How to Make a Christian

Below are two diagrams illustrating my model of how an adult (not a child) becomes a Christian.   The first picture shows the adult mind BEFORE they become a Christian.  The second picture shows their transformed mind AFTER they become a believer.

In the first picture below, the red circle is the non-believer’s mind which, like all minds, contains of many modules.  See my related posts below if you are not familiar with the modular mind model.  Note that everyone’s mind contains three important modules needed in creating a religious mind: a “Tribal Mind”, a “Morality Mind” and a “Superstitious Mind”.  I will explain these in upcoming posts, but for now I imagine they are somewhat self-explanatory.

The Non-Believer's Mind

The Non-Believer's Mind

The second picture, below, illustrates how to create a believer mind.  These are the steps needed to transforming a non-believer into a believer.  These steps create an “Inner God” for the believer:

  1. Find, accentuate or create a significant amount of dissatisfaction in the non-believer’s life
  2. Initiate the unbeliever into a theology, rituals and/or practices (labeled only “theology” in the diagram) which can ameliorate the person’s dissatisfaction
  3. Link the non-believer to believers in this new “faith”/”religion”.  (in rare cases this may be optional)
  4. The theology must capitalize on the Superstitious Mind to create new religiously superstitious modules (these can vary in number).  Here I list four:
    a. Wishing God
    b. Companion God
    c. Spackle God
    d. Afterlife God
  5. The theology must also tap in strongly to the Tribal Mind and the Morality God.
The Believer's Mind

The Believer's Mind - The Religious Mind

While this model only illustrates an Inner God,  the believer will feel their mind is transformed in such a way as to allow communication and communion with an actual god(s)/spirits existing outside of their mind.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series — the grand finale !  Meanwhile, please read the related posts below to catch up on the background required to understand my model.

Related Posts:


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

10 responses to “How to Make a Christian

  1. Ed

    Great post. I am anxious for the “grand finale”. Hurry up! :-} You have been very helpful for me in both my life-long search for meaning as well as in my recent tour of North America where I have been looking for the Truth. As you know, I have one hang-up that I can’t seem to get over and that is the idea that to believe anything, whether Christianity, Buddhism or atheism, or any religious philosophy, there is a tacit, fundamental and often unacknowledged “Belief” that must be accepted before the other tenets of the system make sense. Here are some examples: in christianity the unchallenged belief is that there is a god and the bible is his book… in Buddhism, it is that our job or function as humans is to “wake-up” to Truth in our very being and a concept of a god is irrelevant to this endeavor… in atheism it appears to be, that the unspoken article of faith is that religious people act like idiots and there can’t possibly be a separate, stand alone god that runs this universe. Once we believe one of these or one of any of my now-so-labeled “UNSPOKEN-BELIEFS”, well, these rest of the system falls into place nicely.
    I am wondering, sincerely, if you can offer up a system of belief that does not have a “pre-existing” unspoken belief? In other words, is there any system or type of belief that does not require accepting some unprovable fact as the first step?

  2. darrenwong1859

    Sabio: For the 1st step, I don’t really think that dissatisfaction must be created – some of my friends almost converted to Christianity without giving a second thought, thanks to Christian propaganda. That’s because they never though much about their original religion (corrupted Buddhism), and once the missionaries came, they simply accepted what they said.

    Plus, can you elaborate on the tribal mind?

    By the way, can’t wait for the finale!

    Ed: Actually, I don’t think that atheists really regard God as impossible to exist, but rather that He has an unbelievably small probability that He exists, since no one can still provide scientific evidence that God exists. Just a thought.

  3. I’d say that the unspoken beliefs of atheism are:
    . things can come into being without a cause.
    . there can be an infinite regress of cause
    . the material infinite can exist
    . the material reality is the only reality
    . if the material infinite cannot exist then matter can bring itself into being

  4. @ Ed
    I may be wrong, but I’d wager no mammal, save humans, have pre-existent beliefs to support their lives. It is very easy to live a life like animals. Then, instead of letting our reason trap us, we can let it add color to the already rich field of existence while using reason only as a tool to make living a little more easy.
    Life may be no easier, perhaps, and the puzzling echoes of reason may not stop haunting us, but at least we know that the ghosts aren’t real.
    Sorry, waxed a bit philosophic on that one !

    @ Daren
    I think you are mistake, and here I am very Buddhist. Dissatisfaction (dukkha) is at the core of existence (in English, the word is often translated “suffering”). Thus we are always ready for a better solution.

