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Why do people stay with a belief system (aka a religion) even though they question it. "It teaches you how to deal with everything in life without having to think for yourself." Mike Rinder, ex-Scientologist.

I've been watching Leah Remini's latest season of Scientology on Netflix, and in this particular episode, her cohost, Mike Rinder, spoke about why he feels members of Scientology know there are things wrong with the organization and the belief system, yet still stay anyway, and stated the above quote as a reason.

This really resonated with me as I agree. I too feel that the majority of people want to fbe told what to do, whom to follow, and what to think. So I guess my question is...what is so awful about independent thought that so many resist it?

linxminx 8 Nov 24

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"Herd Mentality," is what is called and is one the main reasons why religions survive in a world where knowledge, science, logic, reasoning, etc, are no longer deemed as heretical, etc, etc.
Sheep are, imo, a PRIME example of Herd Mentality in that one sheep suddenly decides to either run or go somewhere different and the entire herd follows instinctively so it seems.
Humans are not much more than animals deep down and some still cling to the Herd Mentality where others, like Atheists, etc, have actually found the strength or what ever it maybe to break free from the herd and go it alone, so to speak.
What we have done is both enigmatic, puzzling, troublesome, confusing and rebellious in the minds of the Faithfools, they cannot conceive it to be possible that anyone would do as we have done, hence they find us as being things to despise, vilify, etc, etc.

Nicely said!

It appears that sheep all turn and run the same way as the one who went rogue because of safety in numbers. Survival is likelier if they stay together so they do. It's total Zen. One can't really know how the battle for survival goes so you play the odds.

Well written there my friend.

I view standing out as a great thing. It really shows who you are. Being a conformist IMO means you have conditioned yourself into becoming something your not. And as far as anyone despising my beliefs or what I stand for I could care less.

And it appears that most atheists were once religious, myself included. I attended parochial school and attended mass until age 18. But I really had no choice as both parents made me go. It took me a full 9 years to declare myself an atheist. Similarly, I was once a huge supporter of the death penalty. That began to change when Tim McVeigh hit the federal building on April 19, 1995. And he considered himself a “Christian Conservative” also.

It had taken me 10 years following that to declare myself AGAINST the death penalty as IMO it served as no deterrent.

The moral here, is that true change takes time. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower.

@rainmanjr We humans LIKE to think that we ARE the Apex Predators do we not, BUT take away our weapons and we still are merely bi-pedal meat on the hoof anyway to other more talented, skillful predators.
Hence, imo, that is why the 'Herd Mentality' has remained with us, well most of us though, and religions have learned so well to utilize it to their best advantages.
When I refer to the 'Herd Mentality' I am meaning in the context of 'clustering' together in religious congregations and meekly following the so-called Lead and 'Teachings', etc, of the often not associated, remotely appointed, Sub-altern Alpha, i.e. Priest, minister, etc.
A Prime example of this, imo, is the "Judas Goat" used in numerous Abattoirs around the world still to this day.
A goat is fostered and taught to lead the beasts, sheep or cattle for example, up the ramp into the "Killing room" BUT the goat is allowed to walk straight through unharmed, for its 'followers' it IS an entirely different story however.
By utilizing the 'Judas Goat' method, Abattoir Workers, etc, have found that the beasts to be killed are less stressed and the resultant meat obtained in far, far tenderer and sweeter to the palate.
Herd Mentality at its very finest.
Plus, if you've had any experience with herds/flocks of sheep I think you will find that they, unlike many other herd living animals, do not have either a 'rogue' or a leader as such, they simply move either en-mass or randomly at times depending mostly upon the circumstances that they find they are in.

@SeaRay215ex i seem to remember a very old saying that went something like this, " It takes COURAGE to stand alone but any coward can hide in a herd or mob and think him/herself to be safe."

@anglophone I suppose, even though they 'claim' that Psychology is NOT a real Science medicine-wise, we do come up good and very logical reasonings.

@Triphid Knowing your background, and with me now being on psychologist number 6, I agree with you 100%.


