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October 23, 2006

Of God And Gold

Topics: Faith
"There are many sunken treasure ships that litter the ocean floors, that have never been located. Not finding a sunken Spanish galleon laden with gold, doesn't mean that ship doesn't exist. ... The treasure of faith is to be found in good men of all faiths. If the path or the sound of the ocean is clear and unmuffled, follow it. If it isn't seek out the path, over a lifetime, if necessary. Not finding the path does not mean that path doesn't exist, either."
In their post examining the effects that the idea of God has had on society, and conversely, the effects of a society where God plays no meaningful role, Sigmond Carl and Alfred address Dinesh D'Souza's piece, "God knows why faith is thriving" (he concludes that it is not religion but atheism that requires a Darwinian explanation), and point to our own cultural biases towards non belief as being the result of secularist notions in which freedom from religion is preferable to freedom of religion:
... Our Secularists will argue and point to an unforgiving and oppressive God - exactly the kind of God that no longer exists in the Judeo-Christian ethic (it bears noting that the Islamic fundamentalist idea of Allah is exactly like the kind of religion to which secularists are so opposed- violent, malevolent and oppressive. That said, there are few is any progressive secularists that will confront that reality). It is precisely because the Judeo-Christian belief system is so unlike what the secularists believe, that religion is thriving. They cannot 'argue' a believer out of his or her faith, so they resort a legal system that accommodates their biases against religion.

... It is clear that in any discussion of faith vs non-belief, the vast majority of us have to be talked out of our belief in God. Our instinctive beliefs point to a deity, however we define that deity or spirituality.

... In other words, belief in God appears to be a more natural state of affairs than non belief. Notwithstanding the inevitable (and shallow) arguments that belief in God is for weak people, and other such arguments, ad nauseum, the fact remains that while we may all argue over exactly what He/She/It is, the 'numbers' tell the story. It is reasonable to believe each of us is born with that inherent belief structure.

... In their attempt to talk believers out of their faith (an almost religious obsession for many), non believers will argue about injustice and inequity, about the dark side of religion and a thousand and one other such notions (as if secularism has provided anything other than an even greater amount of darkness). They want to engage believers, in an attempt to shake the faith of believers. There is the decidedly illusory notion that secularists feel that they are on even standing when discussing faith. They are not. In fact, a secularist arguing against faith is like a botanist insisting to a zoologist that their fields of study are the same.

Continue reading, "at Sigmond Carl and Alfred." You won't want to miss the commentary on the two groups of people - the Secular Tribe and the Religious Tribe, and about which of the two is more likely to survive, and why.

In addressing the same Dinesh D'Souza's piece, Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping writes of atheists in, "Can atheism be justified?":

A group of leading atheists is puzzled by the continued existence and vitality of religion.
What an interesting thing for atheists to ponder. In the modern day one either has to accept some kind of deistic understanding of the origin of the universe or an evolutionary understanding that excludes any sort of deity from contributing to the origin of the universe and all contained therein. I am not saying that one must either be religious or non-religious, for the dichotomy is true even for adherents of non-deistic or nature religions. Either deity (or deities) had a hand in existence itself, or it/they did not.

So why would a deity-denying atheist be puzzled that religion is thriving? If evolution as they describe it is true, then religion is itself a product thereof. Not only that, but Judaism is an evolutionary product, so is Christianity, so is Islam, so is Buddhism, so is Shamanisn, so is ... well, you get the idea.

And so is the theory of evolution itself. And astrology. And tarot-card reading. And medical science. And faith healing. And everything else. So why do materialists single out religion as a particularly puzzling thing to exist? Why religion and not, say, athletics or stamp collecting or consumption of alcohol?

Other coverage: Blue Crab Boulevard, Dean's World.

Cross posted from Freedom's Zone

Posted by Abdul at October 23, 2006 9:35 PM

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