Confession Re: [FoRK] "Peace and Love"

Corinna Schultz <corinna.schultz at gmail.com> on Thu Dec 20 15:54:45 PST 2007

On Dec 20, 2007 1:18 PM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar
<drernie at radicalcentrism.org> wrote:
> There are many legitimate reasons for rejecting religion, and you've
> named a good number.  But those are really reasons to suspect and/or
> critique religion.  You really seem to hate *all* religion, which
> seems either an oversimplification or a reaction to something else.

If you take religion seriously (as many religious people don't, fwiw),
then you have to understand that any religion is making rather
significant truth-claims. Once you have grounds for suspecting
religion, then you start examining those truth-claims more closely.

The truth-claims of religion are distinct from the social cohesion
fostered by religion, or the personal satisfaction of religious
experiences (both of which can be easily explained in terms of brain
function and biochemistry/psychology,etc).

Arguments such as "look at the world -- there must be a creator", and
"my sister was saved from that hurricane by a miracle", and "when I
prayed for this guy, he got his dream job", and "the Bible is a
special book, written by God to show us how to live" are all subject
to examination because they are making claims about how the world
works.

There are many of us who have looked into it, found that there is a
common thread of irrationality (and disregarding evidence, etc)
running through such claims (apart from the social/psychological
forces I mentioned above), and therefore any religion which makes
similar claims can be dismissed.

Furthermore, the kind of thinking which promotes these sorts of claims
is *dangerous*.

And so we say that religion itself is dangerous. It's the greatest
source for promoting that kind of thinking.

Which is not to deny that religious people have done all sorts of
wonderful things in the name of their religion, myself included, that
might not have otherwise happened (my husband and I allowed an ex-con
to live with us for a while so he could have some breathing room to
get his life back together).

But the sort of thinking that believes in religious claims is the sort
of thinking that results in great evil. Non-religious people are not
immune from such thinking, but they usually don't take it so far as to
cause great evil.

Now, you can argue that the social cohesion and aesthetics and even
philosophical value of religion is very important. And I agree. *BUT*
why not keep the good and throw out the bad? Stop making irrational
truth-claims about the world, and get on with promoting civilization.

People (and I think you are one, Ernie, correct me if I'm wrong) think
that it must be taken as a package deal, that you cannot separate the
aesthetic, etc from the global truth-claims, and that since everyone
agrees that the one is important and valid, we must also accept the
other. Plus you (people in general) make arguments that misuse words
and equivocate and gloss over logical problems, and seem to
*willfully* misunderstand...

And that's why it's exasperating to argue religion, especially with
someone who is otherwise rational and intelligent. I think the problem
is that we see distinctions where you don't, and so we argue past each
other and make no headway.

(Of course, I don't presume to speak for anyone else here :) )

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