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Consolation of Religion

(Text as at 22/08/2007 00:15:50)

(For earlier versions of this Note, see the table at the end)

This contention, that religion is a crutch or consolation for losers, seems of only partial application. If all religious people are or had been on the fringes of society I might agree with you, but empirically this suggestion seems to be false. It is difficult to generalise about “religion”, but it does seem to be for people who think there’s something wrong or unsatisfactory about the world that needs fixing (or maybe has been fixed in some way known only to the initiate), or just that there’s something missing or unfulfilling about our routine lives. And such people can be from the top or bottom of society.

While this seems to me to be a fair analysis of the situation, the questions are, is “there a solution?”, and “what is it?”. The various religions have different answers to the second question, but naturally agree on the first.

While suffering can incline some people in a religious direction, personal catastrophes can move others in the opposite direction, so that they “lose their faith” or rail against God (though in the latter case they still believe there’s someone “up there” for them to shake their fist at, though they can’t logically believe this or they wouldn’t do it). It all depends on what their concept of God is (if their religion is theistic), and what they think the bargain God has struck with them is.

In sum, there are many motivations, both intellectual and emotional, for religious belief or unbelief and we should be chary of broad generalisations.

Table of the Previous 2 Versions of this Note:

Date Length Title
21/08/2007 09:44:38 1409 Consolation of Religion
16/08/2007 14:44:10 24 Consolation of Religion

Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
22/08/2007 00:15:50 531 (Consolation of Religion) Simon - T1S1

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