Am I a fool? Previously I wrote a post saying “Culture does NOT exist“, and now I am trying to say that “religion” is a myth [irony intentional]. But before you rightfully dismiss me as totally delusional, please read this fantastic and important article by Pascal Boyer, author of one of my favorite books: “Religion Explained” (amazon).
I have argued some variant or other of Pascal’s points with lots of very different folks: anti-religion Atheists, religion-defending Buddhists and exclusivist Christians. His last 3 points are brilliant! But the difference between Boyer and myself is that Boyer (an anthropologist) knows his subject. So, if you have time, read his short article and see if you can understand what he is getting at or if you have major disagreements.
My post entitled “Religion” as a syndrome illustrates the illusory notion of “religion” by comparing its definition to the illusory psychiatric conditions that the DSM-V (the psychiatrist’s bible) tries to nail down. Generalizing about religion is a large error I see taken by many scholars. For instance, I have brought this up with Tom Reese at Epiphenom several times and Tom is not only way brighter than I am but publishes amazingly useful stuff about this topic.
I think Boyer’s main points are important. Help me explore them with your comments. In the end, I am always trying to point us back to more basic aspects of our mind instead of being fooled by imaginary creatures. We often get fooled by our manipulative abstractions and grant them an ontology they do not deserve. Boyer’s article can be helpful for anyone who thinks “religion” is important either as a good thing or a bad thing.