The truth is that both religious revival and secularization are morally ambiguous processes. Both heal and destroy. We still desperately need a way of welcoming diversity that does not deteriorate into nihilism, and a sober recognition that neither religious nor secular movements are good or bad as such.
I can understand the people who are encouraged by the worldwide revival of religion today. The victims of atheistic and antireligious regimes are just as dead as those of clericalist terror.
[It's a reaction to] not just the religious right, but any kind of religious institution or spokesman that is claiming more than religion can legitimately claim. I think humility ought to be one of the marks of any authentic religion. We don’t see a whole lot of humility on the part of many religious people now, or religious institutions, and I think that evokes a kind of legitimate criticism. After all, if we are talking about God, we are talking about a reality that nobody can really define — the unfathomable, the unnamable.
Some religious faith is indifferent to evidence, but a lot of religious beliefs are based on weighing evidence the way a jury does. Do I believe this testimony? Is this source trustworthy? Where did these documents really come from? Has science actually disproved the possibility of miracles, or simply failed to observe one in the wild?
And like a jury, different people will come to different conclusions, but that doesn't mean that there has been no evidence presented.
When I meet somebody who says, “I don’t believe in God,” I say, “Describe the God you don’t believe in. I probably don’t believe in that God either.”
It’s too bad [that some people can't believe in anything they can't prove], because they are going to run into a lot of things in life that they can’t prove that they have got to deal with. I mean things like love, for example.
I think of Richard Dawkins as the kind of Jerry Falwell of the atheists. In a way, he’s a kind of fundamentalist. I will explain why. He takes the most narrow and the most legalistic side of religion and makes that religion, and then he’s against it, whereas Jerry Fallwell takes the most legal and literalistic side, and he supports it. But in a way curiously they agree with each other....
An atheist seems to me a person who has searched out and thought about all the options and insists there isn’t any God or anything like God, and I know that and no further evidence is going to change my mind.
sotonohito, I'd have been glad to have the discussion you suggested in the first paragraph, but the rest of your post tells me, clearly, that you're not actually interested in that discussion. It's quite obvious that you've already gone and made up your mind about what kind of "faith that a religious person has in their religion." Your entire argument is fallacious. Your view on religion is based on anecdotes and straw men.
You're a blind man asking me what a sunset is like, waiting to jump on me with criticisms based on what you know about optic nerves and inconsistencies based on what other sunset-observers have told you.
On more than one occasion we have heard a Japanese asked by a European traveller what his religion was,—whether Buddhist or Shinto,—and have been amused at his look of blank perplexity. He could not, for the life of him, make out what the enquirer was driving at. It is the established custom to present infants at the Shinto family temple one month after birth. It is equally customary to be buried by the Buddhist parish priest. The inhabitants of each district contribute to the festivals of both religions alike, without being aware of any inconsistency. They do not draw the hard and fast distinctions with which we are familiar.
[It] is true that the shrines of state Shinto are the monuments and tombs of men who have rendered conspicious service for the state. In this respect they differ not at all from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington and the Cenotaph in London.
« Older UGO. The latest project by MIND and Jeff K-ray.... | Banned Books Week, held annual... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt