Being Right All The Time

i-am-rightIt’s a very common human foible, but lots of people have the psychological need to be right all the time, to defend their views to the death, even if those views are factually wrong, simply because their ego will not permit them to admit that they were actually mistaken.  I think this is very commonplace among evangelical and fundamentalist theists, they hold that their beliefs can never be wrong and, when shown that what they believe is actually false, instead of changing their views, they will double down on the false beliefs because their egos will not allow them to be wrong.

I’ve been suggesting this to theists for a while now, especially those who completely ignore any and all evidence that their beliefs are factually incorrect, and I had one of them come back and accuse me of the same thing.  I want to be right all the time.  Well yes, but not in the same way.  See, they’re going to cling to a belief, right or wrong, because it is the belief that they are emotionally attached to.  I, on the other hand, if I find that a belief is wrong, I will reject that belief and go find another that is better supported by the evidence.  As such, I do want to be right, I simply go find better beliefs if I find weaknesses in the ones I hold.  That’s an entirely different thing than the religious do.  My beliefs are fluid, they can be changed if they are found to be faulty.  Religious beliefs are rigid, they can never be changed for any reason, even if revealed to be wrong.  I suppose in some sense, we both want to be right all the time, I just want to be actually right, they just want to present the illusion of rightness.

So what is best?  I think clearly the ability to change your mind on the issues as new information becomes available is best, but the religious seem oblivious to that.  They believe they have the eternal Word of God that can never change, it must always be exactly the same because otherwise, it weakens their religious beliefs.  Therefore, they cannot ever modify their beliefs for any reason, it reveals a flaw in their God if they do.  I have no gods to keep happy.  I just go where the evidence leads.  It makes for a superior position.

So if anyone tells you that you’re trying to be right all the time, explain it to them in small words how your position is vastly superior to theirs and why.  We all ought to strive to be right, not by defending untenable positions, but by continually following the changing information landscape and planting our flag on those ideas that are best supported at the time.

11 thoughts on “Being Right All The Time”

  1. You hit on an important issue here, that views can change due to evidence but that does not mean all views are equal. For example Evolution could be wrong, but the evidence shows overwhelmingly it to be correct. On the other hand intelligent design is demonstrably wrong even if evolution gets proven to be incorrect. A view can only be correct if it fits the evidence, and that is what most theists fail to see.
    My recent post A peer review laugh

  2. "Religious beliefs are rigid, they can never be changed for any reason, even if revealed to be wrong."

    If this is true, then how is it that you abandoned your once deeply held religious beliefs? How is it that so many millions of former believers were able to shed their beliefs and become atheists?

  3. "Religious beliefs are rigid, they can never be changed for any reason, even if revealed to be wrong." What parts of religion are so often revealed to be wrong.

    1. Every single part that can be evaluated rationally. Creationism is nonsense, the flood is ridiculous, historical claims made in the Bible are debunked left and right. As we learn more about the world around us, there is less and less reason to believe anything that is claimed by religion.

  4. Absolute rubbish. Get a clue before you boo. The flood doesn't have to be real. There is no historical claims in the bible, creationism is a faith, it is not christianity. All that is claimed in the bible is how to live a moral life. How can any science out wit moral encouragement.

    1. No, you get a clue. The things in the Bible are simply nonsense, if all of the claims that it makes are nonsense, how can it be relied upon to give a valid view of morality? Besides, the Bible teaches that slavery, genocide and all manner of evil are just fine so long as an imaginary friend in the sky says so. I think you've realized that the vast majority of what constitutes Christianity is ridiculous but you still want to rationalize away your belief. by throwing out the parts you know are bunk and just clinging to the parts that still make you feel good. Don't worry, you're well on your way to atheism, once you let go of that final vestige of religious inanity.

  5. If you think that the things in the bible are nonsense then I suggest you do not read it, however, it is not your right to stop others from making that choice. Satan wanted to force people to do his will rather then give the agency. Is that your modus operandi. To emulate the tactics of Satan? Why do u on find it necessary to poison and institution that preaches moral accountability. It all sound very suspicious to me. Besides, if you believe that the bible teaches that slavery, genocide and all manner of evil are just fine so long as an imaginary friend in the sky says so then you read a different bible to Christians. You need to only read books you like instead of books that you completely disagree with. If not, you will give yourself the name of "trouble making dissentient" when there is no justifiable reason for it.

    1. And exactly where have I stopped anyone from doing anything? I'm posting on my own personal blog. Please let us know when the atheist stormtroopers show up at your front door and take away your Bible, won't you? Besides, nobody is emulating the tactics of Satan because Satan isn't real, any more than that imaginary friend in the sky that you worship. It's really a shame that you're incapable of taking a step back and looking at what you say objectively, it would make your eyes roll back in your head.

      But you'd probably think that was Satan and not the absurdity of your own words doing it.

  6. What ever I think should not make a blind bit of difference to you. I cannot think of a single reason, other than the euphoria obtained by confrontation and contention whilst trying to make a name for oneself in the forum fraternity of atheists, why you would want to involve yourself in the beliefs of Christians on this site and others. Why do you need to comment and denegrate the beliefs of Christians. Essentially Christians are law abiding citizens who strive to live a morally clean existence in a corrupt and promiscuous society. Christians do not wear their hearts on their sleeves anymore and evangelists have tempered their proselytising activities. They are harmless beliefs that hurt nobody, on the contrary, they are an asset to oyr society. So why do you complain so bitterly about institutes that are good and wholesome and promote atheism that have no moral accountability plus having a well known disposition of being angry.? Satan most certainly do exist. I confront his disciples on a daily basis.

    1. I don't force Christians to come here, you did so of your own free will. I simply write and respond to what is said. If you don't like that, you're welcome not to return. You're the one who keeps coming back, I'm not following you around. Think about that. And while you're describing some Christians, you're certainly not describing others. Feel free to peruse the Religious Horror Show where lots of Christians do not act like you claim that they do. Oh, I know you'll pull the "no true Christian" nonsense, but that holds no water whatsoever.

      Further, they are not harmless beliefs that harm no one, as the Religious Horror Show demonstrates, but even beyond that, for theists who are not that extreme, your beliefs inform your actions and it's well known that when one's beliefs are hate-filled, one's actions are as well. It impacts how you vote, it impacts how you treat others, it impacts how you behave. Pretending that you're better than everyone else because you're best friends with an imaginary man in the sky does not produce good behavior, sorry.

      And maybe you might want to seek some professional help if you really think that these imaginary creatures exist. There's something mentally wrong with you.

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