Religion (again)

I have commented previously how much it slays me to see people grapple with their religious beliefs.

I suspect the reason it troubles me so deeply is because it's far too easy to be misled by your own thought processes. It's too easy to be so convinced of something, that your mind is imprisoned in a self imposed dungeon where no light comes in. What's more, the dungeon door is wide open, but you choose not to walk through it. There is a world of light and knowing beyond the door, but so convinced are you of your need to be punished, you endure a punishment you don't deserve.

I've spent most of my life examining the nature of existence. I've studied the bible cover to cover, been a born again Christian. I've read the Koran a number of times cover to cover. I had no issue with the premise of Islam in relation to Christianity. I've studied Buddhism, metaphysics, the occult and most importantly neuroscience.

The fundamental problem with religion, is when you examine it with critical thought, it doesn't withstand that scrutiny. The truth should not require faith to maintain its integrity. It should withstand examination from any angle and maintain its integrity. This is not the case with most religion.

People uphold the bible, Koran or other religious text as the source of their truth. There are a number of problems here. Fundamental problems.

No one text is truly authentic or authoritative. Each one is an interpretation and translation of previous texts. This in and of itself is not a huge issue. What you're relying on in the Christian context in particular, is that the correct texts were chosen.

What should concern you far more deeply is that religion came out of an uneducated era when very little about how the world, indeed the universe actually worked.
On that basis a lot of religion has common threads that were like best guesses at the time.
If you compare modern religions with indigenous stories of creation, they have a commonality. That is, a mythical creature created the known universe.

Christians scoff at indigenous stories of creation. "A giant lizard you say? Preposterous! Utter poppycock."
In the next breath the missionary pipes up and describes how there is this "father" in the sky who created all mankind in his image.

At the very best what you're relying on is your own gut instinct that all those before you were right. You're depending on the "source" human being right. Be it Mohammad, Jesus, Buddha or whoever.

Buddha studied the religions of his time and found them to be lacking. To this end, from a secular perspective, a fair amount of Buddhist thought stands up to scientific scrutiny. Meditation in particular has recorded evidence of improvements to the neocortex. The modern reasoning portions of the brain.

What many probably don't realise is that science is actually philosophy. Science doesn't establish fact. It proposes certain things with a degree of probability.
The degree of probability is established via rigorous peer review, confirmation of findings by using independent data sets to verify the conclusions. Most importantly, science provides verifiable predictions. IE: If A is true, then when B and C occur, D should happen.

The important distinction here is science is philosophy that doesn't rely on faith as its foundation. IE: Because I and others believe it's true, it must therefore be true.

History is littered with false assumptions, misinterpretations and just plain misunderstanding. This should provide a clear caution not to put our faith in apparent evidence of our senses. A lot of proven theory is counter intuitive. That is, it defies our understanding of the world. Space time is one of the best examples. We know and have proven that time is slowed down by massive objects. GPS satellites need to account for the time on earth versus time in space, otherwise you'd never reach your destination. Time runs faster in space where it's not slowed as much by the earths mass.

Rather than trying to prove the basis of your faith, you should be trying to disprove it. If something has basis in reality, it will maintain it's basis no matter what lengths you go to in order to disprove it.

White is upheld as the purest form of light. The irony is, white is an illusion our brains create because white light contains every frequency of light. What our brain does with this input is simplifies it and registers intensity instead. We see no colour at all!

When this discovery was made, religious leaders at the time tried to suppress it. It brought into question the purity of all they held sacred. There are many examples like this, and as our understanding of existence improves, so there will be many more examples.

Science doesn't disprove the existence of God, so much as it questions the misconceptions of who and what God might be. All religion's caution against worshipping false Gods. What if you're worshipping the wrong God because you're following a misguided religion?

For centuries everybody believed that heavier objects fell faster than lighter ones. They didn't understand the basic principals of classic physics. It only took a very simple experiment of dropping two objects of different mass from a tower to discern fact from faith.

Stop torturing yourself unnecessarily and walk out into the light. There's air to breath, facts to find and your life will be all the more fulfilled for it. Unfetter your mind!

