criticizing religion

someone said:“It is difficult to have a rational discussion that mixes politics and religion. It seems like the conversation is divided by people who are religious nuts, and people who just want to tear down religion completely.”

my thought:Absolutely. Although I am a liberal agnostic, I always find myself defending religious belief against the attacks from other liberals. I will give three examples.

First, some people claim that religious people are religious because of indoctrination and non-religious people are non-religious because of free-thinking. This is a terrible generalization. I am the son of a Unitarian painter and an atheist chemist, both of whom went to ivy-league schools. Does anyone really think I had any CHOICE but to turn out agnostic?

Second, a lot of people criticize religion for its failures without looking at the enormous role it has played in history. Historically, it had the burden of being Science, Government, History and Morality to developing cultures. It held human civilization together through difficult times. When this is ignored, you aren’t being honest about how we got where we are today.

Third, people who have an agenda against religion not only misrepresent religion, but they misrepresent science. It makes me crazy to see people accuse religion of “making assumptions,” as if scientific hypotheses don’t begin with assumptions. They compare the worst behaviors of the religious (blind emotional faith) with the best behaviors of scientists (objectively testing theories). As if scientists never cling to a theory they like. As if religious people never question their faith.


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  1. Excellent. Key issue is ideology. From the great Silvan S. Tomkins: “Ideology is the most divisive element in human affairs. Ideologies are tightly woven sets of ideas about thing about which we can be the least certain and therefore are the most passionate”

    Since ideologies are about uncertainly all ideologies require faith: the faith of the scientist, the faith of the Marxist, the faith of the Christian, the faith of the atheist.”

    We need ideologies since they are our roadmaps to Heaven showing us how to avoid Hell. We ought to learn to hold are ideologies lightly and realize in our ideological conflicts as Alfred North Whitehead wrote, “The opposite of a Great Truth is not a Great Falsehood but another Great Truth.”