3 Silly Religious Beliefs Held By Non-Silly People
By GRETA CHRISTINA - ALTERNET.ORG
Added: Fri, 30 Oct 2009 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to LWS for the link.
"You can't disprove religion."
I'm seeing this trope a lot these days. "You can't disprove religion. At least -- not my religion."
"Well, of course," the trope continues, "many outdated religious beliefs -- young-earth creationism, the universe revolving around the earth, the sun being drawn across the sky by Apollo's chariot -- have been shown by science to be mistaken. But modern progressive and moderate beliefs -- these, you can't disprove with science. These are simply matters of faith: things people reasonably choose to believe, based on their personal life experience."
Then there's the corollary to this trope: "Therefore, atheism is just as much a matter of faith as religion. And atheists who think atheism is better supported by evidence are just as dogmatic and close-minded as religious believers."
The usual atheist reply to this is to cry, "That's the God of the Gaps! Whatever phenomenon isn't currently explained by science, that's where you stick your God! What kind of sense does that make? Why should any given unexplained phenomenon be best explained by religion? Has there ever been a gap in our knowledge that's eventually been shown to be filled by God?"
Which is a pretty good reply, and one I make a lot myself. But today, I want to say something else.
Today, I want to point out that this is simply not the case.
The fact is that many modern progressive and moderate religions do make claims about the observable world. And many of those claims are unsupported by science... and, in fact, are in direct contradiction of it.
I want to talk today about three specific religious beliefs. Not obscure cults or rigid fundamentalist dogmas; not young-earth creationism, or the doctrine that communion wafers literally and physically transform into the human flesh of Christ somewhere in the digestive tract, or the belief that the human mind has been taken over by space aliens. I want to talk about three widely held beliefs of modern progressive and moderate believers: beliefs held by intelligent and educated believers who respect science and don't think religion should contradict it.
And I want to point out that even these beliefs are in direct contradiction of the vast preponderance of available evidence -- almost as much as the obscure cults and the rigid fundamentalist dogma.
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