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The Tenacity of Unreasonable BeliefsFundamentalism and the Fear of Truth$

Solomon Schimmel

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195188264

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195188264.001.0001

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(p.275) Index

(p.275) Index

Source:
The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
AAR (American Academy of Religion), 5
Aaron, 132
Abrams, Steve, 217
abrogation doctrine, Koran, 144, 149, 241n4
Abu Zayd, Nasr Hamid, 145
acquisition process, religious beliefs, 168–171
Acts, 130, 131
Adam and Eve, 84, 86
adultery, 5, 142, 249n21
affirmation vs. content understanding, religious beliefs, 178–179, 255n8
Aish HaTorah, 44, 79–80, 81, 120, 191–192
Ali, Abdullah Yussuf, 164, 250n35
American Academy of Religion (AAR), 5
anthropic principle, 69–71
anti‐Semitism, 31, 60–61
AOJS (Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists), 67
apostasy penalty, Muslim world, 136, 149, 246n3, 253n60
Aquinas, Thomas, 21–22, 180
Aristotle, 152
Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists (AOJS), 67
authority, 112–114, 183, 203, 240n93
author's journey, loss of belief, overview, 7–15
Averroes, 22
Aviezer, Nathan, 69, 70–71
Azande tribe, 175–184
baalei teshuva, defined, 233n8
Banished from Their Father's Table (Mintz), 9–10, 54
Barr, James, 104, 106, 107–108, 241n9, 244n38
Bayme, Steven, 87–88
belief statements, meanings of, 42
The Bible with Sources Revealed (Friedman), 40
biblical inerrancy doctrine
all vs. nothing approach, 114, 183
authority argument compared, 92, 239n87
divine authorship proof, 109–114, 242n18
elements of, 101–103
interpretation approaches, 103–105, 241n6
literalist vs. nonliteralist inconsistency, 105–108, 151
in resurrection argument, 115, 121–122
as scriptural fundamentalism characteristic, 4, 229n1
(p.276) birth control and poverty, 261n2
Bowen, J., 231n11
Bowering, Gerhard, 247n6
Boyer, Pascal, 122, 168–169, 195
brain‐based proof of divine authorship of Koran, 163–164, 254n75
Breuer, Mordechai, 48, 52
A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, 151–152, 154, 163–164
Carmy, Shalom, 234n9
Catholic Church, 221, 261n2
Catholicism, 51, 54
Centrist Orthodoxy. See Torah U'Madda community
Chait, Israel, 191–192
Cherry, Shai, 71–72
Christian biblical fundamentalism
inerrancy doctrine, 101–115
resurrection belief, 115–123
snake‐handling sects, 123–133
Civil War, 218
clarity argument, biblical inerrancy doctrine, 102–105
Clifford, W. K., 188
club invitation thought experiment, 185–187
codes, hidden, 81, 120
cognitive dissonance resolution, 171–175
cognitive restructuring, components
discrediting of contradictions, 210
selective attention, 204–209
selective evaluation, 211
selective interpretation, 209–210
Commentary on the Pentateuch (Hertz), 244n38
commonsense realism, 216–217
communism, 32, 41, 168
community
assimilation fears, 61–63, 83, 261n6
in disconfirmation resolution, 175, 180–181
and loss of faith, 9, 13, 56–59
religion benefit claim, 169
complementary (alternative) medicine comparison, 240n93
consolation claim, religion, 169
contradiction resolution, approaches
attitudes to truth, 193–201
cognitive restructuring, 201–211
exegesis method, 149, 250n37, 255n3
See also cognitive entries; disconfirmations, resolution processes
conversion, 170–171
Copernican paradigm shift comparison, 90
Craig, William Lane, 116–118, 120–122, 244n38
creation science movement, 214–220, 260n49
creation story
Christian fundamentalism, 107–108
and motives for denial of Creator, 95–96
Orthodox Judaism, 68–73, 84–87, 237n56
cross‐referencing in biblical exegesis, 103
curiosity satisfaction claim, religion, 169
Dagi, Theo, 257n29, 258n32
Dawkins, Richard, 224
death penalties, 5, 31
Deconchy, Jean‐Pierre, 51
