Self Servigrous Faith

How faith promotes nonsensical bias resulting in errant outcomes

The Self Serving Bias—a tendency overestimate our ability, our sources, your niche in life, attributing good things that happen to your own character, while dismissing the negative to external factors. It can happen to anyone, but through some simple steps one can find reasonable accuracy to their actual abilities, improving their vantage point to show each of us a firmer reality.

This carryover into Christianity is a shoe-in and the writers, founders, and the pulpits of today continue to tap into this basic underdeveloped point of our slowly advancing human psychology. Read more bible, pray more is a death sentence to reason.

Routinely Christians give their conceptual god a free pass, while any negative outcomes of faith are attributed to the fallen world, mere people, freewill, all the way to total acquiescence of “god is in control”. And if god is in control, it’s not the fault of religion or the faithful individual.

This bias paves the way to misinterpretation of the religious result, always calling good what is an obvious poor, contradictory outcome. It is never what it seems to the believer.

Countless studies across the spectrum of disciplines bare this out time and again. Chances are, the indoctrinations of your youth are wrong. If you study religion more than other topics, you are biased and believe the things you know will somehow benefit you—even when they don’t. There’s only one way around it. Honest, self examination and and a variety of sources and disciplines. You are not as right as you think you are, but can be if one can apply some mindful self awareness.


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

43 thoughts on “Self Servigrous Faith”

  1. That is an excellent post, Jim. Quote: “Read more bible; pray more is a death sentence to reason.” I certainly agree with the “pray more” which is the recipe against self empowerment and against understanding nature. As to reading more bible being also against reason is debatable. It was reading the bible that helped me the most in leaving Christianity – and I still read it and certainly quote it. The bible is a book, or rather, a haphazard collection of books which greedy, power-hungry psychopaths use to mislead people by forcing believers to accept church interpretations rather than what the biblical story actually gives (which interpretations give to lie to their claim that is is God’s word because if it really was, any believer would automatically understand all of it – instantly! It was in reading the New Testament, but particularly the three synoptic gospels that I discovered the “horrific” lie that is all of Christianity. As I’ve said before, there is a pattern for established religion to push people in the exact opposite direction than that given in their explicit written teachings. Go tell a rich GOP Christian that Jesus would condemn her/him in an instant, that same Jesus who is quoted as saying, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Not much encouragement there to practice predatory capitalism. When asked, “Who is my neighbour” Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan to that crowd which would be like saying to a KKK rally that the black man down the street is not only your neighbour, but you will do whatever it takes to ensure that he has a safe and good life. I could go on about the curses against the hypocrisy of the Teachers of the Law, the Pharisees and the Sadducees – rich businessmen traitors to Judaism by their lucrative business dealings with the Roman military; self-important legalistic pedants and priests robbing the poor and exploiting them on a daily basis. I would say it is quite safe, and probably very educational to read the bible once one has decidedly walked away from the hypocrisy and lies of the institution. *my opinion, Jim*

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks for the excellent comment. I suppose I should have said “read more cherry picked scripture”. I think if you broke the Bible down to all the good parts, it would be available in a pamphlet.

      Liked by 8 people

    2. I agree with you Sha’tara and to add to that, I think that reading more holy books is also a good way to reason that no religion is very different from the other, just bound to a different culture.

      Reading curated versions of a text that only includes parts that support the philosophy of the religious authority are definitely bad for understanding the faith as you point out Jim.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Logic doesn’t mix well with imaginations. But why do the imaginations win out? Why why why? At some point taking responsibility for all the good and bad in your life is just too hard I guess.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. “Honest self examination”

    When trying to find truth and make things right, honest self examination works every time. The problem is that many people are too afraid to do that and would rather live out a life of false hope based on lies and misinterpretation. Self examination oftentimes results in people having to make changes in their lives…and change can be scary. But delusion does nothing but hold us back. Truth is far more important than all of the soothing lies and should be sought in all instances. I know that sometimes the lies can give you temporary peace, but in the end somebody always gets hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It takes a bit of practice then it’s no big deal. The reality is we don’t know that much, so why not aim for a bit of honesty first of all, then settle for nothing less than proof. “Prove all things” is they most overlooked scripture in the entire bible.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
          ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭KJV‬‬
          This it the ultimate contradiction of the faith they spout.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks for that! I didn’t have faith…. in my own, or my computer’s ability to research it. Immediately after I unthinkingly asked you to do my work, I found that I could do it myself.
            I’ll keep that filed with ?Paul’s? statement that the Bereans were the holiest, because they questioned every religious claim against the Talmud. 😕

