General Question

exo20811's avatar

What logical reasons do people give for rejecting religion in general, christianity specifically?

Asked by exo20811 (55points) April 17th, 2009

A concise listing will do. Just trying to compile all the common and not so common reasons.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

78 Answers

GAMBIT's avatar

It is pushed on them.

The people who are pushing it aren’t living good lives themselves.

Too many contradictions.

Can not tell facts from fiction.

No faith.

hearkat's avatar

I explain that I haven’t found a religion that truly fits what my personal beleifs are; and that I find organized religion too full of dogma and hypocrites.

3or4monsters's avatar

I have no problem with the religion itself. I have no problem with God or Jesus or any of the saints or facets of other organized religion.

I reject organized religion because human beings are inherently flawed, and religion is the tool often used in dismantling our fellow man, just as often as it is used to help one another. So in sum, I don’t have a problem with religion, but with it’s followers, who are often all too eager to condemn/judge/dismiss those whose ideologies might differ (even slightly!) from their own.

There are too many people of faith who look down their noses at everybody else, who dislike and revile anyone who doesn’t believe as they do. I feel it undermines/erodes everything faith stands for and all the good works done by humans in the name of their gods.

I can’t subscribe to that with a clear conscience.

Your friendly neighborhood agnostic.

loser's avatar

Not believing in God.

crisw's avatar

So many reasons- here are just a few:
– The problem of evil, especially animal suffering, and the failure of Christianity to explain it.
– The problem of evil in relation to a supposedly “omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent” God.
– The fact, readily apparent to any outside observer, that the Bible is as much a work of fiction as any other religious document that Christians reject without a problem.
– The fact that there is no phenomenon in the universe that cannot be explained without recourse to a God.
– The total lack of any convincing evidence for the presence of a god in this world today.

Well, that’s a start.

jrpowell's avatar

We might be looking at this the wrong way.

What are the logical reasons for believing in Christianity?

I’m drawing a blank.

noelasun's avatar

The unavoidable tendency of the Church to get political; leaving behind whatever it was they supposed to be preaching.

I really think its the human aspect of it. Good thing + Human selfish ambition…

AstroChuck's avatar

It’s not a matter of rejection, I just don’t believe; simple as that.

dynamicduo's avatar

I don’t need it, it’s as simple as that.

When I look at what I can accomplish with my two hands versus what Religion has given to me, it’s clear as raisins that religion has provided me with nothing whereas my own abilities have provided me with everything. Thus, the burden is on religious folks to show why it’s needed, and I’ve heard of no reasons that make sense to me.

kevbo's avatar

We all have direct access to “universal creation.” We don’t need an intermediary, except to dilute our “personal” power and hand it over to someone else.

I rejected Catholicism because I believe it’s an all-or-nothing proposition, and I could not abide by the all. The idea of choosing another Christian religion to replace Catholicism never really got legs.

Qingu's avatar

Page 1 of the Bible says a god created the earth and the sky from waters, formed the sky to separate the waters above it from the waters below it. It says the sun, moon, planets and stars were all formed after the earth and sky, and placed into the sky—revolving around the earth. Animals, plants, and finally humans were created in days.

This is Babylonian mythology.

Furthermore, it contradicts page 2 of the Bible, which says humans were created from clay before plants and animals. Human creation from clay also happens to be Babylonian mythology.

Do you want me to go on to page 3, with the talking snake and magic fruit? Or is that enough to discredit the Bible as a source of metaphysical truth?

peterkronengold's avatar

Simply put…PROVE it to me and I’ll be a believer. This has NEVER happened on a mass scale in modern times. Faith is a cop out.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I found it lacking, and mostly what it lacks is good honest morality. What better reason is there than that?

kevbo's avatar

Napolean has two quotes about religion that I find interesting. He said that if he were to choose a religion he would worship the sun. He also said that religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.

Mamradpivo's avatar

The blind obedience promoted by the church.
The historical and contemporary opposition of religious groups to logic and science.
And I don’t find the origin of life story realistic or compelling.

Qingu's avatar

I don’t think the behavior of believers or the Catholic church is a “logical reason” to reject Christianity.

ubersiren's avatar

Not feeling like they have “proof.”