defense mechanisms, TMS affirmation, 59–64
defundamentalizing strategies, ethical arguments, 222–228, 253n59
democracy and Islamic fundamentalism, 141–143, 154–156, 248n19, 249n22
demons (jinn), in Koran, 144–145
Dennett, Daniel, 178–179, 255n8
Deuteronomy, 103, 258n33
disconfirmations, resolution processes, 171–185
Azande tribe, 175–177
belief modification, 170, 255n3
mechanisms of, 177–184, 211
proselytizers, 171–175
Discovery Institute, 243n22
Discovery Seminars, 79–80, 81, 191–192
discrediting of contradictions, in cognitive restructuring, 210
dispensationalism, 104, 215
divine authorship assertions. See biblical inerrancy doctrine; Koran; Torah to Moses at Sinai
(p.277) divine planner arguments, 69–71, 237n55, n57
divine revelation. See revelation
documentary hypothesis, 47–48, 52, 89–90, 239n85
doubt, research potential, 233n5
Ecclesiastes, 11, 129
Edah, 44–45
education
evolution‐creation story conflicts, 71, 72–73
heretics lack of, assumption, 95
impact of TMS affirmation, 64–65, 80, 89–90, 189–190
Ehrman, Bart, 116, 118–122, 244n38, 245n39
embryology‐based proof for divine authorship of Koran, 152–153, 156–157
emotional motives, TMS adherence, 43–44, 50–52
Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an, 247n6
Epstein, Barukh HaLevi, 80
error assumption, in reasoning, 20–21
Esther, Book of, 87
Evans‐Pritchard, E. E., 175–177, 183
evidence challenge questions, TMS affirmation, 93–97
evidentialism, 187–190
evil impulses accusation, 95–96
evil rationalization, 221, 261n2
evolution
and Christian fundamentalism, 107–108
creation science movement, 214–220, 260n49
fossil planting by God argument, 49
fundamentalisms’ commonalities, 150–151
Muslim fundamentalism, 150–151
and Orthodox Judaism, 68–73, 84–87
exclusivity arguments, 28, 29–31, 33, 247n10, 254n62
existential meaning
and certainty, 91
in exclusivity argument, 33
religion benefit argument, 169, 211–212
as TMS adherence motive, 53–54, 56
Exodus, 34–36, 132
Explaining Religion (Boyer), 122
Fadl, El, 155–156, 253n56
faith
meanings of, 17–18
and mitzvot observance, 76
motives of skeptics when analyzing, 26–27
personal experience argument, 24–26
and reason, 21–23, 66–67, 234n9
and revelation, 90–91
family
and author's loss of faith, 6–7, 9, 10–11
loss fears, 56–58
fear incentives
Koran adherence, 136–139
TMS adherence, 50, 51–59, 235n22
Feierberg, M. Z., 57
Feinstein, Moses, 71
Feldman, Aharon, 254n68
Festinger, Leon, 171–175
ffb (frum from birth), defined, 233n8
Flew, Anthony, 116, 117, 243n21
flood stories, 209–210
forehead‐based proof for divine authorship of Koran, 163–164, 254n75
fossils, divine planting hypothesis, 49, 73, 203
Fox, Marvin, 53, 188
free will
Koran, 146, 149
and neuropsychology, 73–75, 260n53
Friedman, Richard Elliott, 40
“Fundamentalism Reconsidered” (Sacks), 90–91
Gabriel, angel, in Koran, 135
gender distinctions, adultery, 142, 249n21
Genesis, 68–73, 85–86, 107, 151, 216
Genies (jinn), Koran, 144–145
geology‐based proof for divine authorship of Koran, 157
giving up beliefs. See loss of belief
God
description problem, 21, 182–183
as divine planner, 69, 237n55
faith's role in belief in, 17–18
Koran portrayals, 146–147, 250n35
in prayer outcome explanation, 177–178
(p.278)
reason's role in belief in, 20, 22–23
in resurrection argument, 115, 116–117, 120–121, 244n37
in acceptance of slavery, 205–206
in snake‐handling sect beliefs, 127–128, 129–132
Goldman, Eliezer, 76–77, 78
Gould, Stephen, 69–70
Grudem, Wayne, 101, 103, 108–109, 111–112
The Guide of the Perplexed (Maimonides), 21, 234n14
halakha observance
author's, 7, 12
and TMS adherence, 55, 76–78, 235n32, 258n33
Haleem, Abdel, 254n75
HaLevi, Yehuda, 35
Hardy, Thomas, 8
haredi Orthodox Jews
authority figure power, 51
categorized, 43–45
Harris, Jay, 229n1
hedge, in Ecclesiastes, 129
Heilman, Samuel, 229n1
Hell
in the Bible, 106
