Friday, August 19, 2005

Opinions on religion

This is a link to John Walkenbach's blog post about making fun of religion. In the comments section he suggested that if someone had a long response that they blog it separately and then link to it; so here I am. While I understand that I will probably not change his (or many others opinions, regardless of what those opinions are), I wanted to share my insights.

I struggle and study to understand the world around me. I can not completely explain many things. Some of them are what most would consider scientific issues (gravity, genetics, certain biochemical reactions), some are moral or religious issues (nature and existance of God, afterlife, abortion, interactions with my neighbors). One thing that facinates me is the human tendency to relegate ideas to either fact or fiction. Many people can not give a rational explanation or proof that the world is round. Even the most brilliant scientists of today and the past stuggle with the nature of gravity and light, two things that are nearly incontrovertible in their existance, yet not explained fully even today. But, by and large, we do not argue the "facts" of such things. They are science.

I also have certain beliefs about God. I study many things (the Bible, religious and secular textbooks, others opinions) in an effort to refine my understanding. Just because I can not fully explain the nature or prove the existance of God, I do not abandon my beliefs. I continue to be frustrated that some people will dismiss any discussion of religion as "irrational". Many people complain that "religious" individuals will not or can not have a rational discussion, but then disregard their opinions because those people are not being rational. It appears to me to be a catch-22.

I tend to believe that humans are neither rational or irrational. We are all a mix of both. At times any of us may express certain opinions that are one or the other. I doubt that outside of certain rare conditions any of us are every completely capable of excising either all emotional or rational thought. Just because a specific belief is unable to be completely explained, doesn't mean it is irrational.

What I am trying to say, I suppose, is that calling a certain postion or belief irrational without being able to explain why you think it is so is not very rational in itself. It is not about convincing other people that you are right. Having a reasonable discussion in which you can listen to another person's opinions and rational for thinking and believing that way, without resorting to ad hominem attacks or unsupported blanket statements of stupidity or irrationality is what is important.

I will probably think of something more to add later, but that is what I can put togther now. Let me know if this doesn't make sense, it wouldn't be the first time :).