Author Topic: We used to blame this stuff on Satan - when did that change?  (Read 126 times)

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Offline Jag

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“When I stepped in, I felt compelled by a higher power,” Hammer said. “Honestly, have you ever been grabbed by the Lord in a way you never thought you would or you could? That’s exactly what I’m testifying to, and I’m not speaking in hyperbole. I’m speaking right from the heart.”

The above is the last paragraph (page 2) of an article found here.

What I'm unclear on is why so often someone feels "compelled" by God to assault someone? Anyone who tries to argue that god isn't doing it needs to come prepared with some proof as well, because I see no reason to take this guy's claims any less seriously than I take those of any other random theist.

Seriously people, what gives? Why does God keep grabbing apparently unstable people to do his work here on earth?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: We used to blame this stuff on Satan - when did that change?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2014, 09:37:24 AM »
He should be kept from children, moreso for that comment than for beating up a skater.

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Offline Jag

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Re: We used to blame this stuff on Satan - when did that change?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2014, 10:02:41 AM »
I probably should have mentioned this in the OP - the man in the article is a school teacher.

Keeping the concept of cognitive dissonance in mind, I suspect he's managed to convince himself by now that he really did feel compelled by God Himself to act as he did. That's what I find so deeply disturbing about theism - regardless of what was actually in his mind while he was assaulting the kid, he believes his explanation now because his perception of himself is at stake. He believes in God and he's a school teacher, so of course he doesn't harm children - until he does, then he has to reconcile his actions with his beliefs, so of course it had to be God "compelling" him. The lack of accountability is built right into the belief system, it's just funny to me that God now gets named as an explanation for obviously inappropriate behavior.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: We used to blame this stuff on Satan - when did that change?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2014, 10:51:22 AM »
Keeping the concept of cognitive dissonance in mind, I suspect he's managed to convince himself by now that he really did feel compelled by God Himself to act as he did.

?  I don't see how cognitive dissonance applies here?

Quote
cognitive dissonance is the excessive mental stress and discomfort[1] experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time. This stress and discomfort may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and performs a contradictory action or reaction.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance


That's what I find so deeply disturbing about theism - regardless of what was actually in his mind while he was assaulting the kid, he believes his explanation now because his perception of himself is at stake.

I don't think all post hoc justifications or lame excuses or self delusions are cognitive dissonance.

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Offline Jag

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Re: We used to blame this stuff on Satan - when did that change?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2014, 11:24:13 AM »
Social Psych class explanation: when a person experiences cognitive dissonance (brought on by behaving in a way that is contrary to their existing self-perception), they are prompted to reduce the dissonance by changing their attitude or their beliefs to allow themselves to regain their emotional balance, so to speak. The guy in the story is a school teacher and is in charge of children during class time. I would imagine that if he had taken the time to consider it, he would have stated that he would not hurt a child. Then he did hurt a child - creating dissonance, which he can effectively reduce by deciding* that his initial explanation of being prompted by God is, in fact, what actually happened - because he would not otherwise hurt a child. According to the theory (and beaten into my head by my instructor), he is now committed to that belief and has incorporated it into his perception of himself. It's unshakable under most circumstances, unless something else happens to force him to re-examine that belief. I misunderstood how sociologists and psychologists use the term before this class.

In other words, you may recognize it for nonsense, and I may recognize it for nonsense, but it's entirely possible, and perhaps even likely, that HE  doesn't recognize it for nonsense anymore. He believes what he's told himself.

That's how I understand the theory of cognitive dissonance to work. I rented the textbook for that class and don't have it available to quote it exactly. I probably have the textbook definition in my notes somewhere.

*"Deciding" is the term my instructor kept using, although it's an unconscious process.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 11:28:58 AM by Jag »
My tolerance for BS is limited, and I use up most of it IRL.