The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
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Thursday, August 9, 2007
Religion ... Society ...

One of the reasons why I don’t have much desire to be involved with religion right now is because of GROUP-THINK. I don’t like group-think. Group-think is when a group of people believe in some common idea or set of ideas because everyone else in the group believes in it. If you trace out the logic of it, you wind up with a big circle. John believes because Judy believes; Judy believes because Andrea believes; Andrea believes because Phil believes; Phil believes because . . . and eventually, the trail leads right back to John. Everyone feels good talking about Jesus and the saints (or Moses and the prophets, or the Buddha and the bodhivistas, or Mohammed and the caliphs, or Krishna and all his friends). They feel confident in believing in the sacred myths, because everyone else in the room believes. Loops and loops and loops. Loops from the ancient past making their way across time into the present, and cruising on into the future. No the circle won’t be broken.

But as I’ve said before, I haven’t left religion because I’m an atheist. At best (or worst) I’m a somewhat skeptical agnostic. But I still want there to be a God, and I still haven’t heard an air-tight explanation as to why God doesn’t exist. Some atheistic rationales for the non-existence of God are just as laughable as what the snake-handling Pentacostalists way back in the hollers of West Virginia ever said or did. For example, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson (of the Hayden Planetarium and PBS’s NOVA series) gives a presentation citing a long list of reasons as to why the Universe could not have had an intelligent creator. One of Dr. Tyson’s complaints is that for most animals, including humans, the sexual organs are located near the waste excrement apparatus. Personally, I can’t help but wonder if there is a wise lesson in that fact; something along the lines of “remember human that you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return”. Perhaps it was intentional to have the flowery pleasures of new life and the revolting stuff of death juxtapositioned. I myself see a lesson in it, a lesson that a wise creator might well have intended after designing the bubbly, mindless feeling of sex.

(And furthermore, I’ve never heard of anyone deferring from sex because the main physical events occur too close to where the yucky stuff comes out. In fact, certain people seem to enjoy that fact . . . . but I’ll stop there.)

The “new atheism” movement is the only thing worse than group-think religion. The modern anti-God voices (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris … and Elton John, ugh) seem to be growing a group-think of their own. Here’s a blog devoted to debunking it. And I say bravo! I hope the guy will post some more.

The thing for me is that God is too important to pursue through group-think. I personally feel that philosophy is a better approach to God than religion. It’s too bad that philosophy is such a small and limited institution, existing as a rare hot-house flower in a far corner of the academic grove. You can find churches on every other street; but you can go for hundreds of miles before you can find a place where theistic philosophy is discussed and debated. Socrates would surely find that to be a shame; certainly Lao Tsu also (if there was a Lao Tsu). And I think so would Jesus, and Mohamed, and Moses, etc. Ultimately, I believe that they were well beyond group-think religion, and really didn’t want to condemn their followers to drowning in such a mental whirlpool. Too bad that’s what ultimately happened.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 8:46 pm      

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