Monday, February 3, 2014

Remarkably Unoriginal

That is the way atheist Matthew Kneale characterizes the worldwide phenomenon of religious belief in his An Atheist's History Of Belief. Human beings have always had certain fears that religion gives answer to, or in effect, as Kneale puts it, for "keeping their worst nightmares at bay."
While there is much mileage in that vehicle, as something of a believer myself I doubt it is the whole trip. Personally, I find more instructive the idea of religious belief being an attempt to sate the soul's deepest desires
I have this notion that God is the Supreme Mind and that our human minds just naturally follow the thoughts of God, albeit very imperfectly. That - for me at least - accounts for our "remarkably unoriginal" systems of religious belief.
I've come around to seriously considering the instinctive way of knowing. The remarkable unoriginality of belief might be similar to the new born baby instinctively searching for its mother's breast, the sunflower's constant solar tracking to face the sun, perhaps in similar fashion to the way spiders learn to weave webs without benefit of a web-weaving school.
We humans are living beings who find ourselves in a living, evolving world. I like the concept of evolution. I believe religions evolve. They borrow from each other, mesh together, then grow extravagant branches off a tree with deep roots.
Religious believers also unfortunately have a habit of developing a tunnel vision which causes them to forget the tree and its roots. In my opinion that weakens the entire concept. It leads to exclusiveness. It distracts us from what I think is perhaps the strongest argument for religious belief: it is a natural instinct.

For that reason I find the history of unbelief much more interesting. 


  1. "the strongest argument for religious belief: it is a natural instinct."
    I think I agree with that.........I think...