IMHO, it takes three separate aspects of personality to be in the habit of independent thought. 1 is cognitive ability. 2 is inclination. 3 is self-confidence. By way of a contrapositive demonstration, think about the local village idiot, a mentally lazy person, and anybody who is frightened by their own shadow. If any one of those three aspects of personality are missing, it seems to me that such a person cannot engage in independent thought. Just look at the number of panhandlers in Florida.

I think you nailed a big part of it. We often miss the fact that most non-believers tend to be intellectually inclined to skepticism. ( not necessarily more intelligent). Some lack the ability to be skeptical, some it is just not in their nature, some are skeptical and go along anyway because the benefit of rebelling is not apparent.
Then there are those that are simply apathetic. They are happy with the status quo


I watched the Scientology series, too and was baffled by the numbers of people who did such STUPID THINGS while caught in the cult! Cult leaders always make members feel ''soooo special,'' don't they?

It's all about ego. And self-doubt.

Yes, the Ego side is the life-blood of those who run the show, the belittlement, denigration, etc, etc, is, imo, how they keep the followers enthralled and under their control,
IF you look long enough you will most likely see that it not applies in cults such Scientology but in ALL religions though they have learned after centuries to 'cover it up' in pretty little bundles of Sweetness, Caring, Unity, etc, etc, but those wrappings are thin indeed and very very frail as well.


Independent thought requires at least a minor degree of effort, effort requires work, lazy people don't like that. 🙄

"lazy people don't like that" - exactly!

I have a "lazy" friend. He says that if you want a job done properly give it to a lazy person because they will find the most efficient way to do it properly so they get it done correctly and won't have to redo it. 😅

@anglophone yeah


I read somewhere that even if door knockers convert no one, that the practice still serves the purpose of strengthening their bonds to the church. These young kids find out at a viceral level that the outside world is full of rejection and mean evil people.


Not everyone in this world is comfortable with using their own initiative.


Very good question. Here's an answer: We are basically ego systems that were told we are no good, that we aren't of ultimate importance, and our ego was damaged. We felt abandoned, or abused, or whatever and it held consequences of rejection. We don't trust our own instincts, our own minds, so look for someone who seems to be stronger. That's it. No great motive other than "I'm not good enough to think for myself."


Once indoctrinated in a certain way or set of beliefs, it basically becomes a part of who and what you are.

Like with quitting smoking or other drugs, it takes someone with strong willpower and determination to break away. Unfortunately most people do not possess strong willpower.

I recently read that over 90% of individuals who try to quit smoking cigarettes cannot do it. So sometimes even if one has the desire to change they still cannot because they lack the backbone.


That the FSM caused the big boil and that a trible also doesn't follow it is a part of my thinking that it is a cult that has no morality.


Leah Remini is very brave. I think she's great. Scientologist are fucked up. She exposed Danny Masterson as a rapist. He'll get off, he's got the best legal team.


Having grown up indoctrinated into wingnut evangelical paranoia about everything disappointing or difficult somehow being "proof" of Satanic warfare, (insert appropriate eye roll🙄), I instantly see the biggest factor as FEAR. Laziness and desire for community are certainly also valid factors, but fear hits the mark on multiple counts: Fear of being wrong, fear of being judged negatively, fear of rejection, fear of inadequacy, fear of death and of the unknown in general, and of eternal punishment/damnation. The biggest hurdle I had for completely abandoning the Christian paradigm even after seeing through the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy and the stupendous fallability of their scriptures was that stubbornly nagging "but what if I'm mistaken?" question. By age 20, I resolved that, btw, (cause I am smart, imho, lol) and have not once regretted it.


This is something I've seen and find difficult to accept. I remember at Uni, one of our lecturers set an assignment where you had to set your own assignment task and then complete it. Whereas a large number of people revelled in this freedom, what truly shocked me were the number of people who were angry and resentful of this task, to the degree that they demanded he set a separate defined assignment for them. They needed to be told what to do and without those instructions they found it difficult to function. Keep in mind that these were Uni students and all would have been in the top 5% of the IQ range and they were not intellectually lazy people or they wouldn't have been studying at that level. They just couldn't handle the freedom to establish their own structure.

@linxminx referencing the OP it's easier to follow 10 rigid rules that require no thought in application than it is to live in a world of moral relativism where moral decisions have to be evaluated in a context.


