Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Religious ignorance is faith's ally

Lately I've been reading 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God by Guy Harrison. I like it. Last night, the following passage struck me as interesting, so I thought I would share it.

[O]ne of the fastest ways to turn a believer into a nonbeliever is religious education. Teach someone, especially a child, an honest and objective overview of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, traditional Chinese beliefs, Buddhism, animism, Sikhism, Judaism, Jainism, Bahism, plus the basics of a few extinct religions, and there is a good chance that this enlightened person will have a hard time convincing themselves that one of these belief systems is valid and all the others are not. Religious ignorance is faith's ally. Religious education is faith's enemy.

I've found this to be true for me as well. It's interesting to me how fundamentally similar the claims of many religions are, and this becomes increasingly clear as one learns more about other religions. Each set of religious followers is as convinced of their own religion's truth as the others are of theirs. Usually based on the same evidence, too: experience, testimony, visions, miracles, holy writings, etc. How is one to judge the truth of one religion over the others with such conflicting claims? Why is my religion more likely to be true than any other religion? Because it's mine? Because I happened to be born in this place at this time in history? I doubt it.


Michelle said...

That's how it worked for me, too! Once I started studying church history, I didn't believe it anymore.

C. L. Hanson said...

So true, especially the part about learning about other faiths (and noticing the obvious parallels). That was the key for me, as I explained in my deconversion story.

Burk said...

I ran across your blog and was astounded at my beliefs laid out in your words. I am also a secular humanist that is a member of the LDS church. I have been recently considering starting a blog very similar to yours, I think it serves a great purpose in this society. Utah is a strange and wonderful place. Please keep up the great work. I will be checking back for sure.

Saganist said...

Hey Burk, nice to meet you! It's always good to hear from like-minded folks, especially here in Utah. I checked out your blog and now I think I have to try a McGangbang.