in the Koran, 146, 250n35
in theology, 208
Hensley, George Went, 123, 124–125
heresy, in club invitation comparison, 185–187
heresy fears, in scholarship opposition
and biblical inerrancy doctrine, 183
Islamic fundamentalism, 136, 247n4, 253n60
Orthodox Judaism, 47–48, 51–52, 63–64, 235n32
Hertz, J. H., 244n38
Hinde, Robert A., 42, 201, 222
Hinduism, 249n22
Hood, Ralph, 124, 127, 128–129
hostility claim as reason for critical Koranic scholarship, 139–140
how question, 3
How to Read the Bible (Kugel), 232n2
humility, 21, 23, 87, 91
Husik, Isaac, 20
Ibn Warraq, 135–136, 143–148
Ibrahim, A., 154, 157, 163, 252n54
identity
and belief persistence, 183, 207–208
and loss of faith, 9, 12–15, 230n14
Ijaz al Koran, 160–161
image of God concept and neuropsychology, 73–75
immorality fears, 56, 61, 236n35, 261n7, 356
inerrancy beliefs. See biblical inerrancy doctrine
inferential systems, acquisition of religious beliefs, 168–169
inimitability of Koran (Ijaz al Koran), 160–162
intellect. See reason
intellectual consequences, TMS affirmation, 64–66, 80–88, 189–190, 206–207, 257n26
intelligent design theory, 216, 243n22
interpretation approach, biblical inerrancy doctrine, 103–104, 241n6
interpretation tradition, Torah, 4–5, 77–78, 88–89, 92, 189–190, 239n87
In the Beginning (Potok), 239n85
intolerance theme, Muslim fundamentalists, 154–155
intratexuality, 124, 132–133, 245n45
irrational beliefs, defined, 40, 185
Islam
fundamentalism's threat, 141–143, 154–156, 248n19, 252n53
fundamentalist nature, 114, 229n1
and Judaism, 137, 138–139, 247nn9–10
origins, 135
Israel, 247n9
Jacob, 86
James, William, 98, 124, 188, 195
Job, 23, 128, 246n51
job loss fears, 58–59
Joshua, 105
Jouffroy (philosopher), 9, 54
Joyce, James, 8
Judaism and the Koran, 137, 138–139, 247n10
Jude the Obscure (Hardy), 8
(p.279) Ke'Ayal Ta'arog Al Afikey Mayim, 11–12
Kelemen, Lawrence, 59–60, 191–192, 204, 244n38, 259n39
Kent, Jack, 117, 243n21
Korah, 109
Koran
authorship arguments, 135–139, 143–150, 164–165
evolution explanations, 150–151
inimitability argument, 160–162
interpreter responsibilities, 253n56
morality violations in, 32
perfection defense, 161–163
reason's role, 151–152
scientific knowledge proofs, 152–154, 156–160, 163–164
Kraus, Lawrence, 217
Kugel, James, 232n2, 258n33
Kuzari proof, 34–36, 191–192
language and disconfirmation resolution, 181–183
legal systems, 142
Leibowitz, Yeshayahu, 77–78
Lester, Toby, 137
Levenson, Jon, 60–61, 238n76
Levy, Barry, 53, 58, 87, 235n18, 238n84
Lewis, Bernard, 229n1
Lilienblum, Moshe Leib, 59
literal vs. nonliteral inconsistency, biblical inerrancy doctrine, 105–108, 151
literature arguments
Koran, 143, 160–162
Torah, 48–50
loss of belief
author's journey, 7–15
avoidance motives, 52–59, 211–212
contributing factors, 212–213
Jouffroy's experience, 9
Susser's experience, 230n14
love motive, TMS adherence, 52
Luke, Gospel of, 128
Lukes, Steven, 40
Machalek, Richard, 233n5
magic, Azande belief systems, 175–184
Maimonides, 21, 46–47, 82–83, 182, 234n14
maintenance strategies, religious beliefs
cognitive restructuring, 204–211
flexible tradition factor, 201–204
truth attitudes, 193–201
Manji, Irshad, 253n60
Manzoor, S. Parvez, 139–140
Mark, Gospel of, 125, 127, 131, 246n47
Marsden, George, 214–215, 218–219, 260n49
medical knowledge proof for divine authorship of Koran, 152–154, 156–157, 158–160
mental illness of heretic argument, 96
Mesch, Barry, 240n90
midrashic method, 103
millenarianism and creation science movement, 215
Mintz, Alan, 9–10, 54
miracles
inconsistency of explanations of, 108
reason's uses, 29, 33–34
Resurrection belief, 115–123
stories told from childhood, explanation, 181
Mishna, 80
mitzvot observance, 76–77
modern Orthodoxy. See Torah U'Madda community
morality arguments
defundamentalizing strategies, 222–228, 253n156
evolution opposition, 217–218
