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The Mutability Of Truth

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Posted by Mario Dovalina on June 21, 2001 18:48:39 UTC

Though the atmosphere of this forum is still largely one of believers versus nonbelievers, there is a trend among the more prominent theists here that has popped up several times in the recent past; rather than defend the truthfulness of religious convictions, they defend religion's subjectivity as valuable in itself (if not indistinguishable from objectivity.) I'll be the first one to say that religion is a cultural adhesive for many billions of people, and is probably an artifact that will always exist, but if one consciously acknowledges its subjectivity, the foundations of faith crumble to dust. Saying that "just because religion is in our heads doesn't matter" is nonsensical when looked at closely.

Religious belief differs from purely subjective belief because subjective belief deals with what is acknowledged to be "just in our heads," such as love, hate, likes, and dislikes, while religious or spiritual belief makes statements about the nature of external reality. (God exists.) A true belief in God is not subjective. Belief in God requires a belief in God's objective prescence: if not, it's not belief; it is either a conscious delusion or it is, as I have stated before, a simple belief in the usefulness of belief. More specifically, a belief that one's beliefs are beneficial. A subjective belief in God typically runs as follows: "Religion is useful for society, so I believe in it." Or, even worse, "Most people believe in a God, so they must be correct."

What is wrong with this argument? Well, from a pragmatic standpoint, nothing. Religious believers are typically happier than atheists and agnostics from my experience, and they are proven to live longer lives. So, from the standpoint of society, religion works. As long as the goal of religion is to better society.

From my experience, though, religion doesn't exist to make people happier. If you read the Bible, it seems to exist to describe the nature of reality (however flawed that description may be.) Adam and Eve were the first people on earth. Jesus died for our sins and was ressurected. If you follow the Ten Commandments you can live forever. These are fairly unambiguous statements. If they exist not for enlightenment but for feeling good, it is essentially being lied to and consciously accepting it. If you believe in God but also believe that that belief is subjective, you are quite skilled at doublethink. Maybe you should look at your reasons for faith a bit closer.


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