From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

Religion is often seen as a negative force by intelligent people today. It is easy to prove this is wrong.


The world is too large for a narrow category like religion

Just it would be sad if everyone was a Christian, it would be sad if everyone followed the "rules" for the role "religion" is supposed to play in one's life. The cases of India, Japan, and apparently Africa demonstrate the intense variety of cultural inventiveness and the narrowness of "religion" as a category for separating one aspect of life from another.

Religion is the solution to politics

The problems that affect our world are fundamentally not political but religious in nature, because they do not arise from a disagreement over political means but from a religious lapse that can be called a lack of mindfulness or sanctity. Politics comes later as a question of how to resolve these problems, but it was poor religion, not poor politics, that caused them. Therefore, in order to run your own life in a natural manner as well as return the world to a harmonious state, you should cultivate good religion that incorporates all you understand about the world before you even begin to consider politics.

On the need for good religion, Aurobindo writes: "To the ordinary material intellect which takes its present organization of consciousness for the limit of its possibilities, the direct contradiction of the unrealized ideals with the realized fact is a final argument against their validity."

But maybe...

Thinking about it, there are two ways to view the relationship between religion and politics. The first is the Dickensian view, held by Gandhi, that all politics is religion. Social problems are not solved by bottom-up revolt but by a call to mindfulness and changes in outlook.

The second is the Marxist view, held by Ambedkar, that all religion is politics, and bad religion cannot be changed except by a show of force from the oppressed.

Now, obviously, the above section shows I have Gandhian sympathies, but what Ambedkar did in his country was quite impressive. So I am still on the fence about this one. I think both views can be useful.

Human behavior is not rational

Atheism is based on the supposition that people should reject any belief without a basis in pure reason, as it is equivalent to a delusion which impedes our decision making. But this belief itself is a delusion. People are not computers and we do not make decisions based on a coherent and explainable desire. Our decisions are often based in goals like these:

These forces power our decision-making. But they are not based in rational thought. They are based in pleasing our minds. There's nothing wrong with that-- it's what we do. But it's not rational, in the way that physics and evolution are rational.

Archaeology and religion

You often see alongside a mysterious artifact a note that it was used for "religious purposes," implying some kind of superstition. Archaeologists don't actually know how people lived in the past, so when they see an object that does not appear to have a material purpose, they assign it religious purpose for lack of a better explanation. But this pigeonholes ancient cultures into our Judeo-Christian idea of religion. To a lesser extent anthropologists do this as well, although they are well aware of their own limitations.

See also

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