How does Forced Faith become Real/Valid Faith?

Look around the world and notice the pressure put on people to just put faith into whatever the local belief system happens to be. This is especially true (currently) in Middle-East Muslim culture, so I'm most interested in hearing back from them, in particular.

It's not just Muslims who put peer pressure on their own society to practice faith, as almost all religions are a product of local peer pressure. So my question still applies (to various degrees) to every religion.

I know from personal experience, it takes courage to stand up to the popular pressures and think for one's self. Atheism was never, ever pressured upon me. I took my stand against pressure from Christians all around me to conform.

So, how much does the fear of punishment from society unfairly make people believe something is true?

Views: 218

Comment by Rocky john on November 10, 2013 at 4:25pm

If they tell themselves they believe it for long enough they will eventually begin to believe it.

Let me give you a personal example.

Once when i was still in school i decided to fake being sick so i could stay at home that day. Since my mother was at home i had keep up pretending to be ill all day as a miraculous recovery once school started would have not gone over to well with her. The funny thing is that after pretending to be sick for a few hours i really started to feel sick. By that afternoon i was feeling pretty miserable and unwell only to snap out of it when i reminded myself i was only pretending.

Comment by Kairan Nierde on November 11, 2013 at 12:31am

I used to think, they can't all be wrong. I just need to be a stronger believer...then it will make sense.

Comment by Random Cairene on November 11, 2013 at 5:48am

peer pressure applied by the society is very strong .. i know people who pretend to be religious under the peer pressure .. people who act like the believers and participate in almost all the rituals for fear of losing their friends or families .. they show themselves to the society in the way that is expected from them for fear of losing their jobs or worse their lives.

this might makes one believe that religion is strong and powerful .. makes it hard to leave it or come out loud about his own thoughts and ideas .. this ends up with him being alienated and depressed.

thanks to the current social networks ,one have avoided that fate .. i know people who have more than one FB profile .. one for the friends and family and another one for expressing their real thoughts concerning faith and religion.

fear of punishment makes people hide their believes .. makes them fake faith but can never make people believe in religion.

Comment by Sagacious Hawk on November 11, 2013 at 1:58pm

I just saw this National Geographic video on North Korea. The short of it is that a film crew was secretly taping things that were happening while there to officially record a doctor who was there to do over a thousand cataract surgeries in 10 days. The last 5 minutes is where the people take the bandages off their eyes and they can see, some of them for the first time in decades. They all begin to praise the "Glorious Leader" for giving them back their sight. At the very end, the woman who was leading the group for filming the show, comments that she can't tell who has genuine faith and who is acting from fear and that in the end, there may be no difference between true faith and true fear.

I think it's the same case for religious faith. When a person feels doubt creep in, there is also fear. Fear of others finding out, fear of Hell or being influenced by Satan or the equivalent, fear of how things will change, fear of one's mortality... I think that in many ways, fear and faith intertwine and there is no way to extricate one from the other.

Comment by kOrsan on November 11, 2013 at 2:35pm

All of it is fear-based. Even if people aren't threatening you directly there's still the threat of hellfire found in the religions themselves. Fear is inherent in religion, and essential to it's survival. Your question is similar to asking how much does Nazism depend on racism? The answer is, it's founded on it.

Comment by Warren on November 11, 2013 at 3:41pm

Seems to me (IMO) that Muslims are still the worst when it comes down to peer pressure, at least other religions as far as I know don't offer to kill you for leaving it.

Comment by Dr. Bob on November 15, 2013 at 12:06pm

Groups of all sorts exert pressure on their members, I don't think it's unique to religion by any means.  Nations encourage patriotism, societies put pressure on people to observe social norms with respect to language, clothing, behavior.  Middle school cliques exert all sorts of social pressure on their members.

If as a man I feel a compunction to take off my hat when entering someone's home, I don't think it's out of fear.  It's just a social norm that I picked up from living in a particular society.   Same if I stand and place my hand over my heart for the National Anthem at a ballgame and try to carry a tune through "the rockets red glare" (or for that matter, stand and sing for the 7th inning stretch).

It's not out of fear, it's out of a choice to be part of the fun, or part of the group.  My friends and colleagues would also want, quite naturally, for me to join in the fun and be part of the group.  You should see the college students around here who paint themselves up in the school colors and go off to be part of the group this Saturday!

Comment by Pope Beanie on November 15, 2013 at 5:06pm

You should see the college students around here who paint themselves up in the school colors and go off to be part of the group this Saturday!

Yes, lucky for us our peer pressure and groupism (and group competitions) produce healthy games and entertainment rather than shows of enforced dogma and persecution!

Comment by Dr. Bob on November 16, 2013 at 8:14pm

@Pope, you don't think those "healthy games and entertainment" on occasion turn ugly?  Basketball riots, football/soccer stampedes, assaults on opposing fans? 

Perhaps the question we should ask ourselves is what conditions cause generally healthy expressions of group solidarity or common togetherness to turn ugly, and how do we avoid those?  Whether it's for religion, or sports, or nationalism?


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2020   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service