Adding up all the contradictions religions contain.

Hearing 2 people who supposedly have the same beliefs argue over translation.


Other life theories make more sense to them.

Hearing only extremes of a religion can be a turn off.

If snakes are used, it could be a turn off

If tongues are being spoken, it could be a turn off

If your youth pastor was arrested for pedophilia (this happened to me!)

If you ask a question in church and are told you’re a stupid devil worshipper (this happened to me!)

If your pastor has a lazy eye. (me!)

If you don’t understand it.

If a religion itself is scary, like voodoo.

If it’s being forced by family

If it’s being “sold” door to door

Its representatives are not typically the brightest crayons in the box.

Its representatives are often off-putting in many ways.

No questions are ever really answered- Church leaders tell you not to question anything and that God will give you all the answers in Heaven. In other words, “blindly follow and keep your mouth shut.”

Some religious sects do things that just feel wrong to our humanity- like flying planes full of people into crowded New York buildings. And that mars the reputation of the rest of the sects.

Followers of any religion seem brainwashed and are not in control of their own lives.

The Bible says that women on their periods may not leave the house.

The Bible says that you may not eat shellfish in Leviticus (in the beginning of the Bible). The Bible later says you can eat shellfish in Jude (second to last book of the Bible). Nobody likes to miss out on crab cracking in Maryland, ok!?!!?

The Bible says you may not wear cotton/poly blend.

The Bible says you must kill your children if they get snippy.

The Bible says you must obey your parents, but doesn’t clarify if that includes abusive, mentally ill, or inept parents.

In the Bible, a serpent talks to a woman in a garden.

In the Bible, a whale swallows a man whole.

In the Bible, cutting a man’s hair takes away his super-human strength.

I’ll stop now, but I was a voluntarily church-going kid. I loved going with my grandmother from 2 years old, even though my parents were non-religious. I loved the singing and I loved the candy I was given every Sunday. I loved church until high school, when I guess I grew a brain and realized… a lot. I do miss the singing though.

tinyfaery's avatar

Like @dynamicduo, I just don’t feel I need it. I do not need a dogma telling me how to think or to tell me what is good and what is bad. I can figure that out for myself. I also do not need comfort when facing the unknown. I do not need to believe in an afterlife or that bad people will get what they deserve.

Qingu's avatar

@ubersiren, let’s be fair to the Bible. It doesn’t say “whale,” it says “fish.”

kevbo's avatar

Well, at the very least they are common reasons. And if you’ve ever believed (as most Catholics do) that Catholicism is the only legitimate (or most legitimate) Christian religion, then rejecting Christianity in the manner I describe is, in fact, logical.

And how is it logical to reject a religion that is based in the divinity of a man who is meant to be the salvation of humanity based on texts that make no reference to him and that are held in common with other major world religions? Who’s to say that Babylonian mythology and Genesis aren’t both derivations of a universal truth told allegorically? One doesn’t have to believe that stuff literally to be a Christian.

oratio's avatar

I am not an atheist because I want to. I really would love to be able to believe in a god, cause I see how some people feel such joy of having that faith. It’s just that the more I learn about christianity the less I can believe it. I can’t say there is no god. But if there is, it’s not the god of the bible.

fundevogel's avatar

Religion proved not only unhelpful, but detrimental to my quest to better understand the world. Considering I had been taught that religion was meant illuminate my understanding I determined it was not serving the purpose advertised and discarded it as I would any other product that failed to live up to its marketing.

I will also never buy frozen vegan burritos again.

fireside's avatar

Well, if I can join the atheist/agnostic party, I moved on from Christianity because I couldn’t find any reason to believe that God was only for one group and not for everyone in the world. (if they chose to believe)

Qingu's avatar

Jesus’ salvation makes no sense unless you believe in Yahweh, his father, from whom he is saving us from. As the first page of Genesis makes clear, Yahweh is a mythological deity in the fashion of ancient Mesopotamian religion. There is no more reason to believe in Yahweh than there is in Marduk or Baal, so if you reject all of these deities it makes no logical sense to not reject Yahweh.

