Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why arguments for religion are arguments against religion

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[source: MeriNews]

My friend Ian at Diaphanitas examines how the best arguments in support of religion – that it provides a sense of comfort and purpose, communality, etc – can actually be the strongest arguments against religion for pretty evident reasons:

The best arguments for religion tend to be those that dote on how demonstrably useful and beneficial it is to the believer and nonbeliever alike (comfort, community, sense of purpose, et cetera). But the funny thing about these best arguments for religion is that they are at the same time the most self-damning.

If anyone can receive these benefits, believer and nonbeliever alike, then let us remove all of that mythology and superstitious nonsense that does not apply to everyone. And then we would be left over with the useful and beneficial aspects. If anyone can benefit from them, what right, then, does religion have to claim exclusive right over all of it? None, from what I can see. It seems, then, that the fact that these aspects are beneficial and useful is not contingent on whether they are a part of religion or not; these aspects have no particular religious affinities, and therefore are secular.

In the end, then, the best arguments for religion are not arguments for religion at all. They are perfectly secular arguments for the benefits themselves.

Well said. There simply aren’t any logical arguments for why religion is superior, in any way, to secular living. Everything benefice that religion provides, secularism can promote just as well (if not better), and the rest (dogma, magical thinking, etc.) are negatives that we would all be better off without.