Created Friday, Mar. 15, 2002                updated Sep 4, 2011

 The Psychology Factor in Christianity and Religion


A Real Big Problem!
Irrational Is Natural But Is It Good?
Tools For Self Examination
What Can Interfere?
Self Examination Is Important

Ego and Pride   Updated Sep 4 2011
How Do We Cope?
Self Deception

Psychology's Wrong Turn
The 7 Obstacles to Truth
Hypnosis Implications

Related Articles

A Real Big Problem!

Some may wonder what this article is doing on a Christian Bible oriented site. Well, it is here for a very good reason. Regardless of whether we are taking about religion, or many other things, people often have opinions, feelings, or ideas about them that are not based on logic, reasoning, or any sort of rational process. Their feelings and opinions come from something more deep and mysterious inside them. That is what I want to explore more with you in order to better understand both mindsets on this matter.

Any thinking by any one will either be rational logical thinking or gut, instinctive, automatic, intuitive, or even irrational thinking or perhaps more appropriately, feeling. Certainly intuitive gut feelings or thinking can be very useful when working properly. But if you have ever met someone with a phobia or some other type of psychological disorder, those gut feelings or thinking can be way off, due to the abuse and its damaging effect on the mind.

I explore the ideas of the rational mind as the true essence of spirit if you care to explore that article on being spiritual. I list in Related Articles at the end of this article. so when I say psychology, I am really talking about a pure spirit, one free of the influences of the flesh, our physical and physiological bodies. These are what corrupt the mind and spirit in its struggle for purity of truth and understanding.

From such disorders we not only have phobias, but paranoia, neurosis, and psychosis, along with all the problems that can go with them. And while many would not be diagnosed with those more severe disorders, most all of us to some degree, have our own little quirks and eccentricities. That is part of being human. That is where superstition and taboos come from. Some people fear certain omens or signs but seem pretty normal otherwise. But even these very mild quirks can be harmful or at least be more to our disadvantage than they are as a benefit. These kinds of irrational beliefs and practices can hinder us from growing and advancing as human beings. If they get too severe, then we may be diagnosed with one of those previously mentioned disorders, whereby our functioning as normal healthy people becomes quite hindered or handicapped, maybe even leaving us incapable of functioning productively on a day to day basis. Maybe not even at all. Then we will need to be cared for by someone else or turned over to a mental institution.

I do not want to address the extreme forms. They are too obvious and most people are not that bad off. But what I would like to focus on is the mild irrational thinking, feelings, and beliefs that probably everyone has to some degree. These can be far more damaging than on might initially think. Let's look at an example to illustrate. Let's say that a person of another race randomly attacks me, say purely for money. I might be very suspicious of any person of that race from that point onward. This may not be deliberate, either.

Irrational Is Natural But Is It Good?
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The intuitive mind may look for any clues to help it avoid such trouble again, and it might pick up on the most obvious difference it can distinguish and set the predator apart from previous people you have known in your lifetime. So it might notice the drastic difference in skin color, or maybe the significant difference in and around the eyes. Maybe it was the fact it was a man, or maybe that they had a lot of facial hair. The intuitive side is not easily controlled and it will gravitate toward the oddest things, sometimes. But if we have our heads on right, we will exercise our intellect and analyze the situation rationally and logically and realize that though it may have been a person of another race, that does not mean that we need to fear that other race or think they are all like that.

The rational mind is important to help us correct and calibrate our intuitive side from time to time. The intuitive side can be very perceptive. It could be that it detected something about the criminal that we did not consciously recognize but need to give some thought to so that we can be more aware of it in the future. Maybe some of his actions were a little out of normal. If we give it some careful analysis, we may recognize certain actions that were setting off alarms but that we did not listen to because our rational side was not aware of those things at the time. The way the man approached, the circumstance, or something like that.

But what I want to stress is that having irrational impulses is not a deliberate sin or something that we initially or always control. But when we subject the intuitive impulses to our own analysis and the friendly counsel and advice of others, we may conclude that a particular feeling we have about something may be wrong or it could be right. But we can only make this determination by being willing to subject our intuition and gut feelings to rational analysis from our intellectual side. A lot of people do not bother to do this and so they go through life with what you might call a messy mind, cluttered with fear and irrational ideas that would be better discarded had they done a little bit of mental house cleaning, what I will refer to as mental hygiene. Good clean logical thinking.