in exclusivity argument, 31–33
in Koran authorship argument, 149
religion benefits, 169
snake‐handler sects, 124
TMS adherence, 56, 61, 98–99
Mormonism, 254n66
motives, TMS adherence, 50–52
MSPM (mutiple‐source post‐Mosaic hypothesis), defined, 39
mudghah stage, in Koran science proof, 153, 156–157, 253n60
Muhammad, 33, 135, 147, 148
Muslims, population statistics, 248n19
See also Islam; Koran
mutiple‐source post‐Mosaic hypothesis (MSPM), defined, 39
(p.280) Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, 80
Nahman, in Whither, 57, 96
Nahmanides, 84–86, 238n82
naturalistic perspective, religious beliefs, 27–28, 37, 140–141
neuropsychology, 73–75
New Scofield Reference Bible, 101–102, 103, 104
New Testament
in biblical inerrancy proof, 110–111
morality violations in, 31
in resurrection argument, 115–116, 117, 119–120, 244n38
snake‐handling sect beliefs, 125, 127, 128, 130, 131, 246n47
truth motive question, 244n35
Neziv, 80
Noahide laws, 114, 242n19
Nomani, Asra Q., 253n60
non‐manifestation of God and TMS, 76–77
obedience to God, 22–23, 77–78, 101–102
Ohr Somayach, 44
Old Testament
in biblical inerrancy proof, 109–110
snake‐handling sect beliefs, 128, 129, 132, 246n51
operant‐conditioning explanation, 179
oracles, Azande belief systems, 175–184
Oral tradition factor, 4–5, 77–78, 88–89, 189–190
origin stories, developments, 36, 232n21
Orthodox Judaism
categories of, 43–45, 233n8
proselytizers and disconfirmations, 171–175
Torah beliefs, 5–6, 39, 229n1
Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), 44
orthopraxy, defined, 209
ostracism fears, 53, 58–59
paranoid patient comparison, 97, 158
Patton, George S., 255n8
Paul, 110, 117, 130
penalties and punishment, 5, 31, 66, 236n49
Pentateuch, revelation belief
perfection argument for divine authorship of Koran, 161–163
Permission to Receive (Kelemen), 59–60, 244n38
personal experience argument
in biblical inerrancy proof, 111–112, 242n18
Koran, 162–163
in resurrection proof, 118, 243n32
revelation's validity, 24–26
snake‐handling sects, 126–127, 132–133
2 Peter, 110
petitionary prayer, outcome explanations, 177–179
Pharaoh, in Exodus, 132
Philosophy of Law (Strauss), 92
plane crash comparison, selective attention, 204–205
Plantinga, Alvin, 30
plausibility examination, reason's appropriateness, 41–42, 234n9
polytheism, Koran, 144–146, 149
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Joyce), 8
Potok, Chaim, 239n85
prayer
efficacy studies, 255n8
outcome explanations, 177–179
predestination, Koran, 146, 149
preemptive theology, 175
Presbyterian General Assembly, 218
proof process, science, 243n31
proselytization, and disconfirmations, 171–175
Protestant scholasticism and creation science movement, 215–216
psychoanalysis, 41, 123, 129
The Psychological Origins of the Resurrection Myth (Kent), 243n21
psychology of belief, investigation motives, 3, 5–7
reason
and beliefs, 19–21, 66–67, 158, 244n34
limitations of, 22–23, 64, 190–193
meanings of, 18–19
(p.281)
in miracles defense, 151–152
as plausibility examination tool, 41–42, 187–190
and revelation, 21–22, 23–26, 34–37, 48, 108
rebbe, power of, 51
rebellion motive, 6–7
religion courses, 143, 249n22
religious beliefs, generally
challenge arguments, 27–34
and evidence importance, 94, 240n90
faith's role, 17–18
functions of, 211–212, 259n43
and mitzvot observance, 76–78
motives of skeptics, 26–27, 106
personal experience argument, 24–26, 42–43
reason's role, 18–23, 244n34
resurrection belief, 101, 115–123, 244nn37–38, 245n39, 251n46
revelation
challenge arguments, 23–24, 28–31
and faith, 90–91
Koran, 147
and mitzvot observance, 76–78
reason's uses, 23–26, 34–37, 108, 234n9
as supplement to reason, 21–22, 48, 66–67
validity question for skeptics, 23–24
right‐wing orthodoxy. See haredi Orthodox Jews
risk‐aversion motive, TMS adherence, 50–52
