Is Religion Faith?
I wanted to ponder this question as it has come up a bit. During any discussion of religion, you're bound to run into the concept of faith. What's interesting to me is when someone is rational enough to acknowledge that religion is ultimately faith. They don't try to justify it using any kind of ridiculous arguments that can easily be refuted.
They will simply make a statement like the following.
Religion is faith. You can't prove God or disprove God. You simply believe.
It sounds like a worthy statement. Heck, most agnostics would agree with such a thing.
But does that mean there is no point in discussing religion as it is just about faith?
Religion is More than GodUltimately religion is a lot more than God. It contains many things that can be discussed or argued very rationally. Heck, if all religion was is an abstract belief on God, it would truly be a meaningless discussion. Yet, that is not what religion is. It is set of very earthly beliefs and texts and practices.
For example, the Koran in Islam is thought to be the word of God. There are claims of its greatness such that it actually challenges the reader to write another like it.
This is something that can be talked about rationally, historically, and factually.
- Is it linguistically more beautiful than other texts?
- Does it contain knowledge beyond what is/was known to humanity at the time?
- Have the prophecies come true?
- Are any historical or scientific facts accurate?
- Has it changed in time?
- Does it provide wisdom not found in other sources?
- Does it contain contradictions?
- Does it agree with your moral code?
- And so on...
If God were to leave behind a painting for example, you would expect it to be of such beauty, it would bring tears to your eyes and light your imagination on fire. Yet, consider:
There is a rational discussion to be had there regarding the greatness of God's painting. The contrast need not even be that great. Even if God's painting was decent as below, does it truly exceed what man could or has created? We could discuss its techniques, meaning, insight, use of colors, depth, complexity, realism, abstract...
Another God Painting
Religion Can be Discussed RationallyEverything that makes up religion can be discussed rationally, except for the unseen existence of God.
- Do the rules set forth in holy books actually make a 'better' society
- Are it's concepts, like hell, moral?
- How does the religion affect your personal values? (war, killing, sexuality, freedom, gender rights...)
- Is its history accurate?
- Are its predictions accurate?
- How does it compare to philosophies and other books/ways of life/cultures written by men?
- And so on...