How to deal with centuries-honed religious beliefs?
September 20, 2018 at 8:47 pm #24163
Since myths are of human invention, wouldn’t it make sense to discuss them purely as works of fiction, rather than as real-life stories of their characters? The most pertinent questions might then examine and muse about the intent of the myth’s authors, and discover why so many people come to actually believe in the fiction as if it were fact.
I think that tribal tendencies are at the root of the most pervasive of our traditional beliefs. Add to that the growth of civilizations and the invention of the printing press, the power of myths can suddenly go viral, especially when those who wish to rule their people (and other people, for that matter) determine which scriptures should be perpetuated in print, and which mushrooming religious institutions should be enabled to flourish from the bullshit.
Since all gods and scriptures are invented, and a mere few of them get promoted by the human powers that be in their times, the most interesting questions may be about the history of “by whom and why” of their promotion and enforcement. Mocking the mythical characters–including God–is a way for some atheists to blow off steam while under constant mocking and harassment from their local “Belief Police”, but meanwhile, mockery alone doesn’t adequately address the origin and perpetuation of each local religious institution’s bullshit.
And the word “local” here is key, as it is key to tribalism and cultural tradition, and is key to how beliefs perpetuate from one generation to the next. Theists, ask yourself, why are such deeply held beliefs, of any kind, so specifically dependent on the culture in which one is influenced while growing up? Peer pressure, i.e. the locality of one’s face-to-face relationships is what overwhelmingly determines one’s lifelong beliefs. Why, for example, have you chosen Christianity, Islam, et al, if not other than to fit peacefully into your native culture?
Members of humanity have not generally evolved, yet, to accommodate and learn from humans acculturated outside of their local, face-to-face group. Scientists, by the way, choose to be skeptical by nature, throw out the emotional pressures to believe one way or another, and they learn what facts seem to best describe reality by comparing and weighing all the evidence they can observe. Scientists may still mistakes often, but they endeavor to see each other’s mistakes and fix them in the long run, even if it means amending or adding to centuries-old text. If faith ever sways science, it is only temporary and considered a weakness, unlike the permanence of faith that is expected and considered a necessity in religion.
And the texts of science vs religion differ regarding their permanences. Newton’s texts still work today, but have been updated to encompass new discoveries (e.g. per Einstein) in relativity math and theory. Yet adjustment to scripture are scorned as signs of weakness, to be prohibited in perpetuity.
(I dedicate this to open-minded young minds like @justemma.)
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