Why People Believe in Illogical Things?

Beliefs and logic

We live in a complex world, driven by galloping technology that has opened vistas beyond our imagination yet the vice-like grip of mythology, superstitions, religion, and mysticism has not waned.

Why do we believe in the empty words of spiritual gurus who talk in circles, entrapping people in their words?

Why are we fascinated by paranormal world of fairies, mermaids, werewolves, ghosts and dragons? Why do we read books that take us into unknown realms, which we know don’t exist?

Why do we derive pleasure out of irrational movies and shows?

Why do people bow down to so many deities, offering flowers and money to get their prayers answered?

You may be having your own answers to my questions but they may seem illogical to me.

It all depends on the way you have been raised.

If you were allowed to ask questions, if they were answered convincingly; if you could dig deeper to satisfy yourself; if beliefs were never imposed on you; if your critical thinking was encouraged and nurtured, you would never believe in illogical thoughts.

How beliefs develop:

We tend to believe what we are told by our parents and peer group. All children don’t possess discerning thoughts; some can be easily led and molded. In a class of 40 students that I taught, 39 raised their hands when they were asked whether they went to a place of worship every weekend. Why? The answer was that their parents took them along. One student who didn’t raise his hand was the one who was never told to go.

Belief in Santa is created till we grow up to realize the truth of the magic that fascinates children.

Self-beliefs are created by our own mind, depending on the kind of treatment we get from friends, family and society. Once they get embedded in our minds, they become a part of our personality. We refuse to change them unless something drastic compels us to reconsider.

Fantasy that carries us away…

Books we read:

Books leave a lasting impression on our minds. As children we get carried away by fantasy and believe each word we read till we start questioning the authenticity of the worlds created in those books. I have often wondered how could Alice go down the rabbit hole and find so many friends and potions there! When we grow up with such books, we think everything is possible.

Respect for others:

We don’t want to hurt the sentiments of those who believe that Feng Shui could bring harmony in our relationships and peace into our homes. I have never told cat lovers that a black cat is considered to be inauspicious if she cuts your way. The superstition of never calling a person from behind when he is leaving his home has always been respected for his wellbeing and security.

Fear of repercussions:

Many people continue the traditions, which serve no useful purpose for fear of upsetting the elders of the house. I know a friend whose grandmother had placed an idol in one auspicious corner of the house and just because she showered and worshipped it every morning before entering the kitchen, the belief had to be followed by everyone. No one could think of moving the idol to another corner. Even the direction of the beds could not be changed, however illogical it may seem!

Political beliefs too can be illogical but they can cause serious rifts between friends and partners. So it is better to keep them out of discussion.

Do you know such people who harbor illogical beliefs?

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Thank you for your support. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.

46 thoughts on “Why People Believe in Illogical Things?

  1. Very true and insightful. Balroop.
    True that sometimes one is forced to behave irrationally despite the tug of logic 🙂

  2. Such a fascinating question about why people believe in certain things. I guess if people believe in certain things, to them it’s not illogical, and it’s a matter of perspective. You fleshed out how beliefs develop very well. As a kid, we often look for a mentor or a figure to love and guide us, and the more we grow up thinking one thing, it might be hard changing our train of thought as we grow older.

    I do think the more we socialise with one group, the more we may believe their superstitions or maybe even take them up without even realising. Not following tradition has never scared me but like you, I don’t tell others off if they do something a certain way or belief in a certain faith.

    1. True Mabel but some perspectives are worthy of questioning and one should have the answers to discuss it further. Any perspective that can’t be expostulated seems stifling to me. Right mentors do make a difference, telling the youngsters to see, read, choose and decide what is illogical. Thanks for sharing your insights dear friend.

      1. So true, some perspectives are worth questioning especially if there are certain motives behind those perspectives. Again, thank you for writing another interesting topic 🙂

  3. This is such an interesting post, Balroop. I would think many illogical thoughts are developed during childhood, but those could change as we grow. As adults, I think they probably form by what we take in as far as social media, etc. and the people we associate with.

    1. Thanks Jill, social media is created by people and many times staunch believers dominate it to make it murky. So one has to tread with caution.

  4. Some do not question things that have always been. But generally traditions become diluted perhaps because they are always dynamic and become increasingly so under the influence of new information. As we are in the information age, the traditions may disappear faster. Or else folks will be drawn to illogical beliefs if they have become disillusioned with their life. Interesting topic, Balroop.

    1. Disillusionment often leads youngsters astray. Thank you for adding a such an important point Amanda. However, cultural traditions don’t dilute easily, as they are pushed in the name of “respect” for them.

      1. Perhaps that depends on the neighbourhood where one resides and seems to vary with each culture. Some have stricter moral codes and respect is an important value, whereas other value free thinking and independent thought?

  5. Very interesting and well written post Balroop. We could sit down and discuss this for a long
    while but I will try to be brief. Like you and others say I am sure that beliefs / faiths are formed
    via our parents and community when we are children. Most of us will start question many dogmas
    as we grow. We realise they have no substance.
    Man has always sought something to believe in, might it be that we feel strongly there is something
    more than we see with our physical eyes? A longing for spirituality …


    1. I am glad you found this post interesting Miriam. Well, if you think most people don’t find any substance in dogmas, you have to think in terms of global communities who are still struggling with the basic rights of equality and that is just the tip of an iceberg…what lies beneath is hard to imagine! As far as a longing for more is concerned, Buddha spent his whole life and could just start Buddhism, which degenerated into another religion.
      Thanks for your thought-provoking response dear friend.