In fact, intuition and what they call "right brain" or "right hemisphere" thinking is really encourage today like we were not doing it very much. But I really think it is the rational, dare I say, "left brain" analytical kind of thinking that we are not doing enough of in our society and schools. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are not strictly applications of one hemisphere or the other. There is a lot of emotion (or can be) in reading or writing, as well as intuition. Math has some logic but it does not translate well into examining thoughts and motives. I believe nothing quite serves that purpose like philosophy, which explores ideas and logic. It comes from the Greek words philo that means love and sophia which means wisdom. Analyzing our thoughts and our thought processes (or lack of them) is the best education one could get and the most important one in my book. More so than the 3 R's.

Psychology's biggest failure has been to examine and get patients to examine their thought processes and belief systems. It has become more of a support and self esteem builder rather than cross examining a patient's thoughts and reasoning. And they fear calling anything right or wrong as if it could not be determined for anything.

Now everyone, no doubt, has a few little oddities as I said earlier. We would likely not be human if we did not. But I have also seen some primitive tribes on TV channels like PBS, TLC, and Discovery where every little thing is a good or bad omen and they expend large amounts of time and energy trying to avoid bad omens and obtain the good ones. Could this time be better spent? Some people might avoid things that actually might prove very valuable and useful to them if they did not give in to the irrational fear and superstition or were to confront that fear rationally.

Many of us when we go to the voting booth, do not vote according to the issues. We might vote for a particular candidate because we get a good "feeling" from him. Should we be deciding that fate of our country and ourselves, based on a good feeling that really doesn't have any basis on logic or issues? In fact, it is my opinion that most people do not know many of the issues and what is really behind them. So politicians word their platform in a way that might confuse or mislead us into voting their way when in fact, they might actually be against something we would like or that might be in our best interest. Or maybe we vote for them because of their party affiliation, even though their voting record is questionable. These are what I consider cases of not using good metal hygiene. Most issues probably don't even concern most of us, but maybe they should. Maybe we have been lulled into a good comfortable feeling when we ought to be alarmed. Or maybe we get alarmed when there is not a good solid basis for it.

So our rational logical side is for our protection. It gives us the tools to look at ourselves, ponder ourselves, and why we think and behave as we do. That ability to reflect on ourselves and look at ourselves is what separates us from the animals more than perhaps any other trait. We have an awareness of our own consciousness. As Descartes put it, I think, therefore, I am. The fact that he is aware that he thinks is why he is. It is the essence of being human. To not take advantage of this ability is a tragic waste of what God has given with you to help you survive and thrive.

Tools For Self Examination
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But taking a look at ourselves, our beliefs, and our world, can be a scary or even painful proposition. Many avoid it, not because it has not occurred to them but because they do not want it to occur to them. Yes, the ignorance or lack of conscious understanding is deliberate. That is what I really want to focus on.

We have been aware of this problem for some time as humans. In the face of crimes against others and violations of personal respect and decency, God gave us laws and nations also developed laws against such violations and prescribed punishments for violations of those crimes. But in addition, we devised a set of procedures and a system to explore crimes and charges so as to be sure that neither side was being unfairly or unjustly treated, either by being falsely accused or by trying to avoid just conviction and punishment.

In the USA, our system, through the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and the procedures of judicial court proceedings, devised an entire set of protocols that would help to sort out lies, treachery, deceit, prejudices, or subversion of the law, and even avoidance of unjust laws and abusive government. I will explore this system and its individual components so that we can get a good idea of what it takes to practice good mental hygiene. The purpose of a fair trial is to purify the process so that the result, the judgment, is reliable, dependable, and just, to the satisfaction of fair minded people, of which it is assumed that majority would be at any given time. I know that might be assuming

In many respects, this is the purpose of another similar collection of protocols, procedures and methods. It is known as the "scientific method." It started out small and as a means to discover scientific principles and has been used that way. But it was also expended and enhanced in such a way that one can apply it to the work of others to see if their work is reasonable, proceeded correctly, and has any potential and usefulness. These various methods will help us to try to eliminate anything irrational from the process so that what is left is solid and reliable. Sort of like refining a metal by removing all its impurities so that what is left is pure, whether it be gold, copper, iron, or whatever. We want gold, of course, when it comes to beliefs, right?

What Can Interfere?
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Let's look at some of the things that can interfere with arriving at good sound conclusions about something in the realm of religion. When a parent passes down religious beliefs, if we have any respect for them, we are apt to accept what they hand down without much doubt or criticism. Why? Because to some degree, we trust them and have confidence in them. So we take it for granted. It is much the same with many of our cultural or national traits, beliefs, customs, and laws. We are born into them so we accept and maintain them, out of trust, out of wanting to believe what we have come to be comfortable with, wanting to be proud of it, and even wanting to defend it.