    “Tribal Mind” is the mind that makes us build alliances: family, clan, nation, clubs, religions, race, language …
    It allows for co-operation and allies to fight wars.
    It is the Us vs. Them.

    Also, I think Ed was talking about many Atheists he has met, not the definition of the word.

  5. Ed

    A few things… I was probably referring more to atheists I have met, correct Sabio. But I was also thinking that if you acknowledge that there might be a god, doesn’t that make you an agnostic?… and not an atheist?
    Next, Buddhism teaches that “Life is dukkha”… and dissatisfaction is a better rendering than suffering as is so often done. But there is not any really good English word… for me it means what has been eating at me without any resolution my whole life. Buddha also, as I am sure you know, taught 3 more things, the cause of “dissatisfaction”, that there is a way out of feeling that way and what that way is… Please refer to Steve Hagen, author on this subject… he is a very thoughtful and meticulous American teacher and author.
    And lastly, my main idea was poorly expressed but i can’t get it much better… And maybe it is the human condition to first swallow and ignore something we can’t prove so that we can believe in something… anything…. But I am still holding out for a truth that has no pre-existing beliefs necessary… But it might be that only animals are this lucky… If so, I would like to be a Salmon… Then I would be free from worry and I’d taste great!

  6. @ Ed
    (1) I may be wrong, but I don’t think animals worry about “truth”.

    (2) I am not sure what you are saying about “dukkha”.

  7. darrenwong1859

    Sabio: While I don’t agree with the saying that “dukkha” is at the center of existence, let’s leave that one for now. There’s just a problem – since dukkha is always present as long as existence is concerned, then why even try to find or create dissatisfaction in the person’s life? Plus, my friends almost accepted Christianity because it sounded good. Perhaps you may say this is still a case of looking at a better solution, but I think this is caused mainly by ignorance towards religion.

    Ed: I am aware that you may be referring to the atheists that you met. I was just saying how I think, and perhaps it may be different from others.

  8. @ Darren

    You put the questions perfectly. I hope my replies feel like answers:

    (1) Most likely you are sitting while you read this. And most likely, until you read my next sentence you aren’t conscious of … The pressure of your chair on your buttocks. Feel how the chair seems to push up against you.
    Dukkha (suffering) is like that, it is always present but we attenuate to it for the most part. We walk around our daily lives think suffering is normal. So, you can illustrate to a believer that they are suffering more than they think they are or you can trigger their superstitious mind with apocalyptic stories or stories of hell or potential suffering to ramp up the Dukkha. And remember, pleasure is just the flip side of Dukka.
    But you are right, this is common sense and we really don’t need to pursue it longer unless you care to.

    (2) So I am not sure which sort of ignorance you are accusing your friends of:
    a) General Ignorance
    One of the points of my blog is to get away from the Atheist Arrogance that anyone who embraces religion is just outright stupid, ignorant or illogical. Such arrogance, it seems to me, truly does not understand how both they themselves make decisions or the nature of the human mind. And thus these posts.

    b) Religion Specific Ignorance
    Sure, you friends may be ignorant about religions in general. But I imagine you are ignorant of many specific religions too.

    And remember, if your friends felt Christianity “sounded good”, it must be for a specific set of satisfactions (opposite of dukkha):
    — gain of status
    — gain of friends or membership
    — gain of some niche
    — rebellion from elders

    In which case, this is not ignorance but trading a benefit for some rationality. This is a sort of intelligence. See my post on the tooth fairy. Or see this post on “Joyfully Sacrificing Reason.”

    I hope that answers your questions. To me, it seems you want religion to simply be simply due to faulty logic. If so, I think you are highly mistaken from several levels:
    1) No one works from pure logic nor even close to that.
    2) Pure logic can harm us
    3) There are often benefits for which sacrificing logic is a wise choice.
    4) People can be incredibly logical in many parts of their lives and yet sacrifice logic for certain gains.

  9. I agree with Darren that satisfaction doesn’t need to be created, often times it is already there. But your idea is correct, according to my experience.

    It’s a lot like selling vacuum cleaners, isn’t it? Some people’s machine just broke down, and they’re desperately looking for a new one: easy sale.

    With other “clients” you need to truly show them that, even though their carpet looks perfectly clean on the surface, the reality is that if you put it under the microscope, the carpet is really, really filthy.

  10. @ Lorena: That is what I mean by “find” = it is already there. I like your vacuum sales analogy. But in my experience, everyone’s carpet is immensely dirty and it does not take much to notice. I don’t find people’s carpets anywhere close to being “perfectly clean”. That is why the market is so plentiful! 🙂

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