My current thoughts on religion

In order for a religion to be true, its teachings must be consistent with reality. Science is the intellectual tool used to find out what reality is and used to be. Thus, any religious doctrine that contradicts modern science is false. That discredits any form of Biblical literalism. We know the creation stories in the Book of Genesis couldn’t have happened; they are just like all the other creation myths that were made up by primitive peoples before science as a means of discovery was invented.

Likewise, the flood myth of Noah is impossible. It too was a product of prescientific thinking, and has no input from reality. The Babylonians had their own flood myth, as did the Greeks, the Indians, and other peoples. Because…..flooding happens all over the world, but only for a short time and on a local basis. The notion of a worldwide flood lasting for several months is completely unfounded. So we can throw out many of the stories in Genesis.

Credible stories in the Bible seem to start with Abraham. But aside from those stories, we know nothing about him. Shockingly, that is also true of Moses. Did you know there is NO direct evidence that the ancient Hebrews were actually enslaved for centuries in Egypt? NO direct evidence that they wandered in the Sinai desert for decades after leaving Egypt? Archeology first records evidence of them only after they arrive in the land of Canaan and conquer it.

So we can throw out the entire Torah and with it, the ancient Jewish religion and its modern descendants.

Christianity? Started as an effort to reform Judaism under first Jesus and then Peter, but then got hijacked by this upstart known as Paul who also claimed to be an apostle but began teaching the Christian faith to Greeks and Romans. The result was a different religion that was more Pagan in form than Jewish.

Islam began as a means of making a religion that was for Arabs, but the conquests of the Arab Muslims resulted in many non-Arabs converting to Islam. The Quran has many stories that are similar to the ones in the Bible.

The Babi Faith began when the Bab proclaimed himself to be a new Messenger of God. He was killed for this.

The Baha’i Faith began with Baha’u’llah declaring himself to be the future Messenger of God the Bab had foretold. But if you can’t believe in the Bab……in Muhammad……in Jesus……in Moses……or in Abraham……how can you believe in God?

For me, the final solution with regards to religion after looking at ALL of them was to decide that NONE of them were objectively true, but that because people do have different spiritual and emotional needs, there needs to be many different religions in the world. And that means:

  1. Stop trying to convert the entire world to only ONE religion! That is unrealistic.
  2. Attempting to convert the entire world to NO religion by FORCE is also harmful. As long as human beings have free will, there will be a diversity of thought.

So I invented the concept of “Spiritual Orientation” as a means of explaining why there are different faiths and how people leave certain religions and convert to others. And here it is:

https://dalehusband.com/spiritual-orientation-series/

If we leave a religion, it’s because it clashes with our spiritual orientation. Let us respect religious diversity and freedom for all!

One thought on “My current thoughts on religion

  1. Meanwhile:

    https://artvoice.com/2020/09/13/watching-religion-die-in-america/

    {{{Watching Religion Die in America

    September 13, 2020

    Religion is fading more quickly in the United States than in any other nation, according to a forthcoming research book.

    Religion’s Sudden Decline: What’s Causing It and What Comes Next, by University of Michigan scholar Ronald Inglehart, is to be released in January by Oxford University Press. Writing in Foreign Affairs magazine – in an advance summary titled “Giving Up on God: The Global Decline of Religion” – Dr. Inglehart said:

    “The most dramatic shift away from religion has taken place among the American public. From 1981 to 2007, the United States ranked as one of the world’s more religious countries, with religiosity levels changing very little. Since then, the United States has shown the largest move away from religion of any country for which we have data.”

    A profound cultural transformation is in progress – mostly happening quietly out of sight, little-noticed in daily life. Old supernatural beliefs are vanishing among intelligent, educated, science-minded western people, especially the young. Religion is shriveling into the realm of myth and fantasy. Here are some indicators:

    Almost two-thirds of teens who grow up in a church drop out of religion in their twenties, according to both Barna and LifeWay surveys.

    The number of Americans who say their religion is “none” began to explode in the 1990s – rising to one-tenth of the population, then climbing relentlessly to one-fourth. Among those under thirty, “nones” now are 40 percent.

    American church membership fell 20 percent in the past two decades, according to Gallup research. Southern Baptists dropped two million members since 2005.

    Tall-steeple Protestant “mainline” denominations have suffered worst. United Methodists fell from 11 million in 1969 to below 7 million today – while America’s population almost doubled. Evangelical Lutherans dropped from 5.3 million in 1987 to 3.4 million now. The Presbyterian Church USA had 3.2 million in 1982 but now is around 1.3 million. The Episcopal Church went from 3.4 million in the 1960s to 1.7 million now.

    These highbrow mainline faiths with seminary-educated ministers once drew public respect. But religion is shifting to lowbrow, emotional worship that is less admirable. One-fourth of the world’s Christians now “speak in tongues,” researchers say. Christianity is moving from advanced, prosperous, northern nations to the less-developed tropics. It’s losing its status as moral leadership.

    Retreat of churchgoing in America may undercut the Republican Party, which depends on white evangelicals as the heart of its base. In contrast, godless Americans tend to be compassionate progressives who have become the largest faith segment in the Democratic Party. The loss of religion may shift national political values to the left.

    Personally, I hope the Secular Age continues snowballing until supernatural religion becomes only an embarrassing fringe. After all, belief in gods, devils, heavens, hells, miracles, visions, prophecies and the rest of dogma is extremely questionable. It’s all a fantasy, a bunch of falsehoods, as far as any science-minded person can tell. It lacks factual evidence. The more religion declines, the more integrity is gained by society.

    Come to think of it, maybe there’s a correlation: White evangelicals swallow the falsehoods of faith – and they swallow the notorious falsehoods of President Trump. Psychology researchers should study this gullibility pattern.

    James Haught, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is editor emeritus of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail and author of 12 books. }}}

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