But herein lies the danger. We love those from whom we received these things so we just assume they are right. Maybe because of our love and devotion to our family, race, culture, or country, we WANT them to be right, whether they are or not.

It is a natural and I say, even an instinctive part of our nature to need to justify ourselves. If we find any fault with ourselves, or any inconsistency, then we get quite agitated and uncomfortable. Our minds attempts to relieve that discomfort, what we might call the beating of the conscience, by either changing our behavior or by trying to justify what we do.

We seek this integration and harmonization, perhaps by changing our belief, so that there is no contradiction. When we avoid this integration and harmonization, which harmonization is an attempt to reconcile the discrepancies we have encountered, we are forced to react irrationally so we do not have to face the inconsistency that begs to be corrected.

Add some painful and prolonged abuse and we can develop multiple personalities to help us avoid integrating the painful and undesirable and help us deal with what we are failing to deal with in our conscious minds, our intellect, although some of what we avoid integrating is due to its painful content. So let's list these first traits, having to do with our need to justify ourselves and what we do. Our purpose is to integrate all our behaviors into a consistent unifying whole so that we can accomplish what we set out to do by being unified in our goals and actions. Any contradiction or disparity could cause us to sabotage our own efforts.

All humans try to integrate, harmonize, and make sense of their beliefs, actions, and behaviors

All humans will naturally resist integration when it conflicts or contradicts our previous knowledge or forces us to deal with painful or fearful things or threatens our ego

All humans will suffer when they resist integration and proper resolution

Self Examination Is Important
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But what if we do have conflicting beliefs or actions that do not support or take us in the same direction as our other more important beliefs? Well, humans could, as I said just shortly before, change their behavior to match their goals and beliefs. But often we have conflicts, even in our goals and agenda. We might like to be nice and honorable to all, but then again, that woman over there looks real good and if I lied to her, I might get her into bed. But then I would betray my own values. Are my values bad or do I have conflicting desires?

Well, I have to make a decision, don't I? Do I change my values or do I change my behavior, in this case, limiting my behavior? What will be the basis of my decision? Will I change my values so I can pursue the woman? Or are my values good and I need to hold back my pursuit of her unless I am honest and up front with my intentions and desires? Which one I choose may not be an intellectual process at all. If I decide to lie to her and tell her what she wants to hear so as to get her in bed, it may be because I want that more than I want to uphold my values. So how will I reconcile my values with my actions?

I could acknowledge to myself that I am a lousy person who is not living up to my own standards or those handed down to me. Maybe I could rationalize that those standards weren't that good to begin with. Maybe sex is good and this woman should not be so uptight. It is her fault that she can't just do it for the sake of pleasure. This is my nature and how I evolved. I am just being me. Or maybe it is not such a big deal that I even lie. Its just sex. Its no big deal. Of course, to her it might be a very big deal. But that is another story.

Or maybe I could say that despite my wanting this real bad, it is just not the right thing to do without being honest. There are any number of ways that I could look at this, and many spins that I could put on it. The logical side may truly be convinced that lying and using people is not good behavior that will bring good things to a society. Lying starts here but could end up being much worse in another situation. But that doesn't mean that I will see that or want to see that. In the end, this tug of war could be between what I want and what I believe or which I want more, the right behavior or the sexual reward.

Many people in a situation like this will go through some interesting mental gymnastics in order to justify the sexual reward and still believe they have maintained a justifiable code of ethics and values that are in harmony with their actions in this case. But clearly, there is a conflict of interest here. It takes a great deal of courage to be able to look at a situation and admit that despite our most ardent desires, we should not do what we are contemplating in our heads. This takes a very strong sense of principle, and a willingness to deny what are often just basic drives and desires. This could be said to be courage. Moral courage to deny ourselves for the sake of higher principles.

In our lives, we have inherited a lot from a lot of people. Our ethics, codes, morals, beliefs, customs, culture, race, nationality, laws, philosophy, political persuasion, attitudes, outlook, and more. We get it from our parents, our schools and teachers, our TV, our neighbors, our leaders, our employers, our friends, from books and who knows where else. But with so many different varieties and combinations of those things from just within our own race and locale, how can we be sure we go the right combination of those things? It would be ridiculous to assume that we do. So do we keep it all and defend it all to our deaths, or are we willing to examine it all and see if it measures up to good sound reasoning?

