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The Truth Is Not Flat Either

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Posted by Harvey on April 26, 2001 21:24:20 UTC

Mario,

I'm not saying that everything a religion says is 'true' (or probably true). I'm saying that religion is a human expression of something deeper within the human psyche and needs to be respected as being part of the individuals that adhere to that religion. In addition, we are better off because of religious differences.

For example, when I visited India a number of years back I was entertained by an older Muslim gentleman (dirt poor) who requested that I have tea while he discussed the power of Allah to me. I didn't mind, and I tried my best to relate to his religious view of the world. However, I've never forgot that experience because it represented a part of what India is (perhaps the most religious country in the world).

Not so long ago I also visited Bali (Indonesia) and a Hindu family was entertaining me and discussing their deeply held Hindu faith (again a dirt poor family - literally, since both of these families had dirt floors in their homes). Each and every experience I've had with people all over the world is that their religion is not just a part of them, it is them. It is who they are and how they view the world.

Now, we can talk about the folly in believing in idols, etc, or we can sit back and enjoy the interesting world that exists because different religions abound. I use these particular examples because I think that its easier to see how religion can add to the exotic character of life and how those experiences make our lives more enriching.

I think we should work for a society that tries to preserve religion for exactly the same reasons why we want to visit an India, or visit a Nepal, or visit Bali, or visit an Amish farm, etc. Religion makes life interesting and exotic. One way to preserve cultures is by preserving the religion that supports it. As a traveller, one of the worst experiences is a secular society (rich or poor). They will often display their culture as a money-generating gimmick, but that is actually worse than experiencing any culture.

The 'facts' that are produced by history, science, economics, philosophy, etc. will influence religion naturally. The key, in my view, is to let this occur naturally so that religion can be preserved while at the same time religion adopts the 'facts' of the world.

Your contention of looking for truth is not viable since truth in moral and metaphysical senses are not obtainable - even in an approximate form (at least ones that we can all agree on from generation to generation and situation to situation). What we have available that we can all agree on is the special experiences of being human and all the variety and spices of life that being human has produced. Religion is part of this human experience, but due to its central role in human beliefs, it seems to be one of the focal points in keeping culture and tradition alive. If scientism and secularism had its way, perhaps there won't be any exotic cultures - just people going to Nordstrom's and people making their way to Fifth Avenue. Do you really want that for the world?

Warm regards, Harv

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