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Doublethink

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Posted by Mario Dovalina on April 9, 2001 20:19:17 UTC

Doublethink is a term from Orwell's 1984 that I think is especially interesting here. What it is, essentially, is consciously using one held opinion or fact to block out another consciously held opinion or fact. Here's the gist of an "argument" between me and a Catholic that, if representative of the religious community at large, is terrifying.

Me: How can you claim that Christianity has the truth? The only reason you think that is because you were raised Christian. You could just as easily have been raised a Muslim, or a Shinto, or anything.

Her: Yes, Muslims and Shintos are right in their own minds.

Me: But since you hold a view different from them, you think them wrong.

Her: No, I think I'm right and so do they. They are correct in their own minds.

Me: So are you admitting that your religious beliefs are potentially wrong?!

Her: No, I think I'm right.

Me: If you think you're right, you must logically think that anyone who disagrees with you is wrong.

Her: No, they're right in their own minds.

Me: Then, by extension, your conviction is equally as subjective as others'.

Her: No, I think Christianity is right.


That was, bar none, the most cyclic and frustrating argument I have ever been in. She held the opinion that religion was subjective to the individual, but held the exact opposite opinion that Christianity was the one true religion, and then she used one to block out the other in the same discussion. Argh. I wonder how many people actively do this, it implies a subconscious insecurity about one's beliefs.

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