Location: Hexham, Newcastle, England

Total posts: 233
Posted:Something thats been bugging me for a while Ive recently seen has been given a name (thanks Xopher) and so Im starting a thread on it. Basically, holding a cotton candy theology means to change your beliefs to bring them in line with the way you act, rather than to change the way you act to bring it inline with your beliefs. (If I've got this title wrong, tell me and I'll change the name, but I want to talk about what I've just described.)

Personally, if I enter into a debate or discussion, I go into it with an open mind. To me, the truth is important, and so if my beliefs change, Im happy, because I must have learned something new, and this can only be a good thing. Seriously, I want you to think about this when you enter a discussion or debate, are you willing to change or learn? With the majority of people Ive met in online forums, this is not the case. Total emphasis is usually given to either changing other peoples minds, or justifying actions or beliefs held. Most people just presume that whatever they believe is right, possibly because this is the easy option, and try to find evidence to support their beliefs. Something comes up that disproves your belief? Ahhh just ignore it, or make something up, or act like you dont care, its just a matter of opinion.

As a vegetarian (coincidently bought about because of what Ive learned from internet forums) this standpoint is often painfully obvious. Show someone that they are obviously contradicting themselves; do they change their beliefs? No, this part of the conversation is ignored, and but I have sharp pointy teeth is considered good enough response. (Many of you could disagree with this, if you want to debate it do it in the veggy thread please, Im just trying to give an example here.)

Politics is another example. People dont vote for the party they think is right or best. Some do, but the majority, no. Isnt it strange how rich people are more likely to vote conservative? Obviously nothing to do with the fact that conservative policies are highly beneficial to the rich, is it?

This isnt an attack on any of you lot, because I really havent been here long enough to know who is guilty of this and who isnt. I know that even I can be guilty of it at times (for fucks sake Im sitting here drinking a non-veggy Boddingtons) but if you are going to use forums for debating you might as well give it a thought. Why are you here if you dont want to learn? You gain nothing by appearing stubborn, or by winning arguments. Just try to make the best of this vast vat of information we are lucky enough to have access to.



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Mags The Jedi
GOLD Member since May 2004

Mags The Jedi

Location: Cornwall, UK

Total posts: 2020
Posted:Er... Yeah. I think that's the point, but each person uses forums for their own reasons.

What's wrong with having sharp pointy teeth? smile

"I believe the cost of life is Death and we will all pay that in full. Everything else should be a gift. We paid the cover charge of life, we were born."

Bill Hicks, February 1988


Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Well, it could be argued that people to tend to behave in accordance with their beliefs. It's just that their true beliefs may not necessarily match their "ideal" beliefs.

Then again, I suppose I've done stuff that I'm not proud of, which means I have behaved out of line with my beliefs.

Hmmmm... meditate

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura


BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3289
Posted:actually lightning, when faced with a conflict between behaviour and belief, most people change the belief. This has a particular name in psych which I should know, and it seems to be quite well documented.

As for that def of cotton candy theology, theology refers to religion? so perhaps it refers to holding religious beliefs that are supporting of your lifestyle choices?


Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!


GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:I'm not sure about cotton candy theology, perhaps someone has an example.

However, on change. Change takes time. So, while there may be some compelling arguments, most people don't change overnight. Perhaps we need to digest the new information. But without discussing our thoughts, we might never think about changing. And, as you say the truth is important.

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


BRONZE Member since May 2003

old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay, Austral...

Total posts: 1107
Posted:I just want to be.

Respect my beliefs and I'll do the same to you. Try and change them and you've got a fight on your hands. If I'm going to convert religion/become vegetarian/decide that the Earth is 6000 years old I'm going to do it in my own time, forcing your opinions on me is going to consolidate my present opinion.

I actually like it when Jehova's Witnesses come round, sitting them down and scientifically working out Why They Are Wrong gives me a giggle, and the excuses that they come up with as well are killers.

Not that I resent being told that my Precambrian research is comeplete rubbish because of my apparent naivity in believing that the Universe was not created in 7 days, or anything.

Back to topic proper now...

There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.




Location: Hexham, Newcastle, England

Total posts: 233
Posted:Haha I love Jehovas, they''ve never been to my house (too much fear I suspect) but they came round to a mates when I was there. Their wee leaflet "The Watchtower" is awsome, its almost sidesplitting in its weirdness.



GOLD Member since Sep 2002


Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Berlin, Ireland

Total posts: 2617
Posted:</font><blockquote><font class="small">Written by:</font><hr />

actually lightning, when faced with a conflict between behaviour and belief, most people change the belief. This has a particular name in psych which I should know, and it seems to be quite well documented.

That'd be cognitive dissonance smile

They have done studies and proved that if you pay a person 20 dollars to lie and then pay someone else 1 dollar to lie. The person you paid 1 dollar to will be more likely after the fact to try to convince you that they believe in what they have said.

This is because people are not idiots and the person who got 20 quid feels more justified. "Hey look, I got 20 quid". The person who got a dollar goes through a process of trying to rationalise the lie and changing their beliefs to come in line with the way they have acted allows this.

I noted the other day when having a meal with my dad and his girlfriend how they were justfying everything they were eating in terms that allowed them not to feel guilty about breaking their weight watchers thing. Quite amusing at the time actually.

I recently read about a good example of cognitive dissonance concerning a mother who's daughter is in a coma and performs miracles but it'll take me a wee while to research it cause I can't remember exact details right now. smile

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