For the past few days I have been thinking about the type of dishonesty we see in so many religious believers. I find it difficult to find a comparable type of dishonest thinking elsewhere in life. Last night I was musing over a Facebook message I read in reply to comments I made about atheists celebrating Christmas. The comment seemed to be the result of anti atheist bigotry.
As I was falling asleep I tried to imagine the commenter going about his daily life. I wondered how he would fare if he was on a jury. In his case it might never happen since I'm sure he is not registered to vote.Potential jurors are selected from the voters list where I live. The commenter's particular cult takes no part in politics.
It struck me that religious fundamentalists are like jurors in a murder trial. They hear testimony on the first day of the trial that points to the defendant being guilty. They feel that a guilty verdict is the right one to deliver.
For example, if the evidence on the first day showed that the defendant knew the victim and had recently had a physical altercation with him. There was a witness who claimed to have seen the defendant leave the victim's residence around the time of the murder. The police found traces of the victim's blood in the defendant's vehicle and on some clothing in his laundry basket. The defendant owned a knife similar to the one used to kill the victim.
On the following days they hear testimony that clearly points to the defendant being innocent.The defence lawyer produces a surveillance video that shows the defendant in a town far from the scene of the crime at the time of the murder. The defendant's credit card shows a purchase made in
the distant town. The store has a receipt with his signature as well as the testimony of the clerk who can identify the defendant.
In light of this new testimony the jury decides to find him guilty anyway. Only the earlier testimony is seriously considered. Any evidence that challenges or refutes their initial conclusion is dismissed or
I'm sure any trial with this outcome would cause outrage inside and outside of the justice system. This is exactly the kind of thinking we see in religious fundamentalists and they are applauded for clinging to an obviously incorrect analysis of the evidence.
Perhaps we might get some of them to realize their error in reasoning if we point them to this analogy.