Holding false beliefs concerning the nature of reality creates bias in the mind against 'common sense' - that collective understanding of the nature of reality that can be demonstrated to be true. This has always been a primary flaw of institutional religion. Once the world is demonstrated to be something other than the dogma seen in scripture, those who continue to believe scripture become at odds with reality, to the detriment of themselves and society.
Evangelical Christianity and fundamentalist sects of Islam teach their followers that in order to understand the nature of reality - and therefore one's own spiritual experiences - one must first understand the Bible or Quran as "God's Words". Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims both believe the Bible and Quran are literally books authored by God - wholly inspired texts that contain no error or falsehood.
This singular religious belief, more than any other religious belief, has the power to transform a rational minded person endowed with common sense into an irrational one - from a sound minded individual, into a disturbingly delusional one.
An altered state of consciousness induced by embracing a 'false belief' crucial to one's understanding of reality.
Side effects include:
1. Inaccurate perceptions of reality.
2. Diminished ability for sound reasoning.
3. Mistrust / fear of those not holding the false belief.
4. Strong mental bias for thoughts supporting the false belief.
5. Strong mental bias against thoughts opposing the false belief.
Below are seven Common Sense Interpretations of sayings attributed to Jesus in the New Testament. These interpretations are strictly forbidden in fundamentalist Christian churches. (Those churches which teach members to believe the Bible speaks only as the voice of truth, without falsehood or contradiction)
Common sense interpretations in red - followed by the New International translation in italic.
1. Mark 4:24-25
Be careful if you attempt to interpret sayings attributed to me. The reasoning you use will be the measure of your success, and even more. Those who have sound reasoning embrace rational assumptions which leads to more understanding. Those who do not have sound reasoning embrace irrational assumptions which leads to diminished understanding.
NIV -"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."
2. Matthew 23:15
Trouble awaits you who teach that scripture is God's word. You self-deluded. You travel land and sea to win a single convert, and when you find one, you make them twice as delusional as you yourselves have become.
NIV - "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
3. Matthew 6:22-23
How you see the world, your understanding, illuminates the conscious mind. If your understanding of reality is correct your conscious mind becomes full of insights. If your understanding of reality is wrong your conscious mind becomes full of fallacies. Embracing a fallacy as you would an insight makes the mind delusional.
NIV - "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
4. Matthew 5:29-30
If your understanding of God confuses or disturbs you, better to approach life without an understanding of God than have your mind cast into torment or delusion. If your first hand spiritual experience confuses or disturbs you, it is better to discount or reinterpret that spiritual experience than have your mind cast into torment or delusion.
NIV - If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
5. Mark 3:22-29
Prominent religious scholars explained, This man dispels demons by Satan's power. So Jesus called them and answered using symbolic language: How can a delusion be dispelled by falsehood? Theology that is irrational has no solid foundation. Minds governed by irrational theology are unstable. If a falsehood is shown to be irrational it loses its power to delude the mind. The fact is a rational person's mind can't be robbed of its sanity unless it first becomes bound by delusion. The truth you need to know is this: The psychological consequences of any sin can be alleviated. But while one holds a false belief concerning the nature of God the psychological consequences of that belief remain.
NIV - And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons." So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man's house. Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin."
6. Matthew 5:17-20
Don't assume I intend to abolish scripture. I don't intend to abolish scripture. I intend to fulfill scripture's apocalyptic expectations. Because the truth is until scripture's apocalyptic expectations are met, those who have become delusional by believing scripture will never be free of even the smallest or absurd details of the law. So, whether you practice and teach scripture's wisdom or reject it you can attain a certain measure of lasting peace accordingly. But unless your intellectual integrity exceeds that of those who believe and teach that scripture is God's Word, you certainly won't find any measure of lasting peace.
NIV - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
7. Matthew 10:34-36
Do not imagine that I come to bring peace to this earth. I am offering wisdom that refutes the authority of scripture. This will inevitably set family members against family members, and make you an enemy to some who share your religious heritage.
NIV - "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law and a man's enemies will be those of his own household."
Note: (For those interested in further reference) Below are 9 common sense translations of a few of the metaphors used in New Testament sayings that are attributed to Jesus.
1. Eye - 'One's understanding'
2. Body - 'One's conscious mind'
3. House - 'One's subconscious mind'
4. Kingdom - 'A collectively shared worldview'
5. Son of Man - 'Humanity or the individual' (depending on context)
6. Demon - 'A delusion'
7. Devil/Satan - 'A falsehood - Mind controlled by falsehood'
8. Hell - 'A state of delusion leading to mental and physical torment'
9. Heaven - 'An enlightened worldview leading to lasting peace'
Embracing the fallacy that the Bible or Quran are ‘God’s Words’ - that these books contain no falsehood - has made countless Christians, Jews and Muslims unwittingly delusional. No mind retains the ability to read and judge these books soberly after embracing as ‘insight’ a belief that the books contain no falsehood. Once this belief is embraced the desire to have all scripture remain truth prevails in one's mind. Fear of scripture often becomes the norm for the uneducated who embrace this belief.
Each generation ‘God’s Word’ scholar reinterprets end times myths to fit current events and develops any tortured logic necessary to remain blind to the many falsehoods and contradictions found in these texts. Less fortunate victims find themselves ‘struck down’ by ‘God’s Word’ after hearing some troubling passage; their minds seized by fear that God is judging them. These then become at risk for serious mental illness.
This fallacy is the root of all religious conflict. It strips people of their ability to reason soundly and inspires self-fulfilling fatalistic worldviews. The sociopath utilizes this belief to seize control of government and maintain systems of oppression.
Resist the temptation to embrace this fallacy when seeking insight into your own spiritual experiences.