Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why is religious thinking so common to people? Why God isn't going away

(above picture gives a summary, click on it to see it normal size)

There's a common idea out there that 'reasoning' and 'rationality' means something like 'secular reasoning,' or reasoning that excludes religious ideas. I don't really think that's the case. I would say that there are two kinds of reasoning that people engage in: 'inanimate object' based reasoning and 'Mind' based reasoning. The difference is like between working out where a ball is going to land, versus working out whether my friend would be offended if I said a particular thing. What people regard as the 'secular' view comes from looking at reality through 'inanimate object' based reasoning, and what people regard as 'spirituality' and 'religious thinking' comes from looking at reality through 'Mind' based' reasoning. Neither is inherently superior or inferior to the other.

If no mind is behind the universe, then inanimate matter must go 'all the way down' (like the turtles). That's why any consistent atheism-agnosticism position must put inanimate matter at the foundation of reality, from which you get everything else (universe, multiverse, people, etc.) Materialism doesn't just follow from atheism, it IS atheism in any really long explanation of what atheism must mean (otherwise some kind of 'super mind' would exist behind the universe in some sense). So atheism-agnosticism comes from viewing reality through 'inanimate object' based reasoning.

Religious thinking comes from viewing reality through 'mind-based' reasoning. It assumes that the foundations of reality are fundamentally mental - a mind like us. Not necessarily like us in our limitations, but 'something like consciousness.'

Either of these positions is an assumption. While atheist/materialists often accuse religious people of exploiting folk intuitive ideas of consciousness, a spiritualist/religious person could accuse an atheist of overemphasising 'inanimate object' based reasoning when they work out their view of reality.

This is why the religious instinct, religion, and religious forms of reasoning will never go away. Being conscious ensures that 'mind-based' explanations for reality will always make sense. The religious instinct is inseparable from consciousness and people viewing reality through 'consciousness' language over and above 'inanimate object' language. This means that although traditional religions may fade, spiritualism can never go away, or even probably, lessen much.

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Anonymous DrDeb said...

Great post! I would add that "religious thinking" such as prayer and meditation have been shown to boost brain power and even slow the aging process:
Prayer and meditation boost brain power, slow aging.

Thanks for this great post!

Blogger Will G said...

Thanks DrDeb.


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