29 sept. 2011

A Possibly Good Argument: Religion as a Metaphor for the Unknown

John makes a very good comment to the last post. "Religion is a metaphor for the unknown." (My paraphrase.) I agree with this completely. My own position toward religion is a kind of radical agnosticism. If God is metaphor for the unknown, nobody knows anything about God. There is no positive knowledge. I don't have a "faith" or "belief" in a proposition that there are no Gods. Rather, I am rigorously non-theistic in terms of the entities that I do think exist, and agnostic about the possibility of knowing anything for sure. I think it is pretty pointless to argue about whether Christianity has a .2% chance of being the right answer and Hinduism a point .3% chance. People's metaphors are worthy of respect as long as they aren't taken as anything more than metaphors. If you think yours is better, it is like thinking your spouse is better than someone else's. You are correct about your spouse, but I am also correct about mine.

Of course, religion, historically speaking, is not an individual choice of that sort, but a communal organization of life. It is only late in the game that the idea of personal belief as a individualistic choice comes into play, the product of Protestantism and later of secularization itself. That might be a topic for another post.