I have never liked the comparison that a person who has religious belief is infected with some sort of “virus.” I understand the logic and the eloquent explanation of those who hold this view. I don’t even like the explanation that it is a delusion even though this concept can be substantiated if you manipulate the definition of delusion to conform to the idea that religious practices are oppressive, insulting, and completely irrational, not to mention, man-made, therefore untrue.

I have found myself at times stating that religious beliefs are delusional, only to find that I am at odds with myself. I pushed these feelings aside for some time simply to conform to what many atheists believe. I think many atheists believe this simply because of the “God Delusion” by Dawkins. I think he coined the phrase in a masterful way to give a wake-up call to the absurdity of the belief systems of religious and the harm it can cause humanity. I am not arguing with the concepts that Dawkins wrote about, or even saying that he is wrong.

I do however believe profoundly differently. I take a sociological approach to religion. I think Max Weber got it right in his profound work, “The Sociology of Religion.” His historical analysis begins with a simple…very simple premise: People pursue their interests. Weber is an idealist like myself, (why I like him so much…) His approach to say that ideas are the major influence human action is spot on. Ann Swidler writes: “He does not argue that ideas always or necessarily influence action. He does try to understand variation in the influence of ideas on action.” From these building blocks, “he builds a powerful theory to explain why some kinds of cultural systems have much more influence on economic and political action than others do. He analyzes the critical historical contingencies that determine whether and how ideas guide action.” Furthermore, “Weber argues that once a religion is sufficiently “rationalized” – systematized and unified – its core religious ideas come to have a logic of their own.”

His Verstehen approach (interpretive) allows for a more empathetic, and participatory approach, (notice I did not say condoning approach) towards the understanding, of religion in general.

My own feelings towards the matter: I do not believe religion is a phenomenon we should be hostile towards. Religion is nothing more than a sociological concept. I do believe we should separate the phenomenon itself from the ideas and actions of the individuals who perpetuate, teach, and try to implement, or force into our society. The difference being that we can ultimately evaluate and see religion on an empathic basis rather, than a force to be eliminated.

Religion has evolved with us and through us and has formed much of what we see in culture today. The ideas and actions are what can be poisonous if used (or misused) to have power and control over another person(s), or entity. Just as we would take an approach to rid our society of an imbalance of power and control, (we already do this with other sociological problems such as domestic violence) we can also make a more positive impact politically and interpersonally. I believe the key to being heard and having a TRUE lasting impact, is to take a sociological approach to understanding, and to use this knowledge to rationalize and demonstrate why the atheist position is the more mature approach for humanity. It would seem to me that we might actually see a change in public (religious) opinion, persona, stereotype, and awareness of what atheist actually stand for.

Reference

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Admit, nothin...They're the species that's found a way to make an overbite sexy.

You got that right, I know that I was turned on!

Only the males have tusks.

Damn!

People who have seen all the evidence or lack of and still believe there is a god are deluded. If you can honestly and truly believe that there is some omnipotent being thats invisible or in a different dimension (I'm not sure how they explain where there god actually is) and has super natural abilities after seeing the complete lack of hard evidence for it, you seem a little deluded. If you lived in the 1800's then I suppose I can see it but now it's kind of flabbergasting, I mean to sit back and think about what that person think's. "There is a man somewhere I and no one else can see helping me all the time and I close my eyes and talk to him and everything is okay because he says I can go to place where I'll live forever and be happy all the time or if your a muslim get some virgins!" it seems crazy to me. I wouldn't say they are mentally ill, religion is almost as bad as a mental illness, but definitely not bright what so ever. And by all this I mean actually and truly believing because I feel like most people don't actually believe it they just say they do because it makes them feel good which is also a little weird in my opinion.

This just in:

Tell Your Senator: No Federal Funding to Build Churches!

church, state, and money

Last Thursday, the most egregious disregard for the separation of church and state we've seen yet was introduced in the US Senate. Senate Bill 1274 proposes drastic and dangerous changes to make religious buildings eligible to receive federal relief money. If it passes, your taxpayer dollars can directly fund the brick and mortar building of churches, synagogues, and mosques, buildings that exist solely to provide religious services.
 
We need your help to remind our Senators that one of the longest standing principles of our country is that no citizen should be required to fund any religions with which they disagree.
 
Every federally funded brick used to rebuild  houses of worship is a brick taken out of the wall of separation between church and state! A similar bill already passed the House. The Senate must stand as a voice of reason and defender of the Constitution.

Ask your Senator to vote NO on S.1274!

This is for FEMA right?  So the subject would either be appropriations of FEMA?

Oh, who cares.  I signed the petition any way.  I don't think government should ever be involved in religion - even if they pander to it across the board.

Ha!  Go you, Barry :)

Yes, but churches need to look to their god for reconstruction - or having the disaster bypass them because they're special.

I should mention, I explicitly put in the form letter of the petition my ordained title of Reverend, along with of course putting that in the information my senators requested of me.  Having faced religious discrimination in a catholic school for being protestant as a young child, I want nothing to do with religion being associated with government.  So, yes, I know what it's like.

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