The binding of Issac,
A story where God tells someone using a voice in their head that they should kill a child.
It’s one of the well known biblical stories and as such is a great example of the effect of cognitive dissonance on the human mind.
Abraham is a foundational prophet for the two largest world religions today. To dismiss him as a fruitloop is to question the very foundations of deeply held beliefs.
Ask a believer to explain why it’s ok that God ordered the death of a child, and that it was noble and faithful for Abraham to try and kill a child…and you will get a front row seat to cognitive dissonance causing a spontaneous delusion in the mind of the believer.
Watch as they insist an all powerful deity couldn’t have found any other way to work with his prophet, that child sacrifice was ok back then or that this had to happen as an example of how god was gonna kill Jesus in the future… none of which make any sense at all when pressed for further explanation.
In a normal situation the believer could likely come up with a dozen different ways an omnipotent being could teach whatever vitally important lesson there is in the story of Abraham to be learned. But not so when their brain is bound by cognitive dissonance. They will feel too dumb to come up with alternatives, I honestly think their mind will draw a blank… mine did back then.
It can be really, really hard to catch cognitive dissonance at work making delusions in your mind. I mean how does the deluded know they are deluded?
But I believe you can watch for tells. If you are drawing a blank and others around you aren’t, that’s a sign you might be bound by cog diss. If you change the backdrop of the situation, by swapping out names and places, and you land at an entirely different conclusion, that’s a tell you are biased and bound by cog diss. If the issue at hand has an emotional connection for you. That’s a sign cognitive dissonance is very much likely at work in your affecting your perception.
Cognitive dissonance may not be all bad though, it does tend to keep us general happy and functional when we run into conflicts in our environment, at least good enough so we can make more of ourselves…. hmmm maybe we need more skeptical people with big families! But I digress. The sermon today on the Fridge is this. Don’t let cognitive dissonance bind you. Learn to recognize when it’s trying to run the show. Because it can make you completely nuts. And we’d hate to see your name in the paper tomorrow instead of Abraham’s.
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