William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How To Pass A Prophet Even If You Weren't Really One

The question was put:

"We all know there are false religions, fake or self decieved prophets, gurus etc.

Suppose we ask "what is the best method that a would-be guru or prophet should use for getting people to believe in them or their religion?".

I have a very strong suspicion that telling people to ask God and wait for a confirmation from God is the best approach assuming you can present this option to enough people. Tell them they may need to try more than once and that a special faithful state of mind needs to be sought out.

Some percent, maybe a small percent, will think they have gotten a positive answer and then they will be in it for life. Once they are in, they will teach their children and from there, with a little luck and a couple generations, a new religion.

I predict, more will try it in the future either dishonestly and deceptively or sincerely but self-deceptively. A similar tactic is to ask the person to follow their heart or to look within for something beyond ordinary words etc, or give faith a chance, take a leap (anything but employ normal skeptical thinking).

Your take?"

To which I responded:

I can think of four main ingredients one would need: Charisma, credibility, cleverness, and uniqueness. You should be likeable as a person, have a credible story (i.e., asking people to pray about it themselves helps to come across as credible), be smart at concealing or making up the truth, and have something that sets you apart from all the other truth-claimers.

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