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← By their works shall ye know them

nalfeshnee's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by nalfeshnee

thomas guihen quoth:


There are many no doubt who think that the world would be a better place without religion. The world would be a better place without hate, envy, greed, jealousy . . . Religion is the symptom, not the cause.


I must admit to not entirely understanding what appears to be a dual metaphor here.

Maybe a couple of questions would help:

If religion is a symptom, what is the disease?

If something else is "causing" religion (i.e. religion is the effect), what precisely, is this cause?

If I may offer my own rather simpler metaphor, I would suggest that it is more helpful to see religion as a multiplier, a magnifier and catalyst of/for certain unfortunate human traits that result from our genetic and cultural (mimetic?) heritage.

To me, these traits, taken together, are a kind of fire to which religion is both matches and gasoline -- i.e. it can both start the fire and sustain it. The one thing religion cannot do - unsurprisingly - is put the fire out.

While my metaphor is not a perfect fit for all religions, I believe it accurately describes the major - and most problematic - ones.

It is also the reason why I believe it makes no sense to use religion to counter religion (you can't fight fire with fire), nor should one simply leave it alone - if you see a fire burning, you should try and quench or contain it.

Treating religion as if it were a symptom or effect, on the other hand, suggests there is some underlying illness or cause.

But what this cause or disease at the root of religion might be, I am not entirely sure.

Sun, 16 Aug 2009 14:18:00 UTC | #388840