Well, it has been the hallmark of Western Society, perhaps at least starting with Greece, that we question what has been handed down to us and make sure it is right or find something better. Greeks tossed ideas back and forth until each one has what they thought was right and best. But not all Greeks did this and, in fact, I would say that few actually do a lot of that. We all might change a few things but much of what we got we will keep, without a lot of question. We do this because we love and we trust. But love and trust are not logical choices, they are emotional choices of comfort, based on deep instinctual psychological needs.

Our choices and decisions could be motivated by this taking what we inherited for granted, or it could be because of things that happened to us when we were young and impressionable. Maybe a woman was sexually raped and used as a child. As a result, she might be very cautious and afraid of men in general. That would be perfectly understandable. She may also find conflicting emotions and needs as she might still have some desire for intimacy with a man and enjoy a relationship with him. She may spend the rest of her life trying to come to grips with these conflicting emotions and desires/ fears.

Some will not be able to over come the emotional intuitive mind that irrationally fears all things male and to do with men. Or it may be that she works out the fear, relies on her thinking ability and slowly overcomes enough fear and possibly hatred, to have a meaningful relationship with a man. But any event like this can make it very difficult to make rational sense of what happened and to make sound judgements after that.

We all carry lots of burdens and scars from our past. Maybe small, maybe big. But in each one of us, these scars will challenge us in our efforts to pursue objective truth and find those things that will work to our best advantage and enable us to successfully achieve what we are pursuing, if we are pursuing anything at all. The lesson here is that we will try to justify what we do or what we are, and will seldom question those things.

It is our natural tendency to justify and defend what we are and what we do.

Ego and Pride
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Now comes the next thing that will challenge every human on earth. It is related to no. 2. We all create and hold an image or concept of who we are. We call it ego. It is almost always a good flattering image and concept of ourselves. We are all smart, witty, charming, successful, etc. We will go to great lengths to protect this wonderful image of ourselves. Some will go to almost any length to protect or maintain this image.

The most painful or dangerous time will be when our image of who we imagine we are, is threatened or harmed. People have literally killed others when this image was attacked or threatened. Some are fearful or get scared when the image is threatened. Some get angry or mean. Some go into denial and won't acknowledge that their image is questionable or needs repair and change. And then some rare people will correct their image and make it more realistic and honest in the face of new evidence. Some will try to maintain a realistic image at all times.

Keeping a realistic image is good because when trying to do or accomplish something, you will need an honest accurate appraisal of what is involved and what it will take. You will need to know whether you have what it takes or do not. If you do, you might decide not to attempt what you wanted to do or you will go out and get what you need to get the job done. Maybe you need more knowledge or more skill. Maybe just more patience. But with honest accurate information, good results can be obtained. But if you have a false image of yourself and attempt to do something you are not really capable of, you could end up failing or even dying. So honesty, when it comes to ego, is usually the best policy. What we want to remember here is that people will try to maintain an image of themselves, whether it is realistic or not.

Now I have met people who have an enormous and extremely distorted ego, blown out of all proportion. They imagine they are the most brilliant people in the world, matched by none. They believe you should automatically and easily recognize their superiority to you or anyone else. And if you do not recognize their greatness, they will get very angry. They will dispute anything  you say so that they can remain superior, at least in their own mind. These are very sick individuals. They call this condition Megalomania, related to egomania. Megalo meaning really big, deluded, really.

Where does this superiority derive from? What is its basis? Usually, there is none. They want to be superior but without reason. They likely felt very powerless at some time in their life and continue to. They are desperate for attention and recognition. They cope by placing themselves so far up above everyone else and then fight bitterly to prove to themselves that they really are superior. But deep inside, they suspect it might not be, which is very scary to them.

My opinion is that megalomaniacs are very disturbed and very dangerous, on the level of a psycopath. Have nothing to do with them and get as far away from them as you can. To me, its a form of psychosis, though Psyches do not like you playing with their definitions. But megalomaniacs are so deluded that it can only be defined as psychosis from my view. Megalomania is common among the elite, the wealthy and the powerful. They imagine they are so superior to us. But for what reason? Their money? Their power? Their status or celebrity? None of these confers superiority. Greater skill and morals might. They don't have those. They only have their desire to be seen and believed as superior. They believe they should be privileged. But they have no real reason for it. But it does justify treating lesser people as of no account and with no rights due to them.

All people have an image of themselves and will attempt to maintain and protect it.

