T Nation

What If Your Beliefs Were Wrong?


#1

Okay, this might sound like your standard question, but I hope it's a bit different then what you'd see 10-15 times on an MB.

Let's suppose that you were presented with evidence (whatever it would take) that your beliefs were wrong. So you are presented that the Christian God doesn't exist, the Hindu Gods don't exist, etc (atheism will be address further down). You can't argue with this evidence, you can't even believe that it is a trick by Satan (for whatever reason). So this is your new reality - your prior beliefs are wrong.

Couple that with absolutely positive evidence that another belief is correct. Whatever evidence you need, you have. If you are an atheist/agnostic/etc you now have the evidence that Gods exist.

The hitch is, it's not just any Gods.

You have absolute proof that the Gods of the ancient Egyptians exist. So, everything you've known is now thrown away and a bizarre pantheon has replaced it. The world is magical to the prior atheist.

That's the premise:

  1. Would this depress you?
  2. How would you deal with this?
  3. Would you seek to learn everything about ancient egypt and become a high priest?
  4. How would you deal with your prior religious beliefs? I'm wondering if, say, a Christian would feel bad for throwing out his bible, for instance.

#2

You can always reject evidence if it does not fit into your ontology and epistemology. Why? Because it cannot exists as evidence unless you fundamentally believe that it does.

Easy Example: people reject the possibility of ghosts when presented evidence of them because they firmly believe it is not evidence but gobbly-gook.

Same with creationism. Dependent on ontology and epistemology some things are evidence for or against, the rest is gobbly-gook.

This is why religious beliefs are based on faith, defined as "firm belief in something for which there is no proof" in http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith

Ontology defines the fundamental categories of reality. Epistemology defines how we can know and reason that reality.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_differentiate_between_epistemology_and_ontology


#3

Belief is the problem. It's the worst of all heuristic traps.

If you can learn not to believe, then changing your opinion on a matter based on new evidence only faces the hurdles of emotions like pride and shame. If you live in the paradigm of belief, then the hurdle you must overcome is an attachment to your very identity. It's much more difficult.

Personally, I would like to say that I am open to positive proof, that I would accept the change. However, what is more likely is that I would argue my position with passion until such time as I was able to see past my pride. I am confident that truth would eventually win out in my mind, as such sea changes have happened before for me.


#4

So the ancient Egyptian religions were true? Hmm, I guess I would go about it like this:

I studied a little hieroglyphics in college because I was at the time going to pursue a master's in Egyptology before my senses came to me. Therefore, I guess I would be a little ahead of the game in terms of reading ancient Egyptian. I extensively studied ancient Near Eastern religions for a few years including the Egyptians so I guess I would have to become some sort of priest or something. But what about these questions:

  1. What if someone desecrated your cartouche and body after death so that the Ka could not recognize your body and wandered forever? Do you think it would watch the Super Bowl without you?
  2. What if while Anubis was weighing your heart you sneezed and knocked his scales over? Do you get a free pass to Aaru? Could you bribe Ammit with a milkbone?
  3. What if your shabti were lazy and they desserted you in the afterlife? Would you fire them?
  4. When I was a kid I wrapped up a pair of my brother's underwear in a giant box to put under the Christmas tree. Did this distrub Maat?

#5

Yes, I would learn everything I could about Egyptian beliefs and adjust my life and behavior accordingly.

No doubt, it would be an enormously emotional and spiritual paradigm shift, as was my journey out of Christianity. It would take courage, commitment, and integrity. But I would do it to the best of my ability.


#6

inb4 character bashing happens to you


#7

Damn it!

Well, he would like the Egyptians anyways... weren't they a bunch of homos?


#8

LOL...thanks for the laugh. Seriously, I slapped my keyboard so hard that I think I broke it. But I can always buy another keyboard, but a laugh like that one is hard to come by.


#9

Just in time, it seems :wink:


#10

Don't rush to buy a new keyboard, we will struggle on without your lucid and penetrating insights.


#11

Wait. Does this mean I'll have to eat bread with sand in it?

V


#12

I would adjust accordingly. But the proof would have to be beyond reproach, deductively irrefutable, and substantially supported empirically. I quest for truth, not just being right because I said it based on my ego. I want to be right, because I am actually right, not because I can shout someone down better. So if presented with a substantial case I would adjust.
Hell, I have many times. I think way differently than I did in my youth, because I was wrong about some things.


#13

Are you implying ghosts are real?


#14

I hope you know I'm kidding


#15

Of course, I was referring to Zeb :slight_smile:

And yes, Ramses is pretty hot.


#16

If I were a stripper that'd be my stage name. Ramses Steel.....


#17

As I've been doing for several years with your posts. :slight_smile:


#18

What if you found out that your belief in the ancient Egyptian religion was a lie and that you should have believed in Thor all along? Would you take up a giant hammer, gloves of metal, and smack Loki upside his head?


#19

I studied a bit of Egyptian religion in a comparative religion course. It fascinates me and I always wanted to learn more.

One, rather stupid, question - what do you call the ancient egyptian religion? The instructor never told us and now that I think about it, I'm curious.

One thing to note - Egyptian beliefs on the afterlife changed often during their multi-millenia period. I believe, at one point, there were three 'souls'. The Ka, the Ba, and another one that I can't remember.

I think it would persist without 'me'.

I thought Osiris did the weighing.

Personally, since I'm being weighed against Ma'at, I'd send flowers and candies before hand. I'd also invest in the book of the dead.

As to Ammit - there were (at least) two schools of thought:
1. He would devour you whole. You are screwed.
2. He would devour the bad half of you.

Depending on which is true (or a third?) would depend on what I would try to bribe him with.

I'm not sure what the shabti are.

I'm not getting the reference...It's been a while.

I'd guess 'yes'.


#20

I should have expected such responses (too much philosophy!) - but that's good. I'm the same way. I'm referring to your, Tex, and Swole's opinions with regard to the epistemological certainty.

I do agree that the proof would probably be beyond reproach.

What do you mean by 'adjust' accordingly?

The intent of my question is to replace your 'foundational' beliefs with something you find completely absurd.

Would you trust anything? (I guess this would depend on how you found out that egyptian religion was true).