- Adult Baby
On the "powerful" topic... who would argue that religion is not powerful? Of course it's powerful. Who cares?There seems to be general agreement on this thread that religion is both powerful and irrational. People are always looking for answers and religion supplies answers. Nevermind that the answers are often silly or dangerously delusional, they are still answers, and that is enough for those people simply looking for a belief system to relieve themselves of the task of continuing to look for answers about the meaning of life. This makes religion popular for many people but it doesn't fully explain religion's power.
Is some kind of spiritual belief necessary for creating a system of laws capable of developing and unifying a powerful nation? I disagree with those who would claim that human rationality alone is sufficient for creating such a legal system. We have liberal rationality and conservative rationality, but no authoritative rationality that we can agree on.
A lot of people believe in human rights, but this is nothing more than a poorly defined spiritual belief. If we can define it better, and create some authority for it, we might have something solid to base our laws on.
American Idol is powerful.
People's love for their favorite sports teams is powerful.
Patriotism/jingoism is powerful.
Any tribal demarcation is powerful. Who cares? You can get most of the positives from religion in other ways while softening the negatives.
No it doesn't. That's my point.People are always looking for answers and religion supplies answers.
Not only does it *not* supply any of those answers anymore than my saying Santa supplies an answer to how your Christmas presents arrive under the tree, it doesn't even add any meaning to anyone's lives if they'd bother to spend any time reflecting on it. That a god (or an alien for that matter) created you does not add any intrinsic meaning to your life. It certainly doesn't add any pleasant intrinsic meaning to your life.
Life was so scary not having someone tell me what my meaning in life should be, but it's so much less scary now that I know my meaning is to entertain and appease the arbitrary whims of some mysterious, all-powerful, and all-knowing entity that only communicates to me through an old book and coincidences. Yes, that's definitely comforting.
What religion provides:
--a tribal demarcation you can get elsewhere
--similarly a community... that you can also get elsewhere
--an abstraction that allows you to stop thinking about "deep" questions like "why are we here" without actually even remotely answering any of your questions.
While I find the abstraction irritating, I understand that people feel the need to pretend they have answers to their nonsensical questions. But you can achieve that without all of the baggage that standardized religion brings.
I actually think it's even less the whole answers thing... and more the simple fact that once we form a belief, it's difficult to get rid of that belief. And most of these beliefs are formed by children through the direction of adults... who had theirs formed as children by adults... and so on.
Again, hence this sort of thing: https://www.barna.org/barna-update/5-barna-update/196-evangelism-is-most-effective-among-kids