Religion As Cognitive Poison Ivy

I am amazed about the verve and persistence shown by some ex-christians in turning against their previous mental prison in very sophisticated attempts to debunk delusions.  

My own reaction is very different, I have grown allergic over the years to every time, when either someone harms another by making him the target of behaviors based upon irrational beliefs or else by suggesting and encouraging others to do this.

Any historical expression of religion does not bother me.   Fairy tales are parts of the culture, as long as nobody believes them to be true.   I can walk into a church or a temple and enjoy the architecture and art independent of the intended messages.   I can look at a beautiful painting of a woman and a child, and it really does not matter, if the woman's is called Mary or Tusnelda.  

The following is a slightly modified copy from my ERCP blog, where I am using the word irrationality.  It includes religion as being just one of many irrationalities causing harm.   In my two previous blog posts here I wrote about how harming women by commodification is connected to the evolution to the gullibility for religious beliefs.   Therefore commodification and gullibility in the following text are two varieties of the same species of cognitive poison ivy.

http://egalitarianrationalcommitmentparadigm.blogspot.de/2012/08/55...


Too many repetitions of stimulation can lead to desensitization, but there is also the possible opposite reaction of sensitization and allergization.

Physiologically, impaired hearing due to too much noise too often is an example of desensitization.   Touching poison ivy is known as initiating an allergic reaction, which gets worse with every repeated contact.

Exposure to immaterial stimuli can also cause both kinds of a reaction.   Just as people get desensitized be their repeated inflicting harm, people can also get allergic due to being exposed too often to annoying, disgusting, discouraging, disturbing, hurting or in any other way unpleasant cognitive input.    I will call such allergenic input cognitive poison ivy.

There is an expression about pushing someone's button.   Cognitive poison ivy is something different.  A button in the expression is an individual's peculiarity.  What is a button to one person has not effect upon another.   Poison ivy is toxic, becoming allergic is not a peculiar weakness.    Commodification harms every woman, if it is forced upon her too often and too drastically.  Being manipulated by a priest to pray to god to change her plight instead of getting a divorce harms every woman.


The availability of cheap mass media has lead to the possibility of exposing oneself to extensive and intensive cognitive stimulation, which can have the side effects of either desensitization or allergization.


I have internet access at home since 1998.  This was a turning point in my access to authentic informations about very varied people.  Without the internet, information was either second hand through the filter of those writing, producing and publishing books, newspapers, magazines, radio, movies, tv.  Else it was limited to the experiences of the preselected kind of people, whom I chose to mix and socialize with.

On the internet I started to avidly read forums of all kinds, where I found people's authentic and unfiltered expression of their opinions, attitudes and accounts of their subjective perception of their own life experiences.
My wish to end my loneliness and to find a mindmate requires to be active by reading men's profile and taking the initiative to contact those appearing suitable.
Doing this is for me like searching for one nice flower on a meadow overgrown with poison ivy, which I cannot avoid to expose myself to.    To find happiness, I have to invest a lot of annoyance of walking through the gutter, of developing a growing allergic reaction to too much filth.    I also were confronted with a previously unknown amount of irrationality, by men asking me for my star sign or wanting to check me out by numerology.

As a result of my exposure to the internet I got aware of the real seriousness and magnitude of two nuisances and annoyances, which I had previously thought to be able to keep away from.    The commodification of women and gullibility to irrational beliefs are so ubiquitous on the web, that they became cognitive poison ivy for me.

Before the internet, I mistook both nuisances as merely vague and drastic dysfunctions of a limited and clearly recognizable number of people.
  • I thought that those predators, who insulted me with their wish to abuse my body were a bad minority from the gutter, while there were also enough decent, monogamous and committing men.
  • I thought that all people, who called themselves atheists, really were rational.
  • I overestimated the prevalence of decency and the prevalence of rationality.

Since then, by reading information, by a lot of thinking and drawing my own independent conclusions, I have learned a lot more about commodification and irrationality:
  • They are quite ubiquitous and exceptions are rare.
  • Both have as a general basis the disposition towards distorted thinking, which can lead to become manifest in many different variations.   Not only the manifestations are the nuisance, but also the disposition.
    • The disposition for commodification is the asymmetrical attitude towards women, which causes many different harming behaviors.
    • Gullibility is the predisposition, which is manifest in very different irrational beliefs leading to different harming behaviors.
  •  While the harming behaviors are drastic, the dispositions can be recognized by subtle, indirect indicators, which are superficially not easily noticeably and tend to be overlooked and underestimated.
    I got more aware and attentive to recognize the real significance of such indicators as red flags.
  • Some of the damage done directly and indirectly to victims is beyond what I had imagined as possible.
  • People's self-labeling and self-attributions are often not correct.  When these persons appear sincere, this can be misleading.    It sometimes takes a while to find out, that they are not aware of the real meaning of what they appear to say.
    • Self-labeled atheists believing in reincarnation, astrology or chi are not less irrational than christians.
    • A man's declared intention to commit does not imply symmetry, even marriage can be mistaken by some men for a variety of commodification.
  • Those causing the nuisance are unable to comprehend, what they are doing, even when they are told or notice any disruption, they blame it on the victims of commodification and of irrational behaviors.
  • The worst nuisance are those men, who combine commodification and irrationality. While a rational men has theoretically the potential to reconsider and change his asymmetrical attitude towards women, irrationality protects the commodification.

With growing awareness for the indicators of both nuisances, I started to consciously encounter them more often and I became more alert as to their significance.   While ignorance had spared me previously thereof, I experienced annoyance more frequently.  I was waking up to the real extent of two major dysfunctions of the cognition.

I am using the words annoyance and nuisance.  It is difficult to describe emotions.  Every instance of reading about women being degraded or about some irrational belief triggered in me this feeling of sighing a 'not again' and of cringing from this unpleasant aspect of life.    The more often this happened, the stronger I experienced the unpleasantness.   By now it has become an allergic reaction of disgust, tedium and nausea.    Commodification and irrationality have become cognitive poison ivy for me.

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