  6. What a great question and the tie in: We don’t question others with illogical beliefs out of respect for them. I think logic–like beauty–is often in the eye of the beholder. So what would I question?

  7. I guess belief is related to reason for being. Many people want to believe that there is something more than the daily grind of survival. It gives us hope and encouragement to continue life’s journey. Thoughtful post Balroop.

  8. Great question to ponder. Where you would think there is a clear line of what is logical it isn’t. Giving your kids the abilty to think for themselves is a great gift.

  9. I’m happy you have chosen to write about it. In India, questioning religion, gurus, and religious practices are shunned. One is advised to mind their own business. We need to question many practices and beliefs if we want to grow as a community and society.

    1. Isn’t it the fear arv, fear that is created and nurtured within families, preventing free thoughts? Aren’t our mentors responsible for creating illogical beliefs?

      1. Rightly said. Religion and religious practices foster on fear! Do this or don’t do this else God will be unhappy or something bad will happen. All illogical things!

  10. Great post and discussion, Balroop. I hadn’t thought of really analyzing why we believe in things we can’t see or things we’re told to believe..yet faith has a place in our world. We put faith in things we can’t see. We believe in ideas or magical things to give us hope. Silly? Perhaps but is Alice in Wonderland much different than the bible stories? 😉 wink emoji here.

    1. Thank you Lisa for your light-hearted response to a difficult topic, mostly swept away into crevices. 🙂 Faith is no doubt the “opium of the masses,” developed by crafty people to scare and control.

  11. fascinating question, Balroop, and I was so tickled to see my book among your examples of illogical books! Ha ha. Oh, people are interesting, aren’t they? I think what is illogical is up for grabs – a matter of perspective. For example, the notion of God is completely illogical to me, but to others, it’s as real as the shoes on their feet. As long as someone’s illogical thoughts and beliefs aren’t harmful to self or others, then I say be happy and believe.

  12. Balroop, a deeply interesting post and there are so many elements within it! First and foremost I would say it depends on one’s definition of illogical and that will vary from person to person! Reading books is a central element to many lives and we find joy, excitement etc in being carried away by the words into another world, be it on this planet or made-up one. Superstitions for some people is a grounding way to live, of safety, reassurance. Religion is the same – all equally real, logical. As you wrote to Diana: ‘As long as someone’s illogical thoughts and beliefs aren’t harmful to self or others, then I say be happy and believe.’ I totally concur!

    Wishing you a beautiful Sunday, my friend! ❤️

    1. Philosophical and diplomatic! Annika your suggestions made me smile, as they reflect a laid back attitude…all is well and let people be! 🙂 How harmful illogical thoughts could be is all around us in the form of radicalism, which is instilled in some vulnerable children when they are growing up. Exploitation, discrimination, killings, infanticide, flesh trade are just few examples of illogical thoughts that are passed on clandestinely.
      Thank you for coming over to discuss this controversial topic. Stay blessed!

  13. Believing the words of gurus with no evidence is detrimental, but reading books can be a mini vacation from real life. 🙂

  14. Books are a great way to illustrate your point, Balroop. I think we all harbor our own illogical thoughts… Your sage advice about the illogical is well taken–“Political beliefs too can be illogical but they can cause serious rifts between friends and partners. So it is better to keep them out of discussion.” Respect for others is paramount. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Great topic you have chosen to address, Balroop. Beliefs. Some people base their entire walk through life upon these shaky legs. While all of us are bound to gather ‘beliefs’ over a lifetime, it is wise to examine them regularly, I think. I cannot imagine the underlying anxiety that would ensue from such a shaky structure. Enjoy your week as it winds down! Aloha ❤

    1. You are right Bela, we must examine them from time to time otherwise they become a burden. Thank you for popping over to share your thoughts on this much avoided topic 😊🤗

  16. One has to gather wisdom, knowledge and be opened minded in may belief systems.. I agree our thoughts are coloured especially as we grow and by the views our parents believed.. While I have read and listened to many Guru’s one must never follow in blind faith.. For me I have to discover the truth and knowing for myself..
    Mysticism catches our imaginations, into possibilities.. I am sure once upon a time the books that George Orwell wrote the Time Machine, War of the Worlds, and the Invisible Man, some would say were Science Fiction, yet I wonder how much of it is not information pulled out of the Ether! 🙂
    I know there is much more to this world than meets the eye Balroop, What we must never lose is our Imagination 🙂 to create alternative realities from some of the harsh ones that exist within reality 😀

    Loved reading this piece Balroop and I totally agree with you about Political Beliefs least said there the better 🙂 ❤
    Much love my friend

    1. Thank you for sharing your insights Sue, some beliefs are too personal while some misguide people. Only those who can discover the truth knows the right answers. 🙂

      1. Yes, we each have to explore and find our own truths that’s for sure.. And even then, we all have a different perspective on that truth.. Its always good to keep questioning and seeking answers.. ❤

  17. I think many people are robbed of the conception to have their own ideas, so it’s easy to fall prey to outrageous ideas. Also, I think for some it’s easy to idealize those we’ve grown up with, and be drawn to others who sound similar -even if far fetched – to them.

    1. You are absolutely right Denise, influence of mentors is hard to shrug off. Fears and insecurities too impact free thinking. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 😊

  18. I love the illogical nature of humans ~ this post makes me look at some of my belief in illogical things (especially sports related habits). Cheers to you and your family, wish you a great weekend.

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