I like this series and Leah Remini. My problem with Scientology is that it was started by an alcoholic science fiction writer and so many fell for its outlandish beliefs. This would not even make a good movie. Seriously, we all know that.

Without any great detail here, they tried to scam me once in Texas. I knew little of them and was actually joking as I answered the things they sent me. Before long someone wanted me to buy cemetery plots and I refused. Then the idiot made a claim about "my own church" saying something and I saw that the plot seller and the Scientology come on were connected.


Watch the NXIVM documentary series in Starz and hear from India herself, the daughter of actress Catherine Oxemberg, how she was brainwashed by Vanguard and his group of enablers. Pretty much what happens with trumpers and all religions that take advantage of the brainwashing.


The United states of America(system of belief of the written laws believed to be about justice, government organization and freedom to rape this land from the original indigenous inhabitants calling them such as Mexicans, Indian and native American) is the secret religion of the Masonic lodge secret religion racist devil worshipper governmental terrorist European invadors since their freedom from England July 4th, 1776.

Why do you not leave This America or quit supporting their devil worship in accordance with the written instructions of biblical text in such as requiring identification for capitalism slavery, taxation and government control?

Biblical explination that things about person identification is to be kept secret except for the government or specifically certain things. Such goes with birth certificate, social security card and photo identification. As well as business paperwork documentation for running a business as in a corporation papers required to be filled with clerks office of government.

Uneducated people do not understand metaphor. Beast is a metaphor for laws of government. man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name. Revelations 13:17

Word Level 8 Nov 25, 2020

I read this a couple of times yet still have no clue what it means? Maybe I’m just in dumb mode?

@Canndue dumb means temporary unable or refusal to speak. Are you having some cognitive dissonance or denial of facts?

@Word there are other definitions...

@Canndue I understand the evolution of words. Dumb meaning unable to speak evolved to take on the connatation of stupid because people that are stupid may not be able to speak when faced with some fact. So then stupid has become the new dumb.

@Word so, outside of the word, can you explain your original post? I don’t understand what you are trying to say. ✌️

@Canndue Do you have ancestry that has been in these lands for 1000s of years prior to the European invasion of 1492? Ancestry call such but not limited to. and not specifically all inclusive, Mexican, Indian and Native American?

@Word no, but if you go back far enough, nobody does, so not sure of your point.

@Canndue Do you know anything about Masonic lodge secret religion racist devil worship?

@Word nope

@Canndue Then that would be a place for you to start researching. Otherwise, I am not trying to go into a long explination here in these little messages.

@Canndue One writing from a Masonic lodge secret religion racist devil worshipper governmental terrorist I would greatly recommend reading is Benjamin Franklin's essay "Remarks concerning the Savages of North America".



I watch a lot of debates between atheists and believers. It's frightening to hear the godbotherers say their sacred texts are the only thing holding them back from committing horrific crimes. And they're serious.

Sad, sickening and gut-wrenching when one hears comments like that from the so-called 'enlightened by Gawd/Jesus' followers isn't it?
Especially when one takes into account that at a very minimum at least 60% of all wars fought in the history of humans have some religious-based context behind them, i.e. either wars over whose god is the real god or THEIR cause IS the right cause because god IS on their side.
Strange though how this god of theirs ALWAYS hedges its bets by backing BOTH sides isn't it?


I was in Christianity for 30 years. I questioned it everyday. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me some days and others it did. I didn’t like the you are supposed to suffer part. The reason I forced myself to believe it was I didn’t want to go to hell. The depiction the preacher gave it was scary. Once I broke out of the belief in hell the rest crumbled pretty quickly


As I see it:
Most of us feel comfortable belonging to some sort of community and most communities follow a generally accepted train of thought common to most members of that community. If you are an independent thinker your links to the community become more tenuous because you don't always share the common view. In some instances this can cause rejection by the community or self separation from the community. So I conclude (rightly or wrongly) that it is fear of losing the community in part that drives the avoidance if independent thought.


