious around transitions, or have various forms of rigid thinking -- or perhaps wrong beliefs such as that once a matter is settled it should never have to be reconsidered, etc.

Basically the secret is never to be so married to any one concept or idea that it removes your ability to objectively see and take in new information that might cause you to modify or alter that concept. You can weigh buddhism or mediation techniques while remaining objective about it. You can separate wheat from chaff, and decide if it is right for you or not -- and if you decide to reject it that doesn't mean you can't see value in it ever, for anyone.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Here
1,694 posts, read 1,493,429 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'm actually not skeptical of much. Maybe I'm just trusting. I don't think most politicians are evil, for example. I think that most of them are doing what they think is best for their constituency. When a friend wants to borrow $20 with the promise that he will repay it in a week, I tend to believe him. On the other hand, when I encounter some abstract notion that has importance to me, I generally think it through in a logical, objective manner. Consequently I give a thumbs down to virtually all internet conspiracy theories, as well as all of the major religions. This is not to say that I could not go into a church and be a part of the congregation, but as far as being a believer of the faith, the answer would be no.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:13 AM
 
39,021 posts, read 10,812,637 times
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On balance..no. I suppose I can see how one might regret the sheer exhilaration of letting go and accepting claims uncritically, but I have seen where this leads to. Craziness. Really. I call it 'severing the mooring ropes of reason and letting the mind sail off into the blue'. I saw it happen in the UFO world and it led to -craziness.

It was later on that I saw the same thing with theistic reasoning and New age stuff and ancient sea-kings and alien technology -fanciers.

Thus it is impossible for me, being rational, to live with such a mindset which only works by the self - fooling of selecting what particular religion or cult-beliefs one likes and believing it, while ignoring the rest or dismissing them as nonsense.

I truly cannot see how people can live like that..but in fact, that is how people tend to think- picking up or being spoonfed particular preferred beliefs and then presenting a closed mind to any other belief or viewpoint.

That is why skepticism is the best because it allows one the fun of looking at these claims quasi - seriously (which is why I can get deep into the mechanics of the Ark and flood) while still keeping it in the mental Pending tray.

The believers, of course, denounce any failure to swallow their inadequately supported claims as closed mindedness, Orthodox skepticism, even a religion of disbelief.

It isn't. It is a method of avoiding joining the hordes of illogical bods in the street banging their heads together over their various beliefs, because they HAVE to have the belief and cannot face stepping back and ..well, trying a little skepticism.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:13 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,219 posts, read 19,521,254 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by averysgore View Post
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).
Yes, I believe that skepticism is the right attitude for everything. It is a universal approach which guides you to think clearly and separate fact from fiction.

Without being skeptical, you will quickly begin to accept nonsense and BS - of which there is plenty in all walks of life. Do you really care about missing out on that?
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:29 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
15,504 posts, read 17,720,777 times
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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.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Vermont
10,305 posts, read 11,212,063 times
Reputation: 14176
Quote:
Originally Posted by averysgore View Post
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 don't understand the question.

Why would anyone think that it's better to believe certain factual propositions without evidence and logic to support them?

I don't doubt that some people might think that this "takes all the fun out of it" or something like that, but even if I could help hearing some story and immediately start questioning whether it made sense or was likely to be true I wouldn't want to.
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Old 03-12-2014, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Summit, NJ
1,462 posts, read 1,368,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmccullough View Post
I don't understand the question.

Why would anyone think that it's better to believe certain factual propositions without evidence and logic to support them?

I don't doubt that some people might think that this "takes all the fun out of it" or something like that, but even if I could help hearing some story and immediately start questioning whether it made sense or was likely to be true I wouldn't want to.
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."

Many great minds have been inspired by, say, the writings of Nietzsche. Since the "constructs" he defines are abstract and can't be proven scientifically, I will immediately be skeptical of them. I'm questioning whether that's the right attitude to have.

About the skepticism/cynicism thing - no, I don't consider myself a cynical/negative person. And I don't attach a poseurish attitude to my skepticism, as some people I know do. I don't reject things because it's "cool" or anything, it's just in my nature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Sometimes people are risk averse, change averse / anxious around transitions, or have various forms of rigid thinking -- or perhaps wrong beliefs such as that once a matter is settled it should never have to be reconsidered, etc.

Basically the secret is never to be so married to any one concept or idea that it removes your ability to objectively see and take in new information that might cause you to modify or alter that concept. You can weigh buddhism or mediation techniques while remaining objective about it. You can separate wheat from chaff, and decide if it is right for you or not -- and if you decide to reject it that doesn't mean you can't see value in it ever, for anyone.
This is probably the best answer. I think this is something more intuition-oriented people do naturally, and more logically-oriented people (myself, the popular atheist figureheads) don't bother with. If it's not completely true, why bother? Just have to be careful not to get too much of the chaff.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
40,823 posts, read 18,553,245 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by averysgore View Post
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.

Thoughts?
If I decided that I needed the same, I would not know how to go about just suddenly believing in something. Either something strikes me as true, strikes me as questionable, or it is manifestly false. I cannot turn off my judgment system or adjust it so as to raise credibility or lower skepticism.

I have never experienced the need of which you speak, but even if I did, the remedy you describe would be beyond my capacities.
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