Is there a terminology or specific topic that explains the behaviour or phenomenon expressed in the following quote?

The greatest anomaly of belief is that it is so powerful it takes over the identity of a man. People of belief believe so strongly that they become the belief. They are the belief. So anything or anyone that questions their belief is taken as a personal attack on themselves and their person. Belief is so powerful and deeply set in delusion that even if presented with verifiable proof and facts to the contrary; the believer reacts with emotional outburst ranging from anger to rage to violence even murder. In the case of phylogenetic group or culture insanity it leads to war and genocide.

  • $\begingroup$ Which aspect are you asking about? "Identity" or "self-concept" are terms that refer to what is under attack here, "verbal aggression" is the behavior of attacking someone's self-concept. Or are you asking specifically about religious belief? They are no different from believing you are a competent student or loved by your parents, and if someone questions those beliefs it will certainly lead you into a crisis or rage not unlike the reaction of a religous fanatic under verbal attack. $\endgroup$ – user3116 Feb 25 '15 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ Nothing in that paragraph specifically points at religion, but I think we can generalise to any form of conviction. "it will certainly lead you into a crisis or rage", this is what I am after, are there literature that that can offer why this behaviour certain or prevalent? $\endgroup$ – Jake Feb 25 '15 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ Google "self-concept". Once you understand what that is it will becime clear why an attack on it leads to a crisis. $\endgroup$ – user3116 Feb 25 '15 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ "People of belief" implies religious belief. When it comes to self-concept, everyone is a person of belief, becoause no one does not have a self-concept or identity and that is made up from beliefs, which, when questioned ("attacked") cause an identity crisis. Religious beliefs are part of the self-concept. etc. $\endgroup$ – user3116 Feb 25 '15 at 16:12

If I have understood things right, I think it is some form of 'Cognitive dissonance'

According to wikipedia,"cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values"

I remember experiencing the feel in one of the Ayn Rand books. As kids, our basic belief would be that our parents love us the most. Their love is the purest form of unconditional love. No matter what you do, they will always love and be for you for what you are. Suddenly , one day you wake up to the fact that the belief you have is entirely foolish. Your parents love you not for 'what you are' but just because 'who you are - their child'. You question yourself if your parents(as persons) would love you the same way if you had not been their kid. Because the answer to the question is a simple no. I cried at the very thought. Our mind tries to defend the previous comforting belief and disprove the new bitter realization and then helplessly experience outbursts.

This is more seen in case of religious beliefs as said in the quote. Your deep rooted beliefs are shattered and the mind can't smoothly accept the new version - Cognitive Dissonance, as they term it.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think it is inappropriate to just single out religion for discussion. I have 2 incidents recently like this that has nothing to do with religion, one was views about social etiquette conformance, and the other was about the value of fiction books. I think it is not the belief, but more of a personal psychological state that causes the rage reaction, not religion itself. Anyone with such a state of mind or tendency, regardless of the subject of belief, will display signs of this anomaly. $\endgroup$ – Jake Feb 26 '15 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ True. I agree it is more about the psychological state and the level of belief one has. I think religion has become a common example for reasons like a) Disproving religious beliefs have become common b) Religious beliefs are generally very deep rooted and a disproof brings in more mental stress. C)It is experienced by a lot of people. $\endgroup$ – Swathi Kalyani Feb 26 '15 at 7:30

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