Robert C. Priddy

Writings on diverse themes from philosophy, psychology to literature and criticism

  • Robert Priddy


    In this blog I post information and critical views concerning ideologies, belief systems and related scientific materials etc. I am a retired philosophy lecturer and researcher, born 1936.

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What mainly characterises religion?

Posted by robertpriddy on November 7, 2011

Religion is based almost totally on human ignorance combined with wonder or awe at the natural order.  This arose from not understanding the processes of nature and causality and of human nature in particular, while needing some explanation, invariably supplied in terms of unseen motivators (spirits, deities etc.).  Religion is sustained by galleries of distorting speculative theories, ossified doctrines, edited/mistranslated/wrongly copied/partly censored scripture and the denial of virtually all facts contrary to them (until they become so widely recognized as to be indisputable and socially unavoidable). The origin of human language and how meaning arises was considered an inscrutable divine mystery, by most people even until the 20th century. Philosophy, backed by a range of scientific and historical disciplines, has demystified those processes to an amazing degree.

Defenders of religion’s often argue that they provide the moral basis for mankind and that ethics cannot be derived from science. However, ethics can be developed from secular reasoning, and in fact religion derives much of its more reasonable moral insight  from common sense, practical experience and the values that humans have often held to and developed independently of any religion.  Ethics cannot be other than dependent on reason without becoming entirely irrational and will so conflict with  common sense and the findings of science.  Ethics based on faith or beliefs alone – or on dogmas developed from these – are constantly being challenged on a wider and wider front as research develops, superstitions are blown away and unusual event like paranormal phenomena are being probed with advanced computer and brain-imaging technology. Supposed ‘divine miracles’ are investigated from the angles of many scientific disciplines and are gradually being undermined by the resulting discoveries. For example, scientists now can even easily recreate so-called ‘out-of-body experience’ through using virtual reality scenarios to induce this kind of experience in subjects.

A believer in God is:-
1) one who wants to justify anything (that suits them and their dogmas – or to defend the God they believe in)
2) one who does not know that we create our own meaning, or has a minimal understanding of how we actually do it.

See an interesting article on the human brain and ‘spiritual’ or religious experiences: The God of Mind : Exploring the Implications of Neurotheological Research

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