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Self Deception In Religion Essay

2340 words - 10 pages

Self-deception has existed from the beginning of time and if you are religious, from the beginning of religion. It is a constant cycle that affects us all whether we realize it or not. Numerous studies have been done trying to discover the causes and effects of self-deception, the situations that make someone think they have to self-deceive, why deception even exists, etc. While there may never be one particular answer for any of these questions, I argue that we will never fully understand self-deception in other or as a topic itself, until we truly understand how and why we ourselves use self-deception.
Some people self-deceive more than others and for different reasons ...view middle of the document...

120). As we explore self-deception as it pertains to religious practices and beliefs it will be very helpful to keep this definition in mind, as well as other definitions we discuss from other studies. This particular definition can apply to people who are self-deceiving themselves into believing something that may not be true without researching the matter further; or it could apply to people who self-deceive themselves into not believing something that may be true without exploring both sides.
The textbook talks about different factors that determine the level of self-deception in a person. Some of these factors are: Levels of awareness, content, and self-deception as a social and psychological process (Knapp, 2008, pgs. 120-123). When speaking of levels of awareness, the textbook specifically gives the example of a religious person who has lost their faith but continues to go to church (Knapp, 2008 pg. 121). This could be caused because the person is more aware of their need or desire to go to church than they are aware of their decreased or lost faith.
Being content is a big problem with self-deception when people aren’t willing to accept change or acknowledge that there might be another belief system than their own. People get content or complacent in their ways and don’t take the time to question anything they believe. This causes them to stay stagnant in their belief because they aren’t making an effort to learn more and progress or an effort to see if counter arguments have any merits. Hence, they self-deceive themselves into thinking that they can just be content with where they are at and not seek any new or further knowledge.
Often times self-deception comes due to social and/or psychological pressures. The textbook explains that if a person associates themselves with a group they identify themselves with the values and policies of that group. “Thus when there is evidence that threatens the beliefs of a primary group, it is a threat to one’s own self and self-deception becomes an option (Knapp, 2008 pg. 124). This can be understood by looking at a member of a religious organization and seeing that they will continue to conform or agree with their religious group regardless of what other information is out there. They feel the social pressure to unite with their primary group even though the new information they have received may seem more logical, they self-deceive themselves and discredit the new knowledge and stick with their social support group.
Roger White (2010) explains how often times our own self-deception comes from a misperception of something. He says, “We take risks of falling into error every day. Go to a baseball game and you are bound to misperceive something going on, make a mistake adding the score, or something” (pg.608). If we want to be truthful we must make sure that we perceive things in the correct way because any form of misperception can lead us to convincing ourselves of something...

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