Ross, Tamar, 202
Rushdie, Salman, 136
Saadia Gaon, 20
Sabbath violation penalty, Torah, 5
Sacks, Jonathan, 90–92, 229n1
sacrilege fear, TMS adherence, 55
See also heresy fears
Sagi, Avi, 78
Satanic Verses (Rushdie), 136
Saudi Arabia, 154, 252n53
Schacter, J. J., 238n76
Scherman, Nosson, 81–83, 84–87
scholarship resistance, overview, 250n26
See also specific topics, e.g., democracy and Islamic fundamentalism; intellectual consequences; science and Orthodox Judaism
Schroeder, Gerald, 71–72
Schwartz, Baruch, 235n32, 258n33
science‐Orthodox Judaism conflicts, resolution approaches, 67–75, 78
See also evolution
scientific knowledge proofs for divine authorship of Koran, 152–154, 156–160, 163–164, 254n75
Scofield Reference Bible, 104
scriptural fundamentalists, definitions, 4–5, 229n1
secondary elaboration, defined, 178
secularization process, 212–213
Sefer ha‐Mitzvot (Maimonides), 46–47
selective activities, in cognitive restructuring
attention, 204–209
interpretation, 209–210
restructuring, 211
selective interaction, as defense mechanism, 211
Selya, Rena, 72–73
Sephardim, Jews, 57, 236n36
serpent‐handling sects, 101, 123–133, 246n47
Shakir, Zaid, 141
Shapiro, Marc, 83
Shatz, David, 256n20, 260n53
shirey neshama, emotional responses, 11–12
sin
snake‐handling sect beliefs, 130
as suffering explanation, 170
slavery
and evolution opposition, 218–219
in selective attention argument, 205–206
Slifkin, Nosson, 159
snake‐handling sects, 101, 123–133, 246n47
Snow, David, 233n5
socialization process, religious beliefs, 168–169, 224–225, 261n7
social motives, TMS adherence, 43–44, 50–59
social position, and belief persistence, 233n5
solidarity claim, 169–170
(p.282) soul concept and neuropsychology, 73–75, 260n53
Statman, Dani, 76–77
Sternberg, Shlomo, 63–64
storytelling argument, resurrection, 119–120, 244n35
Strauss, Leo, 92, 248n17
suffering, 130–131, 169, 170
suicide bombings, 248n19
Sultan, Wafa, 253n60
sun stopping story, Joshua, 105–106
suprarational arguments. See miracles; revelation
Sura, 22, 148, 157, 161, 163
Susser, Bernard, 230n14
Tel Dan stone, 209
“The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs in Modern Orthodox Jews” (Schimmel), 5
time assertion, TMS, 39
2 Timothy, 110–111
Tirosh‐Samuelson, Hava, 83
Torah to Moses at Sinai (TMS)
acceptance arguments, 39–40, 45–50, 53, 90–99, 120, 233n3
adherence motives, 50–59
assertions in, 39, 79–80, 81–82
defense mechanisms, 59–64
evidence challenge questions, 93–99
intellectual consequences, 64–66, 80–88, 189–190, 206–207, 257n26
and mitzvot observance, 76–78
plausibility examination approach, 40–41
problem importance, 75–76, 238n76
scientific knowledge proof, 159–160
tradition's power, 88–90, 189–190
Torah U'Madda community
biblical scholarship exposure, 44–45
categorized, 43–45, 233n8
TMS affirmation statements, 45–50
Touro College, 68
tradition explanation for beliefs, 180–181
transubstantiation doctrine, 178–179, 255n8
truth
attitudes toward, 193–201
and evidence, 256n20
and heresy argument, 47–48
impact of TMS affirmation, 64–66, 82–84
and Muslim fundamentalism, 141
and reason, 20, 22, 191–192
Tzvi, Shabbetai, 170
undermining belief strategies, ethical arguments, 222–228, 253n59
Union for Traditional Judaism, 257n26
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, 44
unity of Scripture arguments, 39, 101–103
vagueness factor, 181–183, 201
The Varieties of Religious Experience (James), 98
Virgin Birth, 114, 140–141, 148
Warfield, Benjamin B., 214
Wasserman, Elhonon, 95–96
Whither (Feierberg), 57, 96
Why Gods Persist? (Hinde), 201, 222
Why I Am Not a Muslim (Ibn Warraq), 135–136
why question, 3
Williamson, W. P., 127–128
Wilson, David Sloan, 259n43
Yedid Nefesh, 11
yeshiva studies, author's experience, 8
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, 62
Yeshiva University, 237n53