I don’t think it’s fair to judge the truth value of a belief system based on the behavior of its adherents. You can certainly make other judgments based on such behavior, though.

kevbo's avatar

Well, we were never in disagreement on your second point, but one can certainly (and logically) judge a truth value of a belief system based on its dogma.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I’m supposed to “eat and drink” some dude in remembrance of him and so I can be saved from eternal damnation? If I’m not a good person, my soul is going to end up forever burning in a lake of fire? A “spirit” can sexually coerce (and that’s at the very least) a young girl, impregnating her and leaving her vulnerable to the shaming of her community and that’s OK?

Did anyone actually read any of this before deciding that it was OK to teach it to people? Really? Because none of those things seems logical to me.

Tangent_J's avatar

In my experience, religion has always been about control and oppression. So as a thinking adult, to see what organized religion does to people, I reject it.

kevbo's avatar

On second thought, the question doesn’t require a judgement of the truth value of Christianity, merely a logical reason to reject it.

If swimming requires coordinated movement of arms and legs and I have no arms or legs or I have no coordination or I simply don’t like getting wet, then it’s logical for me to reject swimming. That position obviously doesn’t preclude or detract from others’ inclination to jump in the pool and doing whatever they please in the name of swimming.

Crusader's avatar

Opportunism. Lack of/disinterest in Ethics.

3or4monsters's avatar

@Crusader A person can have an ethical outlook on life, and still be an athiest. Compassion and empathy teaches us that hurting, stealing, and damaging other people and the world around us is a Bad Thing. It’s obvious. Religion isn’t necessary, but it DOES help people who are unable to feel these things.

Ivan's avatar

A lack of evidence.

Crusader's avatar

3or4 monsters said; ‘Religion isn’t necessary, but it does help
people who are unable to feel these thing.’
Ok, interesting position, with your reasoning, most of the world
most heinous villians were ‘religios’

First, declaring a faith and Following it are very different
indeed, it is typically an atheist doctrine that overrides
Christianity, as in the World, the animal kingdom is
decided by the most intelligent, adaptable, strongest,
coordinated fastest, and toughest, usually in that order.

That said, whites dominated the world with technology,
adaptability, with northern asians nearly equal but slightly
less adaptable. Survival of the Fittest is and should be
the over-riding principle of all Atheists, as evolution and
animals do, so should we, accordingly. This logic is
irrefutable. Where is compassion and empathy evinced in
nature? How much empathy and compassion will you find in
a cannibal tribe in Africa? Perhaps some for your boiled

Where do you derive your examples for Compassion and
Empathy if not from religions that incorporate and
integrate a(n often complex) system of ethics you will
probably never attempt to understand if you were capable
of comprehending it at all?

Love the Lord thy God and thy Neighbor as Thyself…
Sounds like Compassion and Empathy to me…
Did that messege come from a rock? Or a bird?
Perhaps an enlightened Chimpanzee with sign language?

Ivan's avatar


“This logic is irrefutable.”

Heh, at least you’re open minded about it.

Empathy is a byproduct of evolution.

3or4monsters's avatar

@Crusader said, “Where is compassion and empathy evinced in nature?”

Elephants mourn their dead (empathy) and dolphins will defend human beings against sharks. (sympathy).

I’ll leave it at that. I am not interested in trying to change your mind, and I have no interest in subscribing to your newsletter. Neither of us wants to believe what the other believes. I will not longer be following this question, as I don’t feel it is productive for two people set in their ways to natter at eachother without listening. I have more productive things to do with my time.

Crusader's avatar

Ivan said, ‘Empathy is a byproduct of evolution’

Thank you for the response. I was referring to Compassiom
And Empathy…Not one or the other, lets define each…
Shall we..?


Is the capacity to share and understand anothers emotion
and feelings. It is often characterized as the ability to ‘put oneself in anothers shoes.‘Or in some way experience what another is feelings. Empathy doen not necessarily imply,
compassion, sympathy, empathic concern, becaus this capacity can be present in the face of cruel behavior.’

Thus to gain advantage over another through superior
intelligence, (cunning.) Again, natural product.

