Search Results for: "why religion"

Why Religion 9: Ignorance is Bliss?

  Greater than the senses is the mind. Greater than the mind is buddhi, reason; and greater than reason is He—the Spirit in man and in all. — Krishna, Bhagavad Gita 3:42 Religion, so the story goes, encourages shallow thinking. It keeps us from having to deeply contemplate life, the universe and everything. Some of you will no doubt be saying, “Yeah, that’s right. That’s just the way it is.” Others will be scratching their heads and wondering what color…

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Why Religion 8: Will Wonders Never Cease

Some secular thinkers have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to convince religious people that science is more awe-inspiring than God or faith. Why aren’t we capable of appreciating the awesomeness of the Universe, they wonder? Is it the manmade ritual and imaginary miracles that we find exciting? This was actually a subject of discussion at the Beyond Belief Conference as early as 2006. A group of conference participants debated if perhaps they ought to…

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Why Religion 7: The Identity Thing

As with mostly strongly held beliefs or formative influences, religion is part of a believer’s identity. Some people seem to find that peculiar or irrational or just plain incomprehensible. But how peculiar is it really, when one considers all of the things we humans attach our identity to: jobs, professions, gender, sexual orientation, skin color, ethnic origins, place of birth, place of residence, political persuasion or party affiliation, educational level or intellectual accomplishments, physical appearance, even the sports teams we…

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Why Religion 6: God of the Month Club

Some folks suppose that religion is, to all (or at least most) religionists, a social club, or a means of maintaining social status. Intelligent politicians and clergymen (yes, some will complain those are oxymorons) are especially suspected of not really believing, but only claiming to believe for the sake of political position. I’ve read numerous claims on atheist blogs that since President Obama is obviously an intelligent man, he must be a closet atheist. The same is said of such…

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Why Religion 5: Linus van Pelt and the Great Blanket

This philosophy suggests that religion is a security blanket. Religious people have Linus van Pelt’s disease and are unable to give up their blankies and join the adults. The reason religious folks cling to their beliefs, this viewpoint asserts, is merely for the comfort and meaning it brings to their lives. That’s the basic belief as I’ve heard it expressed by such respected thinkers as Richard Dawkins and Caroline Porco. A permutation of this is the related idea that religious…

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Why Religion 4: Pie in the Sky By and By…

A recurring theme I hear in the commentary and conversation of some anti-theists is that religion is not about life on earth in the here and now, but focuses its entire attention on the afterlife. This, it is supposed, leads to the belief among the majority of believers that nothing we do here matters and social ills like poverty and injustice can be blissfully ignored. I’ve been a Bahá’í my entire adult life. This means I have been immersed for…

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Why Religion 3: An Express Train to Valhalla

I often come across the assumption that I view my religion as a vehicle—the express train to Valhalla. This scenario proposes that I am concerned chiefly with my personal salvation and am obedient to the laws of my faith for that reason alone. To be fair, there are believers who are chiefly concerned with their personal salvation. It is of such deep concern because there are a number of sectarian groups that stress the idea that one must be right…

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Why Religion 2: Religion as Accessory

Last time, I gave an overview of a number of secular views of religion that I’ve encountered in my travels. I’d like to poke at these ideas a bit in the hope of maybe increasing understanding among both religious and secularist readers. Those of you who are religious, I’m hoping, might have an aha moment about why your secularist colleagues and friends suppose that giving up your faith is as simple as taking off a pair of unfashionable gloves. Those…

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Why Religion?

I, and many folks I know who would describe themselves as religious (aka, a person of faith, or spiritual) are puzzled by the reactions to religion by some of our secularist and atheist acquaintances. It’s not that we don’t grok people’s disgust with the things that have been done in the name of religion. We not only get that,  we share their disgust. Indeed, to a person of faith, the fact that Christ’s or Muhammad’s or Buddha’s name as been…

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Religion, Science, and Global Civilization #14: Baha’i Views on Why Religion Needs Science

“The task of humanity…is to create a global civilization which embodies both the spiritual and material dimensions of existence.” The Universal House of Justice Jan 22, 2012. We don’t usually think of science as playing a role in religion. This is because – I think – we are so strongly influenced by the secular spirit of the age. Religion, we think, is about immaterial truths – morals, ethics, and related kinds of things. Science is concerned, we tend to think,…

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