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16 thoughts on “Religion (again)”

  1. " I guess what it all boils down to is under what belief system you grew up under."

    I would disagree. I think it is more what the individual is open to and if they are ready to grow or not.

    It is my belief that "Christianity " today is a misnomer. It teaches not what the Great Rabbi Jehshoa taught but what Paul
    taught that he taught. and as we all know Paul never knew him.
    and as we all know Pauls teachings were a result of a vision that other writings of the time tell us was a result of his hitting his head on a rock when he got drunk and fell off his ass.

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    • I often wonder if we are doing the same as the pharisees, creating all these rules and regulations which are not really there. And then missing the whole point of Christianity.

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  2. There are flaws with the scientific hegemony. Due to peer review and publication bias unorthodox ideas are rarely looked into.

    As to religion being 'bad', that is a modern, atheist, fundamental position. When I was following an organised religion the emphasis was almost always on improving the compassion and empathy of the congregation and making people wiser and kinder.

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  3. one of the best quotes i have heard is, "many say that humanity is "" hard wired"" for religion. This is wrong.
    Humanity is hard wired for spirituality. Religion is the BUSINESS of spirituality".

    I believe that there is one universal force, Deity if you will.
    And that all the Gods and Goddesses of all the religions of history are different aspects or parts of that All.

    Akanaten, Moses, Budda, Mohammed , were all preaching not the one God but the All God od as the Norse called him The All Father. In The Hidden Gospels Mary Magdalene was called 'THE One That Knew the All. Also One of 4 " That knew the All".

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  4. Thanks for posting Shane. I guess what it all boils down to is under what belief system you grew up under. At the same time there are many people questioning what they were taught. I for one hold dear to my faith and trying to understand how my choices to live aligns itself to my faith/belief/religion. This is a personal journey that I'm on, and as such some may not understand. In my search I echo what MarcNude said, I accept and respect others, even though I may not always agree with their choices.

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  5. Without religion bad people would be bad and good people bood. Religion makes good people bad… I'm paraphrasing a quote I read the other day. I respect all religions, they should preach tolerance and respect, but I see many opposite examples.

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  6. I like this article Shane, thanks, it is very interesting.

    I just would like to point out that there is a great distance between Religions and so called Sacred Texts, and there is an even much bigger distance between Religion and Faith.

    Religion is a term which encompasses lots of things for many: reading and knowing some parts of those texts, taking part in social events and activities, getting relief from community, feeling part of something, "speaking" the same emotional language.
    Religion may also mean money and political power.

    The texts (let's say the Bible, or the Coran) are perceived very personally by those who follow those monotheistic religions you mentioned and most differ from one another in that perception.
    Most Christians, for instance, will not believe much of the Bible, because it is a collection of outaded texts, but most will certainly have found in their life the importance of Christ's message and read those texts and teachings under that "key". The interpretations of those text may vary so much that there are out there as many churches as words in the Bible.

    Faith is another matter. It's a state of being, very personal, and it is not related to religion, since you can benefit from your faith without actually taking part in any religious activity. Faith cannot be challenged, since is there, or is not. Thats why who enjoys that state will describe it as "a present".
    Faith does not mean that I believe what others do, even if it may be so, and it certainly does not mean that it is the truth all should embrace. Faith is as personal as identity, always. Faith is also part of my freedom.

    That's why it may or may not be the foundation of Religion.

    The only relationship between Religion and Faith is that religious people for the most parte feel some sort of Faith within them, or hope one day they will. Some will declare to be religious just to get the social and economical benefits that may come from it.

    So, we got three different "problems", not just one.
    I'd single out Religion, because of its potential as a vector for money and power.
    It is true that Religion may mean obscurantism, me myself have to live with that every single day. If we talk Christianity or Islam, we have lots of examples in our history and our present. Still Religion may also mean, at a very personal level, being part of a whole. And that does not mean blindly following instructions set by others, it may also mean love, relationships and even being open to science. Religion has changed so much in time as the approach to it changed.
    Some of the more open, smart, science-addicted guys I've ever known are religious.

    We are complex humans, there is no one recipe that can fit all, or even two of us. Just my two cents.

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