I believe you are interpreting a Biological imperative
with the elephants, yes, and wolves also, good examples.
Could this apply to other species..this empathy?

With dolphins, this is a good example, along with elephants and wolves, all social animals, yes? All who’s
outward display of empathy/sympathy serves to reinforce
the solidarity-and as such-survaival, of the group.

Dolphins are unique in the sense they protect humans
from their common adversary, the shark. Dophins are Highly
intelligent, one of the most intelligent mammals next
to humans. They remember. I beleive they are intelligent
enough to know it is better to befriend humans, and what
better way than protecting a human from a shark? Then,
to be harvested from humans for food…Again, survival of
the Most intelligent, or, fit…..

In addition, animals, last time I checked,
not to sound overly facicious, when have they
ever domesticated the world? What is their contribution
other than to associated with their group, eat, be eaten,
and reproduce?

With Great Capacity comes Great

Certainly their is a degree of empathy in the animal
world but is that really compassion? Or simply a more
advanced form of survival mechanism? Can they reason
enough to plan for a harvest years in advance, or do
they perish when the food supply is extinct?
Do they live and die by the environmental changes
Or have they influence in those changes?

Those Who sin against the greater light will
recieve the greater condemnation…

Knotmyday's avatar

No “rejection” on my part.

Just disinterest.

@Crusader- mmmm, delicious dolphins. Not only are they yummy yummy yummy, but my fellow intelligent, fit humans and I have so much fun harvesting them for food. (Not to be facicious.)

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I don’t believe in omnipotent beings. I believe in people.

If people are creations of God then God should be ok with that.

Qingu's avatar

@Crusader, are you suggesting the the melanin count of people’s skin pigmentation causes the cultures they form to be more adaptive?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I had an answer to the question ‘When was the last time animals domesticated the world?’ asked by crusader, but I really don’t have the strength to get into a debate with some religious junkie over what is worthy of worship and what isn’t. That, and this question asked for reasons for rejecting Christianity; it didn’t ask for a freaking debate between theists and nonbelievers. So I’m done following this particular question. As Harriet Hall says in my latest SI magazine, “it is useless to argue with someone who doesn’t play by the rules of science and reason. If no amount of evidence will change your opponent’s mind, you are wasting your breath.” She was talking about creationists, but its the same thing to me.

LostInParadise's avatar

Because in the end religion is about nothing, all talk and ritual. It makes no real difference. Life goes on the same. Bad things can happen to good people, good things can happen to bad people. As to what happens to us after we die, who can tell?

madcapper's avatar

Just as I don’t believe in Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings I also do not believe in the Bible…

madcapper's avatar

@Crusader are you a religious zealot who just got on fluther to argue questions like this? I am basing this on your responses and name choice. March on… Christian soldier.

Qingu's avatar

I’m actually pretty sure he’s a white supremacist. But I’ll let him form his own arguments.

Crusader's avatar

Thank you all for your input.
I will pray for you.

madcapper's avatar

@Crusader please don’t…

Crusader's avatar

Too late, sorry, (I’m not really sorry..)

LostInParadise's avatar

If it makes you feel good to preserve your smug sense of superiority over us non-believers then go ahead and do it. You will have to excuse me for not being appreciative.

Crusader's avatar

If telling the truth is smug to you,
then this is your perception. Light heartedness
is unfortunately replaced with cynicism, sarcasm,
and suspicion in these latter days. God loves you all, believer or not.
I, for one, would have all believe so that they
may enjoy the eternal blessings of Jesus also, that is
the one and the all of it…

fundevogel's avatar

@Crusader – The thing is, most people who don’t share your faith are going to be annoyed at the very least if you indicate that you’re praying for your god to brainwash them. Yes that’s what it sounds like when it’s directed at you. But the fact of the matter is, you can actually pray for god to brainwash us without ever letting us know. Telling us doesn’t in any way contribute to your prayers or your gods ability to answer them. So telling us just comes across as you rubbing your divinely authorized opinion in our faces.

Go ahead and pray, just know that if you feel the need to tell us about it, it isn’t because you want our hearts opened to god. It’s because there is something personally satisfying for you in the act of telling us this.

