I Believe It,
And That Is All
There Is To It
In response to your question, "How could such supposedly intelligent, educated people believe in this crap". I have thought long and hard on this very topic and concluded that as people become more aware of their existence on earth being terminal. Their need, by degrees of course to grab hold of anything that will quell this fear would easily and most likely be permanently embraced. To this end, all reasonable thought will by necessity be disregarded absolutely. To support this conclusion I have entered into test discussions with people of differing persuasions on topics such as politics, sports, school education, as well as other similar topics. In entering these debates I knew beforehand what the persuasions of the oppositions were. I took the position of playing the devils advocate (pun intended) to see just how far I could push these people. The discussions, as you can well imagine became loud and spirited. To conclude these debates I said to all that if I could come up with proof of my claims would they be willin g to rethink there claims. In all I received a reply to the positive. When the debate involved religion and I made the same suggestion, "would you reconsider your position if I can offer you proof of my claims". The answers were all as best I can recall were to the negative with an accompanying comment like "god said it, I believe it, and that is all there is to it".
In summery: The fear of death to these people is so strong that they are just not able to accept even the smallest compromise even in the interest of reason, lest they become mentally anguished.
Conclusion: People that have allowed themselves to get wrapped so tight that they are not able to see any light are for the most part beyond reasonable help.
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