The Religious Mind

the_religious_mindIf there really was a god, theology would be easy and simple to explain.  Instead, theology generates tangled knots of words as a substitute for their undetectable god.  It is like the complex, elaborate dance of a shaman which is really the whole show, because their ain’t no magic.

Picture is from the book “Made by Mammals“.

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Filed under Philosophy & Religion

10 responses to “The Religious Mind

  1. I have been thinking about similar things lately. If God was as self-evident as he is said to be, what need for apologists would there be?

    The post here:
    …makes the point that the arguments put forward by apologists are not why they believe, they are post-hoc (?) cases made for what they believe *after* they have already believed for other reasons. It also makes an important point about confirmation bias — we see in things statements that confirm what we already believe, and everyone does that.

  2. And I love the picture, though I think it could apply to many secular philosophers as well.

  3. @ ATTR

    Indeed, I thought the same as I put up this post. But I left it out for we know that a post laden with caveats can bore the reader and lose them quicker than a sloppy title ! Smile.

    Theology (ideas based god(s), subjecting reason to revelation) was supplanted by …
    Philosophy (ideas based on reason without gods) which was supplanted by …
    Science (ideas tested by empirical verification). Of course it is not that clean, you will find practitioners doing more than one of these.

    So if a philosopher has an fancy, untestable idea which has obvious contrary elements, the only way to package it is in knotted sentences and paragraphs. It is fantasy idea that are the source of the knots, and you are right, they are not merely the privy of theologists.

    I say leave the knot tying to skilled novelists.

  4. Pseudonym

    I certainly agree with you as for a lot of what passes for “theology” these days, especially in the United States. (Which I am not.)

    However, I don’t buy the argument at all. If X exists (for some X), it does not follow that the study of it must be “easy and simple to explain”. There are plenty of counter-examples outside of theology.

  5. Hey Pseudo, give us some examples. My statements, btw, were not meant to be tight arguments, but to make a point. So please do offer examples of outside-the-USA theology which is not knot tying.

  6. Pseudonym

    How about the Jesus Seminar?

    I guess, though, in a way, any theology is inevitably going to involve knot tying, in a similar way to how science both assumes and proves naturalism.

  7. In the scientific method, a hypothesis is stated in a testable manner, the test is made, if it works, it counts as evidence, if it doesn’t the hypothesis must be reworked. Theology (liberal or otherwise) never does this. Now, people who are doing science may pervert the process but the methods, no denying that.

  8. Pseudonym

    Right, that is the difference between: science has the testability criterion. If it’s testable, it’s science. If it’s not testable, it’s not.

    Theology doesn’t produce testable hypotheses, but then none of the liberal arts really do. People who study literature, philosophy, music and the visual arts generally don’t work in the space of testability, except where it overlaps with science (e.g. the study of music overlaps with psychology, audiology and acoustics).

  9. @ Pseudo. Exactly, we agree. Now the problem is when Theology makes empirical claims like “Prayer works”, “You will find peace with Jesus”. Then when we test it, they cower away saying , “faith”. You can’t have it both ways.

  10. Pseudonym

    Yes, I agree with that. This feature distinguishes certain schools of theological from certain others (though, admittedly, the distinction isn’t always 100% consistent, but then, it’s not always consistent in other academic fields either).

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