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Religion is Hard

Brother Brigstocke's Travelling Secular Salvation Show suggests that: "Religion is hard, it's too hard for most people, whereas humanity is relatively easy. All you have to do is be you and try not to be a dick."




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BBC Radio 4 The Now Show


 

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But some people need the answer to the question of "Why?". That is the only justification for the religion at the moment. Science can explain the how, but the why, even if the answer is irrational is needed by some people.

It isn't the asking of questions that's the problem. The problem comes in when people settle for any old answer instead of waiting till all the facts are known.

But some people need the answer to the question of "Why?".

No, they don't need an answer. They just want an answer. A quick, easy one. Preferably one that plays into their fears and instincts, and lets them just stop thinking about those hard questions. When it gets down to it, any answer will do: hinduism, islam, christianity, judaism, paganism, buddhism, etc. As long as it calls itself an answer.

However, it's hard to keep that desire fully sated with such saccharine placebos when the nonbelievers are allowed to speak...

It isn't the asking of questions that's the problem. The problem comes in when people settle for any old answer instead of waiting till all the facts are known.

We're never going to have all of the facts, dude.

We're never going to have all of the facts, dude.

That pretty much sums it up.

Some people insist that there is "the" answer to life, the universe, and everything (borrowing from D Adams)... And others accept that there are just some things that we don't have the answer to, but that it is the search for answers to the puzzle which is so intriguing.

It isn't the asking of questions that's the problem. The problem comes in when people settle for any old answer instead of waiting till all the facts are known.

We're never going to have all the answers, man.

We're never going to have all of the facts, dude

Fair enough, but shouldn't we update our knowledge more often than every 2000 years or so.

When it gets down to it, any answer will do

I believe people want an answer that is also wrapped in layers of culture which religion also provides. So the answer can't just be tooth ferries and Santa Claus, a whole body of work must also be present complete with a ritualistic plan that is devoted to answer the question Why? Also for some, religion provides the unchanging island in a world of constant change. Human beings have only so much tolerance for adaptation, if this threshold is exceeded, the result is future shock as explained in Alvin Toffler's book with the same name. Religious people aren't also alone in this - people join subcultures all the time in order to reduce their amount of daily processing - if you join Hell's Angels for instance, you are relieved of deciding what to wear everyday, you wake up, and you wear black leather jacket. All the time.

We're never going to have all of the facts, dude.

Which is exactly the point. Thank you. In situations where we don't have an answer it's okay (if not important) to say, "We don't know the answer to that yet but we haven't stopped looking for one."

Claiming certainty on matters of which no one can be certain helps no one. It's uncurious (and so leads to no increase of knowledge or new discoveries), wasteful of the time and resources we have, and has proven to be harmful to life and limb on more than a few occasions.

…a whole body of work must also be present complete with a ritualistic plan that is devoted to answer the question Why?
Religion is not devoted to answering the question of why…religion claims to know the answer already.

Religion only offers relative answers to "why"; the answers are usually relative to the question or the person asking. But how ever does the unintelligible concept of "god" answer the question of why we are here and what seems to be our. I think it's rather greedy to equate their singular purpose with the purpose of the entirety of existence. It is a completely non-sequiter to explain the existence Universe with the existence of a singular species in it. It would be observing and studying one organ in the human body in the desperate attempt to explain the whole of a person. Religion in no way answers the question of why; it simply gives an arguably comforting answer. The answer becomes less comforting the more a person has a more worldy worldview.

Someone will ask, when they're writhing in pain from cancer: "Why was I put here? Is my purpose merely to endure pain?" And someone across our planet will ask casually as he looks up to the stars, "Why was I put here to enjoy the beauty of the night sky?"

Surely "god" cannot be a the same answer to both questions, but it fails to examine the uniqueness of each question. And even still, you cannot even begin to explain what you mean by "god" with any sort of concreteness. "God" is nothing more than a noise that has been padded with superstitious tradition that nags at the ankle of our civilization for continued obedience and undue respect. It is an insult to rationality to ever concede that "god" or "religion" is the answer to anything. It is a proverbial begging of the question that is perpetuated simply because powerhungry leaders couldn't think for themselves who knew the ramifications of obedient and systematic belief due to fear.

And to say "religion is the highest social good; it promotes good things." This is intellectual cowardice and downright insulting. When did religion form a monopoly on "goodness" and progress? Religion in itself as purely a social construct is only interested in the status quo. Religion solidified the foundation for the subjugation of women, slavery, and the war on the sciences. Do not say "religion is a necessary social construct" without taking particularly the sciences into account because there were people similar in this train of thought all throughout history. Reason has clearly made it apparent that religion is not necessary and will not be around forever. Do not speak as though religion preceded humanity as some sort of "truth." Religion is nothing more than a social construct. We are a social species, so naturally religion will correlate in its existence.

If people need an answer for why, philosophy and the sciences give them an answer. If they are too lazy and need a pre-packaged answer, then do not justify irrational answers and say "nothing you can do! it's here to stay!" Pre-package a better philosophical answer. Your defeatist attitude is unjustified and cowardly.

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On July 29, Aaron wrote:

"Someone will ask, when they're writhing in pain from cancer: "Why was I put here? Is my purpose merely to endure pain?" And someone across our planet will ask casually as he looks up to the stars, "Why was I put here to enjoy the beauty of the night sky?"

But the answers they arrive at are going to vary, as we learn what cancer is and what the stars are, which a few hundred years ago we had very sketchy knowledge of, and no knowledge at all prior to that time, leading us to conclude that it is God's will or a punishment for transgressing that will which causes the pain of disease, and the stars are really lamps held by angels.

As we know better, we believe in something closer to what actually is the case, and this is why religious beliefs have faded so rapidly from what they were just a few centuries ago. More and more of us know better, now.

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Maybe there simply isn't a 'why?' Perhaps what and how is all there is.

The fact that you can imagine that there is a big cosmic 'Why', does not mean that there is an answer to this very human question.

This 'why' question necessarily presumes an intelligent planner because who else can give a definative answer to such a question? But I repeat, the fact that you have the question does not mean that there is an objective answer.

Why is Iron Mountain red? Because god likes pretty clolours or because that's the colour we perceive iron oxide to be within the limited spectrum of visible light.

Here is a youtube presentation of Brigstocke.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY-ZrwFwLQg

The artist who dealt so clearly and deeply with these very issues has now gone into The Silence. How best to remember him? I would suggest watching one of his masterpieces.

Maybe there simply isn't a 'why?'

That might be okay for some, but not everyone. At the same time, even nonreligious people can concoct a Why? - such as a Matrix-like world where you plug-in and out at will, etc so then the Why would be "to play". With increasing levels of technology, newer answers can be found with varying degrees, although we probably aren't supposed to look beyong a certain point (see the Uncertainty Principle). God as a hyphothesis isn't such a bad one even if it's been losing its powers one by one over the years, now all he is left with is the act of creation. I think I can give religious people that one, or at least, leave them be. I do not hate them for it, or see them as the source of all evil like Hitches or Dawkins does who both come from Europe where religion was supressed during industrialization. Hell, people left their country escaping from people like them to found United States. That is something special and I hope we preserve that. We can respect believers and nonbeliever at the same time, even if members of each side of the "aisle" fail to pay that respect sometimes.

That's all I've got to say.

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