7 oct. 2011

Bad Arguments: Religion is a Practice, Not a Set of Beliefs

One common "escape clause" I've seen is defining religion as a series of practices rather than a set of beliefs. The idea is that people perform ritual actions and participate in collective activities that make them feel good, but don't really worry about whether deep down any of it's based on any truth. The argument is that only the atheists get held up on the truth claims aspect of all of it.

This would actually be a not-bad argument for many religions and religious practices. Who could object to some harmless rituals? It is a very astute defense of religion, aside from the fact that it concedes a heck of a lot, considering the humongous rhetoric of truthiness that the dominant religion in Western Culture hammers home again and again.

3 comentarios:

Vance Maverick dijo...

The people I've heard this from are Jews. I don't contest their sincerity, obviously, but I think there's an unspoken lemma in the explanation, to do with the experience of the Diaspora.

Andrew Shields dijo...

One problem with this perspective on religion: why would anyone choose to convert to a religion that understands itself as a set of ritual practices without truth value?

Jonathan dijo...

You wouldn't convert unless you married into it, or just felt that those rituals are really cool ones.