Dear Theists, Please Think.

If I were to ask most men, especially it seems, theist men, if they’re happy with being circumcised the answer more often than not is “yes”. But then, when I ask if they know what the functions of the foreskin are, the answer is silence or a change of subject about infections (the risk of which for men is reduced by .9% *from 1% risk to.1%* by amputating the most erogenous potion of their penis, and the infections themselves can be cured with a few days of antibiotics if it does occur.)

So with no knowledge of the alternative, an appreciation has been created for having their genitals cut. Why do people tend to default to the position they’re expected to embrace without exploring the alternative? The answer is cognitive dissonance.

Now consider the bible. Why is it true (to you, if you believe it)? Because it says so? Why is the theory of gravity true? Not because anyone says so, but because you can test it, you can make predictions about it, and you can refine the theory if you find it to not be true (and can prove it).

Do these ideas hold true for the bible? I argue they don’t. Take the story of Noah for example. If every “kind” of animal was placed on a boat for a year, then landed on Mount Ararat (I didn’t verify that was the correct place, but I think it’s right) then there should be predictions that can be made and tested based on this information. Kangaroos for example are believed to have evolved after the land mass of Australia separated from the rest of the world. Had they been taken to a central location not in Australia, we’d expect their migration to Australia to result in fossils being found somewhere between Mount Ararat and Australia, but we don’t. Not even one. They’ve been geographically isolated for millions of years before god created the world (from a young earth perspective).
If the bible is true, like scientific theories, we should be able to make predictions, test them, and have repeatable, verifiable results.

But when testing doesn’t verify what’s in the bible, like with the kangaroos, a mental block is used to dismiss the idea, rather than to continue to explore it. Cognitive dissonance says that information that challenges our currently held beliefs will either be dismissed, or excused, or it causes a change in our beliefs. But changing ideas within a theist mindset results in a fear of social isolation that makes changing ideas very difficult. (And more often than not, that fear of social isolation is realized in some level or another.)

Why is it so easy for other deities we don’t accept to be dismissed? Why isn’t Lono the Polynesian god given any credence? Why is Vishnu so easily dismissed? Why aren’t any of the Greek gods used to explain nature anymore? Because these gods don’t affect our currently held world beliefs so we can easily think about them without challenging our cognitive dissonance. Also there is no fear of social rejection if they aren’t believed, and in fact, the social pressure is to not believe they’re true. This makes other god ideas easier to think about. Something that’s not always easy to do critically for those things we already believe as true, whether they are or not.

Go forth and think.