Charles Schleicher

Madison, WI, United States

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Charles Schleicher
Posted over 4 years ago
Has religion outlived it's usefulness?
The short answer to the title question for me is that religion has not outlived its usefulness, in much the same way as bipedalism has not outlived its usefulness. This is partly because I have a much broader definition of what religion is than what Tim means by the word. "But when I talk about religion, I'm referring to a belief system based on a holy scripture and/or a divinely based authority." As I understand this definition, the question is about a particular form of religion. Furthermore, other posts suggest that an implicit postulate is being proposed that such a belief system excludes any rational thought. Such a postulate is readily falsifiable. There are hundreds of millions of people who believe in a deity or deities and/or scriptures who also engage in rational thought. All people engage in rationality. All people engage in irrationality. I believe that bad things which are attributed to religion are more accurately attributed to other pressures some of which have been mentioned here: economics, psychological illness, social and political disenfranchisement, etc. Blaming 9/11 on religion, for example, is like blaming 9/11 on the invention of airplanes. Even with this narrow focus on revealed, theistic religion, to me asking Is it still useful? is a bit strange. No one sits down and invents a religion in order to perform a use or to accomplish something. Revealed religion in particular starts as the result of an experience and interpretation of that experience. At the same time it's a dedication and a way of life. One can agree with it or not. One can have other religions or other outlooks. But it's a part of the human experience that exists with or without purpose as an expression of our curiosity and desire to know as well as our desire to love, to give, and to have meaning. Whether one believes in M-theory or not: does that serve a purpose? Perhaps not directly, but it's a manifestation of components of humanness that are very useful.