Friday, March 18, 2005


Why start with religion ? Well, the truth is that it is the simplest issue. At least on the face of it.

Believing in a god is nonsense. The absence of god is so trivial, that it makes it a waste of time to even discuss it. Its existence is less likely than Santa Clause. And the fact that millions of people in the world believe in Santa Clause (kids) doesn't make it an issue worth discussing.

Well, after clearing that out, maybe I can get to some more justifiable discussions about religion. For that we have to define better what are we talking about. The previous paragraph was about religion and god as real entities, with real subjective influence on anything. But there are other ways to look at it. Here are a few worthy items for discussions about religion:

1. Historical/sociological/psychological analysis of religion. There is also a bunch of philosophical issues with the existence of god etc, but since it is so trivial there is not such a thing, contemplating other issues based on this existence is not very interesting for me.

2. We can try and define "god" as a cognitive entity. As something people acknowledge occurs only inside of them, with no implications on the outside world. That may be fine and dandy for some people, but it looks to me as an easy way out for people who used to believe in god (the original meaning), or feel uncomfortable not believing in it, and have come to realize its nonsense. If we are talking about a cognitive entity, let's call it in a different name, and let's be clear about the limits of a discussion on such an entity.

3. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night sweating (well, not really), thinking maybe it is good to be religious, even if religion is nonsense. I'm a very logical person, and am very interested in the integrity of my thoughts. But maybe, just maybe, there are situations in which believing in nonsense is actually better ? I don't think I need religion to be better, but most people are different. Maybe there are a lot of religious people out there which are better people because of the religion ? Maybe if we prove them wrong (as if), they will stop being religious, but in the process will loose other values they now posses ? This is a difficult issue for me, which I don't have a good answer right now.

4. We can try and general "religion" into any blind belief in something. If we do that we can add to the god-religion other religions: science-religion, national-religion, etc. I think it is generally true to do that, and to understand that a lot of times our other beliefs are as shaky as believing in god. Certainly every such belief system has some axioms which are just that - blindly believed axioms. Mind you however that this relativism does not lets us from actually taking a stance (intellectually at least) in supporting science and dismissing religion. Maybe there is nothing a-priori true about science over religion, but there certainly are a lot of post-priori such things.

Well, that's it for now about religion. I guess I will need to revisit some of the points above in future posts.


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