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Posted by Harv........ on April 12, 2001 22:07:58 UTC


How we treat religion is very much related to our background views. If you're an atheist (which I'm assuming you are), then of course religion is superstition because how could it be anything other. If you were a creationist (which neither of us are), then how could evolution be true since it is the influence of the devil? Our background is everything when approaching a subject, especially something as personal and influential as religion.

What I am trying to say with my philosophical proposition (that a belief in God may not be such a bad idea) is not that we should all run out and buy crucifixes to hang on our wall, rather it is that if we look at the world with the idea that theism is warranted then we have reason to adopt a religious conception of the world. That doesn't mean that we incorporate a fundamentalist religion, it means simply that a viewpoint that establishes spiritual principles as primary to our existence is not such a bad thing.

Spiritual principles such as that the world has a purpose - a real purpose - is certainly one derivative of this whole idea of an ontological God structure 'out there'. Whether we are individually part of that purpose or not, it seems that it is reasonable to say the world is caused by something incomprehensibly intelligent, and that somehow our existence is intimately tied to this existence.

If you are willing to admit people the intellectual freedom to adopt religious principles by which to live by (e.g., expressing a spiritual purpose toward life without undue criticism), then who cares if superstition is intermingled with it? Did anyone care that Michael Jordan insisted on wearing no.23 since college (or that he wore his college jersey underneath his Bulls uniform)? I don't think so. We cherished (or at least I did) his enormous gift of atheletic ability which many people witnessed.

My view is that when superstitions get in the way of spiritual principles, then we should criticize the priority of the individual's views. However, almost every modern (major) religion that I know of is much more tied to spiritual principles above the fleshly deeds of that religion. I think a cursory reading of the New Testament (for example, and I could use examples from Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, etc) would indicate a prodding to incorporate spiritual principles to the forefront of one's beliefs.

When this is done, then my view is that religion elevates itself and makes it a very positive source of inspiration for those believers of that religion. If religious teachers (e.g., the Protestant minister Martin Luther King Jr.) continue to propound great spiritual truths for our civilization, then I think our society is all the better off.

Warm regards, Harv

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