How Do We Cope?
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Now comes coping strategies. Each of us will be confronted with many painful things in our lifetimes. We will be hurt in any number of ways. Each of us will try to cope with the pains and traumas we incur in our own unique individual ways. Some will try to think and reason it all out and make some sense of it all. Others will let the automatic pilot take over and allow our gut intuitive side to guide us through it. Some of us will try to avoid future pain. Some of us will try to overcome future obstacles and pain. Some will just give up and crumble inside and become addicts of some sort. Some will even choose suicide.

What I find interesting are those who go into denial. They will make themselves oblivious to the painful or ugly things of life. It will become very important for them to only see the good, the pleasant, the nice, the rosy and the wonderful. They do not want to see or hear or confront anything bad or scary. They will run from or deny anything like that. It is a coping mechanism. The only problem is that it can be a very dangerous one.

To not see danger signs or dangerous people can literally put your life in jeopardy. To not see the negative implications of something can make you vulnerable to it. This is especially where courage is needed. People who are afraid of reality want to run from it. But only great courage can overcome such fear. And we all have good reason for fear. But it is never wise to allow ourselves to be ruled by fear. Fear does not produce much good. It usually paralyzes and inhibits and prevents us from accomplishing much.

But nevertheless, people will go to great lengths to avoid seeing what they do not want to see, whether out of trying to protect the ego, avoid fear, or justify some actions that conflicts with other aspects of themselves or their beliefs. So we need to recognize that people have a strong tendency to want to avoid certain facts or deny that they even exits. We will call this the denial factor!

People have the common tendency to avoid reality as a means of protection.

Self Deception
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Now this tendency to avoid reality or the truth can take great extremes. In initial stages, avoiding certain things can cause depression which can paralyze until it is confronted and resolved. Many people suffer from depression partly because of avoiding dealing with certain issues or facts in their lives that need confronting and resolving. Some people will get angry and mean when they are confronted by what they do not want to know or are trying to avoid. Maybe they have done something really stupid which threatens their image of themselves as smart and capable. They may lash out at others around them or point fingers at others who really are not to blame. Some will get nearly hysterical or emotionally out of control, fearing that, which is attempting to confront them. Some will find some clever rationalization to explain away that, which they fear. Then a rare few will just accept the obvious, and take the dose of reality on the chest. But for those who don't, they could be harming themselves and preventing further personal, professional, or social progress.

In more extreme forms, fears can become phobias, which often take a fear and redirect it in another area where reality will be effectively blocked off and diverted. Or it could turn into paranoia. These are forms of neurosis, which creates constant struggles to maintain reasonable functionality and utility in the real world. And then there is the step into a fantasy world of complete insanity known as psychosis, where reality becomes grossly distorted or lost altogether and the person needs others to care for them at that point.

Now I am going to cover the scariest scenario of all. When one knows something is not right but will argue or pursue it anyway, having a deliberate intention to commit fraud or harm to others. Deceit and treachery are good words to describe such things. These usually come out in the wash if good sound methods and procedures are observed. The lies they put forth are usually not to hard to overcome. But if procedures and methods are not observed, the lies, treachery, and deceit can be deadly. But in this case, unlike all the others, the motive is clearly malicious. In the others, if may just be fear or self-preservation that motivates them. It can be harmful, too, but it may not be intended to be harmful.

People can be deliberately deceitful and treacherous for personal gain.

We have examined a number of ways in which poor sloppy mental hygiene can harm a person or hold them back. We are going to explore ways in which to help weed out the bad beliefs and decisions and purify our mental processes so we can make some good sense of the issues coming up. And we can learn how to show others these good mental habits that come to us by means of the scientific and judicial methods that come down to us through the Western Tradition inspired by the Greeks some 2600 years ago, approximately.

Psychology's Wrong Turn
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I want to ponder just a little bit more before moving on. It has always been fascinating how large a part of our lives poor mental hygiene plays a part in. Yet, I rarely see it addressed in modern psychology. I see a lot of things about how evolution plays a part in our behavior as if we could do nothing about how we behave and how it is only natural. I see little talk about right or wrong, or what might be the wisest course or most advantageous course in improving our lives.

What I especially find most amusing are the psychological tests, polls, and questionnaires performed or taken by a person to determine a person's level of mental health or affinities or aptitudes. Given people's inclination toward self deception, denial, or at least distortion, those tests, questionnaires, and the like, are all kind of suspect in my mind. For what good is a test when the person may not be giving accurate answers, even though they imagine them to be accurate? It seems like kind of a joke to me and brings into question the validity of psychology.

