The Believable Lie pt II: Authentic Beliefs

A cataclysm occurs at the point where authenticity becomes entrenched in the system of belief, for when our beliefs become authentic to who we are they become who we are. It is as if an alien life form had taken over the space in your brain that controls what you do, make, say or think. And when this alien life form takes over, it cannot be disobeyed or disagreed with.

Authentic beliefs cannot be allowed to be proven wrong.

When my beliefs become truly authentic I am unable-or unwilling-to listen to anything that disagrees with what I believe. I refuse to listen or to hear because I must protect the integrity of my beliefs as authentic to myself; I, me, this guy, cannot be allowed to entertain the possibility that I might be wrong, because then my beliefs would be inauthentic.

This is what religious beliefs look like.

Religious beliefs are defended at all costs and in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. That is, it is claimed (and has been claimed by me), because beliefs do not depend on fallible human reasoning. Lunacy or not, this stands to the reason of authenticity; the constructed markers of reality that we call beliefs can only be maintained if we are authentic to them.

This means we really have to believe whatever it is we believe.

“Truly. You just gotta believe. You just gotta construct the same boundaries for what can and cannot be real as I tell you to. This is how you get to heaven. And don’t let anyone tell you any different, because if you stop maintaining these boundaries you’re going to hell.”

This is called “epistemic closure.”

Epistemic Closure is a fancy way of saying “refuse to learn.” Literally, it means to close off from knowledge. But the term has connotations of belief, in that in order to close off you have to determine what is knowledge and what is not. In this way, you set out beliefs (markers of reality) about what can and cannot be learned, or rather what is and is not knowable.

Authentic religious beliefs require epistemic closure.

If our own salvation hinges on our ability to withstand any contrary evangelistic efforts, then to protect ourselves from such a possibility we refuse to listen to anyone else’s beliefs. When we make believing the litmus test of salvation we exclude the possibility that we are wrong about what we believe. Of course, when we set ourselves up as the ultimate authority we make ourselves out to be God. The bible would call that- sin.

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