The key word, as already mentioned in other comments, is LAZINESS. Many people are too lazy to think for themselves. 🙄


Because the belief system is not just a belief system, it becomes part of the identity.
He is not religious because he believe. He believes because he is religious.
It is not enough to show that the belief is false, you need to give the person an option to build a new identity.

@linxminx Agreed, but unfortunately the “finding oneself” of the 60’s and 70’s turned into “it’s all about me” in the 80’s and 90’s.
I wonder if anyone ever mapped fundamental themes by generation over time. Be interesting read.

@Canndue on this matter, I say that everyone looking for himself/herself and accepting only good vibes has at least one or two stressed people that likes them working to fix the shit they do...


Humans may be capable of rational thought, but generally we are nto rational animals. We selfon take into account that humans are evolved animals who are still evolving.

Our evolutionary ancestors instinctually gathered in groups for protection and safety. Our instinctual drives still have much influence over us. Most of still get a sense of comfort from gathering in groups, although we no longer need to do so for safety reasons. We are instinctually driven to be a part of a group and to seek belonging.

Religion provides a sense of belonging. The costs are much higher than the benefits, but many choose it anyways because they respond to their instincts, not logic or rationality.

In modern humans instincts are most commonly een in emotional response. So religious people tend to make more emotional slanted decisions to fulfill ancient instinctual drives to be a part of a group, and to belong which gives them an (emotional) sense of peace.


It comes down to this for me. Weak minded vs strong willed.

Religion is for the weak minded not the strong willed. To use a movie example its the real life Jedi Mind Trick.


From earliest stages of human cognitive development we are conditioned by family, culture and theologies from which they derive, to accept externally sourced corrections and substitutions for what our inner senses and developing perceptual faculties report.

We're literally reprogrammed to reject our 'default' natural responses to first-hand experience of the environment in TRUST and favor of substitutes embossed on our developing psyches. It sets forth a life-long pattern of asserting individuality only within theology's and society's, imposed frames of reference. Add to this generational betrayal with instilled fear and distrust of natural early sexual curiosities and drives; concepts like 'original sin', invisible demonic predators and promises of eternal punishments. These are the walls within which human minds and souls are held captive; surrounded by self accepted bars to actualization of beautiful human potential as Nature would have it.

This crippling system of generational infection with terror of antithetical internal impulses or thoughts as evil, disloyal, ungrateful, indeed sinful crushes individuality. Thus natural creature drives become temporarily dammed-up until accumulated pressure becomes torturous and some 'bleed-out', seeking secondary substitutes; things like compulsive, destructive 'fanatic' behaviors and addictions. One can never get enough of substitutions..

"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!" We're equipped with greater 'helpings' of capacities we see generously lavished on animal cousins on this planet. I believe two among them to be self-regulating instincts of morality and sexuality requiring no interference by culture for optimal, healthy development and expression. That is, however, in a life and love affirming culture; not in the male dominated pathogenic arrangements we call civilizations ; derivatives of male contrived theologies.

Respect for 'the individual' as an ideal wasn't fully recognized and codified until the end of the 18th. Century. This secular emergence of protection for all persons (in concept) happened for the first time in over 6,000 years. A door opened slowly but surely advancing possibilities for profound human emancipation to finally include our female half. A healthy seed was sown in a field of weeds and it flourished albeit imperfectly.

Immense power is contained within a single person. We’re as atoms to societies; equipped with infinite potential for social stability and realization of happiness. Unfortunately, we are in this place and time,very unstable and more of us become sick with each successive generation.

Those daring to assert themselves with no need for group validation aggravate and discomfort
overseers and self-appointed keepers, whether kings, party bosses, priests or mere husbands...

A promising horizon is visible but the distance ahead unknown, with probable shadows of more dark ages along the way.


A lot of the newer and larger evangelical churches are selling a form of companionship and a place to get together. Many have "free" gyms and sports teams. I had an old friend, who passed away, who liked to go to a certain church because he could play guitar and rock out to GeeZeus. I'm pretty sure that many in that church would not have approved his drinking and weed smoking.


For me it was the feeling of knowing I would be rejected, and it is difficult when you feel accepted, to leave the safety of that feeling....the fear that there might actually be "something" out there that can reach out and strike you down, or pass judgement on you. Thats pretty scarey.

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