From Psychology Today:

Disbelief is not a choice

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I just read that article earlier this morning. I totally agree it's a combo of environment and biology.  For a long time, even when I was little, I thought there was something wrong with me or missing from me because I didn't have faith. I finally got over that, thank the flying spaghetti monster, and now I feel there's something wrong with them. lol
      'On ne devient pas athée par souhait.'

"but one cannot change those beliefs on command."  I agree on this statement from the article. 

I see the nature vs. nurture discussed in the article -- That topic is still highly debated in Psychology classes. 

From my psychology class (a while back): How much can be attributed to nature and how much can be attributed to nurture.

I think choice overrides both nature and nurture
I think it's like trying to go back to crawling after you've already learned how to walk on 2 legs.  It's not that you can't go back, but why would you want to??

Thank you for sharing the article, Dave...this sort of information is encouraging.  The idea that religious conservatives are trying to keep back the ever-growing flood of scientific information/evidence is pretty apparent. They seem to be promoting the unfounded notion that terrible and adverse consequences will occur if we don't maintain a creator belief in this society and across the globe:

"By creating a social and political environment where religion is presumed to be central to morality and patriotism, and where open personal secularity is seen as unacceptable, religious conservatives lower the likelihood that more will gravitate toward a secular lifestance. This is why they support laws, none of which were approved by the Founders, encouraging Americans to believe that they must trust in God (per the national motto), that the nation is under God (per the Pledge of Allegiance), and that we must have an annual National Day of Prayer. They want us to believe that America is a "Christian nation," because such a social and political environment strongly discourages personal secularity."

 

I will continue to see science as a philosophy of discovery, secularism as a philosophy of freethought, and religion as a philosophy that promotes willful blindness and keeping people in the dark.  It's not that long ago in human history that mathematics was believed to be the work of the devil. 

 

 

 

 

you absolutely can make yourself believe, people do it all the time. it's not difficult.

If you have to force yourself the belief may not last.  Kind of like Pascal's wager, "you are better off believing in god just in case he exists," is not exactly belief.  

btw: Good article, thanks Dave.

People don't want truth, people want conviction.
yes, there are people who do that. but the majority of people decide what they believe is true based entirely on what they WISH were true. it really doesn't matter if they know it's untrue, they will believe it is true just because they wish it was. hence phrases like "well, i like to think that ____". it really is possible for a person to simply choose to change what they really believe, just because it makes them feel better. it actually takes a lot of work to train yourself to value truth enough to NOT do that. once you realise "the truth doesn't change just because i want it to be different", only then does it become impossible to simply choose to believe something.

Ponder the unsaid in

personal secularity is primarily the result of brain function combined with access to knowledge, information, and a social setting allowing disbelief. Given the right conditions, the result will be an individual who does not accept supernatural explanations.

Given the so-called information age, we might imagine that knowledge and information are increasing, and that people accept supernatural explanations less now than, say, twenty years ago. After all, internet access lets you look up all sorts of trivia with ease. But this ignores phenomenon such as entertainment interests taking over mainstream news or religion teaming up with special interests to control government.

Consider the Anti-Science Creationist Movement

They seek nothing less than to turn back the clock of progress by several centuries, abolish the rational, reality-based view of the world, and return to the superstitious mindset in which blind faith is the answer to every problem. And, again, these are the people who've completely captured one of America's two major parties. [all emphasis mine]

US mass media push superstition to the extent that we're inundated. I watch idiotic claptrap like Warehouse 13 and Fringe for lack of rational entertainment. Much of this "supernatural" entertainment supports religious belief. To say that we live in a "social setting allowing disbelief" is far too simple and superficial.

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