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Browsing Posts tagged religion

It occurred to me today that any naturalistic argument against supernatural beliefs is inherently flawed from an angle I hadn’t considered before.  I came to this conclusion while listening to some Christmas music and reflecting on the beauty of the seasons and how well they meet the human desire for variety and our appreciation for both cold and warm weather activities.  I was thinking about how awesome it is that God designed the earth’s precessional rotation in this way so that nature could undergo its seasonal changes and so humans could enjoy them.  But as I often do when considering supernatural ideas, I also thought of what other explanations there may be for this wonderful pairing of nature and human pleasure.  As I considered that natural selection could have tuned our minds to appreciate this cyclical pattern much as the plant and animal kingdoms do, I began thinking of other places this line of thinking can lead.

This led me to consider the idea that religion, too, is the product of natural selection.  This isn’t a novel idea, but I thought about what it means for naturalists who like to argue against religion on the grounds that it has caused a great deal of harm to humanity throughout history.  If there is nothing but the natural, as they purport to believe, then religion too must have been naturally selected.  But if religion is as harmful to humanity’s development and progress as naturalists claim, then why hasn’t it been naturally deselected by now?  Certain religions have fallen by the way-side, yes, but humanity’s collective choice to embrace the idea of a supernatural has hardly diminished throughout our short history.  In fact, it is alive and well now as ever, despite the best efforts of naturalists to fight it.

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A recent blog post of mine was the beginning of an online exchange between myself and a friend and coworker, Marcelo.  Marcelo and I disagree on the subject of God’s existence, he being a naturalist while I’m a Christian.  But we also enjoy a good, reasonable discussion, and thought that even if we don’t end up changing each other’s beliefs in the matter, it could be a mentally stimulating exercise that could broaden both of our perspectives.  If you’re interested in this topic, I encourage you to follow along on my site and on his.  The following is in response to his post linked below.

Response to “Religious Worldview: It Doesn’t Suit Me

Marcelo wrote: One set of rules tells me that questioning is bad and that I’ll go to hell if I even think about questioning it. The other one tells me that if I question the rules and find something interesting, I may even get a prize for it and perhaps be recognized in history as a smart person. It also doesn’t require me to “believe” anything, for everything is discoverable. If I want, I can try to prove it all by myself, and unless I make a mistake, or find an error in their rules, I’ll arrive to the same conclusions. Needless to say, I’d rather spend 60 years trying to understand the Big Bang than reading a story that must not be tampered with, or I’ll forever roast in a pit of lava while others rejoice.

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Tonight at the Bible study I attend, the issue of abortion came up.  Our brief discussion inspired me to expand upon some points I made in a post a year ago, which led to a valuable exchange with some friends in the comments: read it here.

I won’t reiterate that entire post, but our conversation tonight reinforced my opinion that the pulpit really isn’t the right place to address this topic.  The moment the church starts making a religious issue out of abortion, we’ve conceded the idea that it is a judgment call that’s determined by personal beliefs.  If being pro-life garners its mandate from a religious movement, its adoption will be largely limited to that sphere.  This approach often leads to debating abortion on an emotional level with women who either wish to assert their feminine rights, or defend their decision in light of the motherly hardships they’d have to endure without the presence of a committed husband/father.  While I feel for the women in these situations, debating the issue in this way is completely beside the point and, again, implies that it is still a personal judgment call.

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