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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)


People may hold religious or surrogate-religious beliefs for reasons other than rational ones based on experience interpreted by reason.

  1. I define a belief as being held for irrational or irrelevant reasons if the primary motivation for holding the belief is not its truth but other ancillary reasons, whether motivational or accidental. The fact that such reasons are in some sense "reasonable" (ie. understandable) does not make them either rational or relevant according to my definition.
  2. These irrational or irrelevant reasons include:
    • Cultural bias due to accident of birth
    • Desire for political or social advantage
    • Fear of a moral vacuum
    • Fear of death
    • Desire for immortality
    • Desire for a meaning to life beyond the material
    • Desire for a direction in life
    • Impatient desire for answers to life's mysteries
  3. The fact that people may hold religious beliefs for illogical reasons is, in itself, no argument against the substance of these beliefs.
  4. It is also unfair, and prejudges the case, to assume that people always or usually hold religious beliefs for irrational reasons. Their reasons may only be determined by inspection.
  5. It may be argued that most people hold most of their views on most subjects (outside of their specific areas of expertise, if any) for irrational1 reasons.
  6. It is to be noted that where a subject is deemed to be set on firm foundations or to be technically inaccessible (as, say, modern physics) the opinion of experts is well respected. Where the very foundations of a subject are in doubt (as currently in theology and perpetually in philosophy) the opinion of experts counts for little : everyone considers himself to be an expert.
  7. Contrary to the above, theology may be a bad example of a subject in which everyone considers himself to be an expert. Today, people are so demoralised on this issue that they trust neither themselves nor the experts. This may explain the preference for religious experience over theology. Expertise in religious experience is easily simulated.




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12/08/2007 10:17:46 239 (Irrational Beliefs) Belief

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Irrational Beliefs 2        

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Belief        

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