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Just so happens I watched a TV show a few hours ago about the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Their bible tells them that “No man can be found guilty on the testament of only one witness.” How long did it take you to see the error in this piece of scripture. Sex crimes generally have only two witnesses–the perpetrator and the victim. The perp will never bear witness against himself, so that means the victim is absolutely powerless. In the instance of child abuse it leaves a child open to being abused over and over and over and over. There is a law in most states and nations that says religious leaders must report to the police any instance of possible child abuse, but the leaders of the JWs have a policy that no known child abuser shall be reported to the police. They even give them children to take out into the “community” to prosthelyze for the faith. That community includes the homes of the perps. Institutionalized child abusers is what we have here, all protected by their almighty bible. This is worse than a cult!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Horrible. I know the mormon clergy are supposed to report too, but rarely do. And they have a pretty neat system to pay off the victims. God is mysterious.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. At least the mormons pay off some victims. The JWs only seem to if they are losing a court case, in order to silence any publicity that might come their way. Their usual way of dealing with sexual abuse, according to the show, was to shun anyone who tried to make a fuss, including children. Can you imagine telling parents to shun their children in order to protect a rapist child abuser? That is one very sick religion.
        Oh, and by the way, apparently there are groups of believers who make sure any of their adherents who ends up in a hospital is alwsys accompanied by their members, who take turns staying with the patient at all times to ensure the sanctity of the patient’s body remains sacrosanct. They will watch them die rather than permit staff to use medicine, blood transfusions, or surgery to save the patient. If that is not criminal I don’t know what is, and I do not even believe in crime to begin with!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You deserve a good pat on the back for this one Jim you’ve obviously given it a lot of thought. The two sayings that are often quoted: ‘ There but for the grace of God go I ‘ that’s the socialist one and ‘ God helps those who help themselves ‘ that’s the capitalist one. It’s always well to remember them depending on what circles you happen to be in. If your among unbelievers don’t let God slip out it can enrage some.
    It’s a simple recipe and goes well with ‘ being all things to all men ‘ and now we have to limit our beef intake to save the planet make sure when you socialise you eat plenty of vegetables.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Limit our belief (Beef) to save the planet. I like that one. “Make peace with thine enemy while thou art in the way with him” is an add-on to that. But “be not unequally yoked with unbelievers”. Nice little Christian two-face doctrines to bolster the beauty of it.


      1. That’s where the Bible excels by far most other moralistic literature , there are passages and verses to cover every eventuality. Beef is more important than belief , because beef leads to methane , belief leads to hot air which is far less harmless.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m one of those people who gave this “Read more bible, pray more is a death sentence to reason.” my all.

    Short story. I can tell you this, my reason would not stop haunting me and eventually it prevailed. I mean this in the most serious way, I was to the point of a complete near breakdown if not totally. You’ve heard the term “functional alcoholic?” When I look back I was a “functional nearly crazy person on the inside.” On the outside no one would know.

    I’d have to say though, it was the “reading more” and the “praying more” that got me out as it was through the reading/study and kneeling prayers that my brain kept at me with reason. Darn near ready for the psyche ward when done, nonetheless, I made it through . . . barely.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You were never a true Christian. Lol. That is similar to my story, but then one fine day the light came on, and it was without the scripture and the professional excuses/guidance where it all made sense (or no sense) to me.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I tried to read the Quran a few times. I have a copy on my ssd but I haven’t felt the need to check it in at least 10 years. Maybe if they published it as a pamphlet? 25pp or less, please, and skip those parts about stoning young women as adulteresses after being raped by men. It seems the crazier and violent (vile) a religion, the more its adherents become fanatical about it.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Instead of actually reading it for context culturally, historically, and consistency theologically and morally, (not to mention basic story lines!), it’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” of my brain! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The problem is, it’s like giving that tech company on the other side of the world complete access to your computer remotely… and you know nothing about them except what they charge! Now, first of all, does Jesus have a valid driver’s license? Last I heard he drove a donkey into Jerusalem. Yeah, I’m being facetious, or farcitious…

      Liked by 2 people

  7. To have a vibrant faith, critical reasoning is necessary. I never understood Bible thumpers or in the Polytheist community – “lore thumpers.” American Heathenry (Norse religion) is full of Protestant converts who brought their ideas of the “Word” as authority and good/evil with them. Norse Polytheism struggles with how to venerate Loki, who brings chaos and the “final days.” These converts see this particular God as ‘evil.’

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You stated — “Read more bible, pray more is a death sentence to reason.”

    My response – I disagree. Reason doesn’t die if it encounters something unreasonable. I would argue that to acquire better reasoning skills one would have to engage more bad ideas. Your statement would be the opposite.

    If you want someone to leave religion, you don’t starve them of it you increase the flow. It’s like an inoculation against bad ideas. I would go one step further, you teach them even more religions.

    To form reasoning skills, you want exposure to as many ideas and concepts as possible (deep exposure)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But faith and belief have repeatedly trumped reason and knowledge. That’s the neat trick about placing faith in the scam early on. Faith only thrives without evidence. Evidence that is avoided through faith.


      1. You stated — “But faith and belief have repeatedly trumped reason and knowledge.”

        My response — I disagree, if your statement were true then believers would never go to the hospital or school.

        I think the challenge is further down the road and deserving of a more granular observation. The brush you paint with is far too broad.


        1. Broad claims require a broad brush. I don’t think faith and belief are reasonable endgame feelings. They also don’t require any discipline.


          1. You stated — “Broad claims require a broad brush.”

            My response — I disagree. A broad claim requires evidence or it is simply an opinion and should be countered with a better more concise fact or opinion.

            Responding in a broad way to broad claims is simply responding like for like and eventually brings us all down.

            Just a thought, look forward to more of your articles (Very Interesting)

            Liked by 1 person

          2. The discipline only enters in for those extremely rare individuals who look at the actual teachings on “works” and engage their faith by doing that which they are told they must do. It is about acts of altruistic self sacrifice, not about spouting nonsense in the name of beliefs systems and traditions.


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