Seth Tichenor

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Comments & conversations

Seth Tichenor
Posted over 1 year ago
Is there any way to prevent religious debates from turning into a big fight?
I don’t think conversations about religion need devolve into fights, but it does require a deeper understanding of religions. Here’s what I mean. A complaint I’ve heard about religion is that it must be understood as a set of literal guidelines for human belief. The criticism presumes that religions require their followers to blindly hold to dogma as a strict set of one to one of facts in order to be consistent. Since these religions are usually held within an antiquated and stifling cosmology, they end up being culturally destructive, intellectually stultifying, and spiritually desultory because they achieve little beyond chasing after their own shadows and delusions. It’s under this pallor that religion is often criticized. I recognize how this sort of criticism comes about, but I think religion (as a whole, anyway) is different from this. For one thing, I think the failure of some religions isn’t an indictment of religion wholly so much an example of religious morbidity. Religions live by struggling perpetually to continue speaking meaningfully in a changing world, a struggle they often fail at. But these struggles are not condemnations of religion so much as natural challenges faced by religion simply being itself. Fundamentalism is more religion’s sick face than its true face. Even more than this though, I see religion as a way of being conscious of the universe in it’s totality. It comes from the radically narrative and lyrical character of our mind’s arrangement and production of meaning, and is inescapable. In fact, provided we are able to think about religion in a functional and fruitful way, I see very little reason why we should ever want to do away with it. Our religious consciousness is a basic part of what we are, existentially speaking, as thinking and caring beings. The inescapability of religion (and more specifically religious consciousness) is precisely why we must look to understand religion in all its trappings; something to do deeply & well.