To be sure, it is no easy thing to judge or estimate exactly what a person is or necessarily why. But to take polls and then make assumptions based on how people answered seems foolhardy. There needs to be far more research done on how people deceive themselves and much a part that plays in their day to day lives. How many problems does it cause in a marriage? How does it affect us at work? At home? In the community or at church? How does it impact our political choices? I really don't see a lot of this answered. I am not so sure they want to answer it. If we solved it all, then no one would need to pursue therapy at $75 to $150 an hour. We need other ways to evaluate people which can the be matched up with what they say to see how much of a deception factor might be present. That is done in extremes such as a test for schizophrenia. But in the day to day ways, I think they are scared to ask because patients would be scared to know and do not want to know and will try to avoid knowing.

You recall that I mentioned earlier, psychology has never focused on wisdom or logic. I feel this has been their greatest mistake. Many of us are screwed up because our parents never gave us any good answers, guidance, or wisdom. Our heart, our minds, our bodies, our souls, all cry out for wisdom, guidance, and instruction, most of which do not readily proceed from our parents. But psychology fears proclaiming or even questioning what wisdom might purport to be or what might be right or wrong and why. We need to question our core knowledge and see if it truly offers us any benefit. I believe philosophy, the love and passionate pursuit of wisdom, is truly our best chance at salvation or healing. It would also be the world's best chance at being a decent world.

After all, if a person comes to you as a therapist, and says they want help, but what they, the patient, really wants, is self affirmation, are you going to give them what they say they want or what they really want? If you want them to keep coming back, you better give them what they really want. If you tell them the truth and try to force them to see what they need to see but do not want to see, they will not likely return and you will need another job that probably pays a lot less. There is damn good money in telling people what they want to hear, and not what they need to hear. But if we did tell them what they need to hear, what might also happen? So it is my opinion that most psychologists tickle our ears, as do teachers, religious leaders, politicians, and philosophers. These are false shepherds, wolves in sheep's clothing.

Further, people might not be as easily manipulated by advertisers and merchandisers if told the truth more often. Employers might struggle in trying to use us. Politicians might find it harder to herd and manipulate us. We might have a harder job of exploiting and using each other. We might become harder to lead and manage as others would like and be more like what we ourselves like or want to be. We might start to guide and direct ourselves instead of being led as sheep. Yes, there are many problems presented by solutions. Nevertheless, I believe they are worth pursuing.

But I did want to point out what I feel is a great shortcoming of psychology. I intend to use it later on to highlight certain things. Meanwhile, we will pursue the use and value of methods of examination that will enable us to recognize when theories being offered by religion or anything else, have validity and when they do not. When they don't, we might want to figure out what is wrong with the process so as to be able to correct it if we choose, or at least prevent it from contaminating our pursuit of truth in regards to matters of science and religion. Knowledge is always power and the more power we all have the better. To know is to be forearmed and prepared. The scriptures themselves tell us to be armed with the armor and weapons of God, which are the knowledge, wisdom and understanding of God to over turn thoughts and ideas. Ignorance is never bliss. It should be fought and avoided at all cost.

So as you go through life, keep this psychology factor in mind as you deal with people and ask yourself if what they are suggesting or saying is coming from logic, or is it coming from irrational feelings that have not been explored or dealt with by the person. You might be surprised by what you find. But do not miss the opportunity to also apply it to yourself and see if your ideas can all be logically and reasonably supported by good sound evidence and reasoning or if they appear to have no such support. If they do not, you might want to have another look at them and more carefully consider them.

The 7 Obstacles to Truth
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Now let us list all the pitfalls together and remember them for future use. They are the things that can interfere with the honest objective pursuit of truth. Truth can be otherwise described as the most accurate or advantageous (in the long term for the whole race) understanding, closest to God's mind.

1. All humans try to integrate, harmonize, and make sense of their beliefs, actions, and behaviors.

2. All humans will naturally resist integration when it conflicts or contradicts our previous knowledge or forces us to deal with painful or fearful things.

3. All humans will suffer when they resist integration and/or proper resolution of conflicts.

4. It is our natural tendency to justify and defend what we are and what we do.

5. All people have an image of themselves and will attempt to maintain and protect it.

6. People have the common tendency to avoid reality as a means of protection.

7. People can be deliberately deceitful and treacherous for personal gain/justification.

The only way to overcome these obstacles of the flesh is a desire to please God, and therefore, be willing to find bad in ourselves and change it in order to please God. In short, it will take a lot of personal courage in order to make improvements in ourselves, refining ourselves for God, who will surely reward those who make these efforts.

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