Yes, You Probably Have a Religion

Note: This post appears to have been stuck in draft mode…not sure when I originally composed it.

The article below is worth a read. Mentally, I think we tie “religion” to systems of belief hinging on the supernatural, but the Merriam-Webster definition shows it is far more inclusive:

Definition of religion

“a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”

Your “religion” might not be supernatural…nor may it be politics as Leighton Akira Woodhouse discusses below…but I would suggest you almost definitely have a “system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” Woodhouse discussed how previously politics brought people together in compromise, but the religion of politics does just the opposite.

Final comment (of my own): Worldviews that accept the supernatural are just as worthy of being in the public square as those that reject it. Let each make its case for each issue at hand and trust people to make a decision. Blind dogmatism and ideology are the issue, not a belief in there being more than what our five senses can measure.

”Trust in science” is a religious statement, not a scientific one. True science doesn’t trust anything. 🙂

P.S. Lest it come off otherwise, I trust science (or, rather, the scientific method), since it fully recognizes its limitations and encourages questioning, refining, etc. What I don’t trust are scientists, who are no more perfect than the rest of us humans.

If Solomon Had Such a Huge Kingdom…?

Some arguments against biblical history have to do with the lack of evidence of the large kingdom it says Solomon had. Where are the remanents of the cities?!

This article does not prove the accuracy of the biblical account, but it counters arguments from silence (that abscence of [expected] evidence is not evidence of abscence):

By the way, if you are a Bible-believer and read the article, you’ll start off feeling good, then feel miserable, then feel good again. 🙂

If the Smithsonian Magazine is this even-handed with how they approach subjects in general, I may just subscribe.

What if It Is not There?

What is it is not there, because God created everything His way?

P.S. BTW, I don’t see the Big Bang at odds with a traditional Christian view of creation.

Government Judging Your Faith

There are aspects of this article that are truly disturbing:

For instance:

Thomas Berg, a self-described “strong supporter of religious exemptions” and a religious liberty advocate who teaches law at the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic institution in St. Paul, Minnesota, said he believes that there is a strong case to deny many of the religious claims and to test religious sincerity.

“In cases where you’ve got a lot of potential insincere claims — and I think there’s evidence that is what’s happening here in which people are raising religious objections when they’re motivated by fear of the vaccine or political opposition to it — testing sincerity makes sense,” he said. “We have to test sincerity or else we have to accept them all or deny them all, so I think the courts will provide room for testing that.”

One driver for testing sincerity is the fact that no major organized religion objects to the vaccines, and Roman Catholic and other Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders have advised followers to get the shots. Pope Francis went so far as to say that getting vaccinated was “the moral choice because it is about your life but also the lives of others.”

Individually held beliefs, however, could provide some protections.

Just like I, an actual minister, cannot judge a person’s salvation…the courts (and other branches of government) cannot judge the sincerity of an individual’s belief.

True, if a guy says he “religiously” believes that sex is only for marriage, but then hires a prostitute, you have reason to question the sincerity of his belief. However, even then you cannot claim it is proof, since we all fall short of our own standards.

For instance, as a Christian I don’t believe I should jump to conclusions about another’s behavior, yet I do (hopefully less and less).

The “John” could honestly believe sex outside marriage is wrong. Should the government be able to force him to behave otherwise, because he is a hypocrite and has behaved otherwise before?

Finally, all belief’s are individual, even if the reason you hold them is because you trust (wisely or not) some priestly class. It may help an argument if your form of organized religion (e.g. denomination) stands behind you, but, in America, we don’t have state religions. We have individual rights.





When _____ Replaces Religion

Article snippetIn “Diary” by Andrew Sullivan in the 3 April 2021 issue of The Spectator (UK version), he wrote (after noting a recent Gallup poll that said religious association with churches/synagogues/mosques has dropped to 47% in the U.S. and that “for America, it is a seismic event”):

What we’re witnessing, it seems to me, is not a collapse in the religious impulse as such. The need to transcend, to find meaning, and purpose, is eternal for humans. What we’re witnessing is what happens when politics replaces or becomes a form of religion.

And a bit later, near the end…

These new religions lack only one thing: something transcendent that makes the failure in our lives redemptive, and that sees politics merely as the necessary art of attending to the imperfect and transient.

What do you think? Do you agree?

It’s not just politics that folks replace religion with, but it is definitely one of the most caustic (it seems to me). If atheists are right and there is nothing on the other side of this life, then I suppose it doesn’t matter (other than the prolific misery it brings for our relatively short, transient existences). But, if I am right, then it is trying to replace healing medicine with a deadly poison.