Is there even one other situation when it is considered socially acceptable to tell someone you are going to actively work to change who they are against their will?

And how is it that this is an exception?

Crusader's avatar

Thank you for the post.

‘is their even on other situatio when it is considered socially acceptable to tell someone you are going to actively work to change who they are against their will?

Well, for liberals, encouraging feminization of often (white) and instructing the masses the pimps are cool
and prosititution is a noble profeesion,

For conservative, Jesus did also, defying convention
yet instead of a booty call, lusty life, or money
he was reviled and Crucified.

madcapper's avatar

@Crusader I prayed for you too… to Satan… at my altar… tonight’s sacrifice: a mormon.

fundevogel's avatar

@Crusader – There is a big difference between endorsing a particular behavior or philosophy and using supernatural forces to compel behavior or direct thought.

In the you examples you give both liberals and Jesus endorsed a certain behavior, they don’t just bust out their pocket watches and hypnotize people into being different, which is essentially what you’re trying to do.

And on a side note, the pimp/prostitute thing doesn’t actually apply to this unless liberals are suggesting that we shuck the shackles of our boring lives and become pimps and prostitutes. Either way I would dearly love for you to actually provide an unbiased reference showing any liberal saying the things you claim. Preferably from straight from the liberals mouth. Shouldn’t be too hard. If liberals are trying to convince us of the awesomeness of pimps and prostitution they’ll need to get the word out and they’re going to have to be clear about their stance.

You know, if they’re serious about this issue.

Crusader's avatar

I pray to God you all reap exactly what you have sown.
In Jesus name, amen.

fundevogel's avatar

God doesn’t like a showy prayer either.

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people in order to be noticed by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:1

And whenever you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they will be seen by people. I tell you with certainty, they have their full reward!

But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees from the hidden place will reward you.

Matthew 6:5–6

Crusader's avatar

‘exort you brother, sister with correction’

‘support the beleiver with psalms’

‘Beware the hypocrite for they are as the snake, two-tongued,
allowing injustice and wickedness to prosper’

Crusader's avatar

Jesus Prayed Openly for others also,

‘Forgive them father for they know not what they do…’

Interested how some people will overlook human sacrifice
in the guise of freedom of speech yet
debate over the relevancy or PC of praying for someone.

fundevogel's avatar

“exort you brother, sister with correction”

“support the beleiver with psalms”

Praying for me is not “extorting correction” nor were there any psalms anywhere to be seen in your discourse with me or any one else in this question. And also, I’m not a believer so that particular commandment doesn’t apply to me anyway.

“Beware the hypocrite for they are as the snake, two-tongued,
allowing injustice and wickedness to prosper”

I have yet to be a hypocrite, that would require me to violate my own personal behavioral code while pressing it upon you. I can however refer you to your own text without being a hypocrite, since I don’t claim to follow it. I was just reminding you that you do, claim to do so I mean.

“Jesus Prayed Openly for others also,

‘Forgive them father for they know not what they do…’”

Well at the time he was nailed to a cross dyin’ for your sins so I think we can cut him some slack for not jumping off his cross, going home, closing the door and praying in private. I doubt you have such a good excuse.

Intereted how some people will overlook human sacrifice
in the guise of freedom of speech yet
debate over the relevancy or PC of praying for someone.

I never endorsed any sort of sacrifice nor did I evoke the term PC. I said it was annoying.

Crusader's avatar

As a non-beleiver, who are you to interpret what
the Christian books mean? You have not the discerment of
the Holy Spirit. Believers know this.

Your agenda is clear, and clever, perhaps for profit?
Why should anyone even care what anyone does
after all, live for the now, eat, drink, and revel
today for tomorrow we all might die, right?

I do not agree with your terms, and you with
mine, that we can agree on.

You are a moral equivalence advocate, I am not
can we agree on that, if nothing else?

It is interesting how people can adopt personally
benifitting principles and abandon the rest,
immediately, if they benifit personally from
the abandoment, this is much more the rule than the
exception, particulary in USA. It is Hard to maintain
belief and love for others when the reciprocation
is contempt and loathing.

