Closed belief system

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A closed belief system is a meme (i.e. a set of beliefs) which includes the belief that criticism of the meme is wrong and must be discouraged, i.e. a belief in epistemic closure.

Closed belief systems are a powerful tool for causing large numbers of people to take actions that are generally harmful (or even against their own best interests) while believing they are doing so for a greater good. As such, they are very attractive to powermongers, who often use promotion of a specific closed belief system as a way of gaining personal power. The relationship between powermonger and meme is symbiotic: the meme gains promotion from the powermonger, and the powermonger gains power through control of the meme-infected population.

Fundamentalist branches of most religions are, almost by definition, closed belief systems.

Although the pattern is not strictly limited to religion, any belief-system which includes epistemic closure is likely to be seen as "like a religion" by outsiders.


Closed belief systems tend to have the following characteristics: