Sunday, August 30, 2015

Is There a Future for Religion?

Is there a future for religion?  The short answer is "yes, of course:" Homo sapiens is intrinsically and incurably religious, and will create his own gods if necessary in order to have something to worship.  Just look at the cult of Mao in "atheist" China.
So, the answer is "yes," there will be religion.  The question is, what kind of religion?

Insofar as we have a choice in the matter, we would want a religion that promotes human flourishing, that is a religion that will makes us happy.  We thought, certainly in this country, that a religion of consumer goods, material prosperity, and the gross satisfaction of our natural urges would make us happy.  It hasn't, and though we still pursue it, it should be clear now that it isn't going to.  

That is because the very thing towards which religion draws, something that is bigger than ourselves, than our species, is denied by all of these substitute religions.  We are engineered for something that is bigger than we are, something that is more beautiful, more real, and better than we are, and we will not be satisfied until we attain it.  

However, any religion that promises us such a transcendent end, but is not compatible with all that makes us human, including our human reason, will not work either.  We do understand part of the cosmos, and it is not rational to believe that what we do understand is utterly incompatible with what transcends our understanding.  This is why religious fundamentalism will not work any more than ideology as a substitute religion.  There are in the cosmos numerous things that are beyond our explanation or ability to understand, but I do not want my faith insulted by people creating incomprehension and unreason where I can understand.

Now, this is a Christian blog.  But at a certain level I am not really concerned whether my readers become Christians or not (especially when I look around at what is presented as Christianity).  I myself am a Christian, because, among other reasons, the Christianity I was taught places me in a tradition of reasoning that enables to make the kind of analysis of the human condition that I make herein.  This is a tradition of faith that values the intellect and a "liberal" approach to knowledge—the belief that people should be encouraged to grasp the truth of things for themselves, as opposed to an approach that asserts "X says it, I believe it; that settles it."

My chief concern is that my readers should gain a real taste and desire for what is good and true and beautiful. If they have that, they will find God, or rather, I do not doubt, God will find to them.  

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