Also, no believers here I can detect, (though I am not
certain,) I am in a thread
disputing my beliefs, so Psalms are not appropriate.
It is my perogative to exerceize my freedom of speech
as it is yours, religious beliefs do not alter this.

Jesus prayed openly Often, something called the
Lords prayer in front of hundreds. And more.
Fortunately I am not a devout Muslim and you made a
Muhammed remark,orI might fly into a murderous rage over
your flippant remarks about Him who you
do not believe anyway, I understand why
the Islamic faith reacts this way, however.
Also, no tolerance for deviation from
what we could call Ultra conservative values.
They way things are going they will probably
rule us anyway, and for the better,
for me anyway, certainly not for people
like yourself. But I will be sad nevertheless.

Why do you try to put forth yourself as an authority?
What is your benefit? Are you so afraid of me that
you need to result in ad hominems and not topics?

No, you did not endorse sacrifice, I never
indicated you had done so, I said ‘overlooked’
For the individual referring to the sacrificing
evidently was not interesting enough or aligned
closely enough with your value system that
it was not worth considering, much less mentioning
Your entire directive is towards me.

No, you are a (implied) hypocrite no longer. (Christians
use scripture to exhort one another, too,) You are
honest about your non-belief, that I can respect more so

fireside's avatar

“Your agenda is clear, and clever, perhaps for profit?”

Yeah, I can see how she stands to gain monetarily from telling you that your posts are annoying. We’re all sending her money through PayPal right now.

You have, however, provided some very good examples of why people reject Christianity due to their assumption that all believers are adamant proselytizers. That is off-putting and not at all what Jesus advocated when he suggested that you love your brother more than yourself. You want an example of a good honest humble Christian, look to Judi.

Crusader's avatar

Yes, perhaps I was not completely kind in that
agenda remark, it was a reaction to actually
believing the previous posts or scripture made were
from a kindred spirit, not devices used to
undermine. Particularly when the reference to
sacrificing a M.. to S… was ignored, as you have done..

However, I do appreciate the example of good honest
and humble also in Judi, yet humble does not necessarily
mean passive. Jesus was not passive in the temple
when it was a merchants area, nor to the Pharasees.
(He was quite upset in these instances…)
Nor was he passive regarding the fig tree that
withered under his touch as an example of what
happens to those who do not follow righteousness,
they do not bear fruit.

Furthermore, profit can be calculated in terms
of personal satisfaction, not simply monetary,
yet, I do know of bloggers who are compensated
so this is not as unlikely as you may think
considering they are almost uniformally centrist/
and/or very liberal both adverse to evangelists
in any case.

fireside's avatar

Lashing out at one for the sayings of another is not right, would you agree?

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
(Matthew 18:4–6)

Do you think your words are not offensive to any other believers?

When Jesus cast out the money changers from the temple, he said “Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise” (John 2:16)

Are you suggesting that Fluther is God’s temple?

fundevogel's avatar

@fireside “We’re all sending her money through PayPal right now.”


@Crusader“It is my perogative to exerceize my freedom of speech
as it is yours, religious beliefs do not alter this.”

I never tried to infringe on your right to say what you wish, I was just pointing out that the references you were making weren’t relevant. Silly me.

fundevogel's avatar

@CrusaderAs a non-beleiver, who are you to interpret what the Christian books mean?”

It’s not exactly Greek (anymore). Anyone can read it and sort it out themselves. No secret decoder ring necessary. If you had to be in the club to hear god’s message no one could ever actually hear it without already having it. And that clearly isn’t the case.

Crusader's avatar


‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,’

Pontius Pilate,

‘What is Truth?’

At some point, a degree of faith Is necessary,
Not unlike the synaptic cleft, transforming
electrical nueral impulses into chemical and back
again at the next brain cell…
A Leap of Faith…with evidence behind us (the Word)
and ahead of us, (prophesy.)

tinyfaery's avatar

Can I just say, whoa. Birdies chirping…tweet, tweet, tweet…

Knotmyday's avatar

Well, at least it wasn’t random.

madcapper's avatar

@Crusader are you fluthering judgement form your fathers right hand side? Could it be that your are the great and powerful Jesus?

thegodfather's avatar

I think Charles Hartshorne at least offers insight into why pitting the problem of evil on Christianity is rather weak, in “Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes.”

