The ex-Christian pastor Jerry deWitt says that faith is pretending to believe.

Do you think so?

I've never understood how someone comes to accept an elaborate doctrine.  I can see why people think there's a supernatural entity, because of their own experience. 

But I don't see how someone has an intense emotional experience in the context of Catholicism, say - and then comes to believe all sorts of detailed doctrine, about saints and miracles etc. etc. 

Christopher Hitchens said that he'd talked to lots of Christians and with many of them, he couldn't figure out what if anything they believed.  They weren't willing to be explicit I guess. 

I wonder how much religious people pretend to believe, using the human facility for role-playing, for acting and for art to convey something that deep down, they don't believe. 

"Fake it till you make it" as the motto of entire communities. 

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I follow...I just didn't understand the depth of their pretense/belief till I read that.  Of course, it helps to be surrounded by fellow pretenders.

It sounds like a childlike state of mind, invoking authority and one's sense of the sacred, and the happiness of feeling loved.  Something that people might come to question as they grow up. 

Some may pretend to believe in doctrine, others were brought up in it so forcefully that it becomes their whole reality. They in turn set out to bring others into it, usually forcefully, and demonize any that do not ascribe to their flavor of dogma.

I seriously think that there is something in the DNA that heavily influences whether any one individual will be succeptable to religious faith.  Like a dimmer switch that is set during gestation.  Obviously, it's possible to distance yourself from an indoctrinated faith over time, but some people (like myself) have no capacity to accept it from the beginning, no matter how intensive the indoctrination period is.

I was raised in a Protestant family, forced to go to church every Sunday until highschool - a Jesuit one, and never once did I ever have an inclination to believe what was being fed to me. 

I distincly remember a time in Sunday school as a grade school aged child, where I had continually thought everything that was being said in church and Sunday school was pure bullshit, but I played along anyways thinking it was some game where we were all pretending to believe the unbelievably ridiculous stories.  My dog had just died, and I asked the Sunday school teacher if I will see her in heaven (still thinking we were playing this freaky game), and she said "no, heaven is only for people."  I was pissed!  I was like "if you want me to play along then you need to come up with better answers than that!  My dog just died, and you're describing this awesome make believe place called heaven that we're all going to end up at if we're good, and all my relatives will be there waiting for me, but dogs aren't even fucking allowed?!  I want to see my dog more than I want to spend forever with aunt Mable - she smells funny and she's really boring."  (I may have not used the expletive, but it sounds better that way.)  I was honestly shocked when I found out that this wasn't a game, and these people were incomprehensibly different from me.

I seriously think that there is something in the DNA that heavily influences whether any one individual will be succeptable to religious faith. 

I was much more inclined to think in religious terms when I was eating gluten.  It had a lot of psychological effects on me, most of which could be seen as a kind of mixing - blending together different parts of the mind.  Like my inner reality of feelings appearing in my vision.  One might guess that I had more of some neurotransmitter when eating gluten. 

This mixing of thoughts is a gift in some ways, like lateral thinking in creativity.

It would be interesting to look at religion in areas of the world where the traditional diet was gluten-free vs. having gluten. 

Lots of gluten in the Middle East, and a very religious area! 

That's an interesting angle.  The only person I know that is alergic to gluten is a student at Catholic University in DC.  She goes to great pains to avoid it now, due to how adversely it had affected her over the last few years leading up to the discovery of what the true cause of her ailments was.  I don't really see her losing her religion over the altered diet though, but I don't know her all that well either.

A funny twist I forgot to mention in my own story above (true story btw) - when I recently related it to an evangelical I was debating with, he claimed that it was sad that the Sunday school teacher caused me to abandon Christianity with the false claim that pets aren't allowed into heaven.  It's amazing how galvanized they are over their twisted, conflicted beliefs, that he can't even grasp the simple details of the event.

There's certainly a lot more to people's religious beliefs than the biology of their brains.  And not everybody who has celiac disease has psychological/neurological effects from gluten.  Celiac disease is somewhat correlated with various psychiatric problems like manic depression and schizophrenia, though.  There was an article Novel Immune Response to Gluten in Individuals with Schizophrenia that found that gluten-sensitive schizophrenics had a different immune reaction to gluten than people with celiac disease do. 

I had a very intense inner life, very intense feelings and slightly visionary vision, when I was eating gluten, and one can see that an intense inner life and visionary tendencies would promote religiousness.  I got much less reactive after I quit.  It's a lot easier to live without huge waves of emotion so often, carrying me to various inner places. 

faith is pretending to believe for sure.  why is it that so many can stop with faith and don't question positions that lack any evidence.  I don't get it.  I have faith in science (i.e. medicine being able to cure me much better than pray).

Faith is a subjective emotion, belief is a subjective action. I disagree with Jerry DeWitt in this context, even though he was a minister.

I was raised Pentecostal for all my childhood and teen years, until I finally, in my early to mid 20's, renounced my faith, my belief.

It isn't pretending to believe, so much as believing in the pretend.

A lot of people do really believe in Christ, in miracles, in healing, in eternity, in god. But it's mainly because they haven't understood that we need to question our beliefs and ask if they have any validity.

And a lot of people misunderstand and think theists are faking it because they have not had the experience of believing without question.

I think faith is wrong, and their method of drawing a conclusion is wrong, but I don't think a lot of them are faking it. I certainly wasn't, and now I'm a full blown atheist and anti-theist. It's all about whether you were taught what to think, or taught how to think.
I think that faith and following church doctrine are 2 different things. There are people who have blind faith and never go to church, and there are those that go to church because their parents did but have no real faith. I can understand saying that chuch-goers might be pretending to believe, but I don't think that equates to 'faith'.

faith.. more often than not is a cover for criminally attained $$$$$$$$$cya

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