December 25, 2011 § 3 Comments
“The first of the soul’s needs, the one which touches most nearly its external destiny, is order.” – Simone Weil
I am ending this week of looking at religion with more questions than answers. My belief is that in order to believe or reject something you must first know something about it. That will be my obligation for now. I’ve read about Islam, Christianity, Confucianism and Buddhism. I still have more to read up on the Yoruba Religion, Judaism and Daoism. I’m halfway through Christopher Hitchens’s treatise on how religion poisons everything (some light Christmas reading).
The one certainty I am leaving this week with is that religion is one of the great conversations, if not the greatest conversation of mankind. I may not have solidified my own beliefs, but it is fascinating to see how mankind has weighed in on the subject over time.
The more you learn, the more questions arise:
How can “scientific atheists” be atheists when no one has technically disproven the existence of God? Shouldn’t God still be a working hypothesis? What is their closest hypothesis to disproving God?
Can the fact that man has used religion for man-made evil be sufficient evidence God does not exist? or that religion should not exist?
What separated philosophy from religion given their “prophets” arose around the same time? How were Socrates and Aristotle that different from Siddharta and Confucius?
How does each religion account for “thisworldly” vs “otherworldly” concerns?
How does religion differ when you go from fundamentalism to mysticism?
Would we be better off without religion? Would I have been better off without religion?
Why are some aspects of religion about self-reliance while others are about reliance on God? How is it that these evolved within each religion?
I didn’t expect that I would come to any definitive conclusions at the end of this week, even with the tradition of Christmas tugging at me. What did happen is that I stopped looking at religion as something that can be lumped together and then either fully embraced or written off. Rather than believe in this or that, I am now more interested in learning as much as I can from what each has to offer, including what the atheists propose.
God has been identified in philosophy, psychology and religion as Logos, meaning Wisdom or Truth. If I have any means for making a decision for myself about God’s existence then it would make sense to make it my aim to gain as much knowledge as possible. I have some interesting reading to continue.