I take issue with the question at hand only because it assumes an absolute definition of “religion.” This term is highly problematic. What is religion, then…? Belief in something supernatural? Well, science, admittedly, accepts certain axioms to do its work of observation, but science itself is still only concerned with empiricism. We could go on, though, since the term “science” also is a loaded, loaded word. Or is religion some kind of cult, requiring tightly held beliefs within a community of fellow believers? That could be said also of other enterprises that don’t immediately resemble religious expression, etc. My point being that an all-out rejection of “religion” akin to what Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, and others advocate, requires much more nuance and explanation. On the surface, I’m not satisfied when a human being says, “religion is bad because it’s responsible for so much violence in the world.” In a way, religious feeling has fueled the early scientists who found something in their faith to question and test and examine.

But I don’t presume to debate this topic so thoroughly here; it’s just not the right setting. I only suggest that as we engage in questions like the one posted here, we work carefully with the terms before assuming too much. I don’t wish to categorize “science” and “religion” in ways that sets up the false dilemma fallacy, though I’m very much committed to scientific rigor and evidence, as well as the study of religions and why people engage in religious expression.

fundevogel's avatar

@thegodfather – Religion exists as concept and that concept is represented by a word. I rather doubt that your concept of religion is so radical that it does not somehow fit websters definition, and if doesn’t, well you’re not talking about religion at all are you?

We really can’t understand each other if I think when you say religion you’re talking about a belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe, with either a personal or institutional system of worship when what you really mean is…knowing and loving yourself is the key to happiness. That would be a stumbling block.

We’ll give that crazy, non-religion religion a word of its own and a definition. Like knovingness.

Qingu's avatar

@thegodfather, I agree with you in the sense that I prefer to focus my criticism towards the content of religion—namely the Bible and the Quran, as well as the associated beliefs and traditions of various sects of the religion.

thegodfather's avatar

@Qingu, The discussion about the relevancy of religion definitely needs to continue in our public discourse. New Atheism (or neo-atheism, as some call it) raises some valid concerns, especially in the contexts of social justice, equality, human interpersonal communication and expression, warfare, and so on. So I don’t want to make it at all seem like I’m not in favor of this discussion; actually, I very much feel the opposite. However, often these discussions lack what I feel is a necessary level of sophistication for them to bear any fruit. When the technicalities of the discourse get glossed over, we can mistakenly perpetuate straw-man arguments, and I find this issue of religion, and the merits or faults of religion, of enough complexity to warrant such discipline and rigor. In other words, the parameters of discourse to be of enduring use to anyone must acknowledge that Webster is not the final source on defining words, it’s only a (re)source. In a non-religious vein, consider the full import of a word like “progressivism” and what it means in historical and sociological contexts. I just don’t think the dictionary or an acceptable definition will suffice if we want to discredit progressivism on the whole. And the same holds true for something as ubiquitous and consequential (for good or ill) as religion. You’re right, the content of religion is what needs to be assessed when approaching these questions, not some abstract notion of religio, but that content on both sides of the discourse must be objectively and accurately approached. I’m skeptical of both non-religionists and religionists when the discourse reduces the one camp or the other to a basic assumption of what these expressions or non-expressions mean.

So, with this (more or less) qualified idea of religion, I think moving oneself beyond religious expression and into a complete form of secularism would be challenging though certainly possible. I don’t have a concrete answer on this, in fact, I’m currently working through coursework in religious studies in an effort to make sense of these questions for myself. But I will say that I hope one would use rigorous and critical analysis of their own feelings and desires for life, and make a determined effort to study before either lambasting religion/secularism or moving from one lifestyle to the other.

tinyfaery's avatar

I just figured it would be synagogue and not church. My quick google search yielded a few sites that discuss it.

fireside's avatar

@tinyfaery – well, this isn’t the same thread where we had started talking about Matthew 16:18 but here is a good article about that.

tinyfaery's avatar

Oops. Sorry about that. Thanx.

talljasperman's avatar

Because people want something better than what they have….an unchanging religion stifles progress.

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