One of my favorite people of all time is Cornel West. Two of his most well known books are Race Matters and Democracy Matters where his views on society are for the most part, incredibly on the mark. I've heard him live a couple of times and he is wonderful to listen to. He is also a frequent quest on Real Time with Bill Maher where he rails against the right yet at the same time has been known to call out Obama. Anyway as I was listening to him the other day, I started to think, how could a man of such intelligence, hold onto something as unintelligent as religion? He is a man of deep faith. Expanding on this idea, why is it that many people of incredible intelligence are people of religion? What is it about what they get from religion that allows them all to suspend reason on one day a week and give themselves to the land of the make-believe? One of the main doctors who is treating Hitchens is a man of faith. This is a guy who has studied science in depth and has seen cells divide. He knows there is no scientific basis for his beliefs. Yet he believes. Is it because all these people need to religion to deal with death? Is because it is what is expected in our society and to be otherwise is too difficult? I just don't understand.
This is a question im sure has always perplexed atheist and I have to say these questions roll around in my head very often. I have come up with several possible explanations id like to share with everyone.
Im only going to briefly lay out 2 points, if I didnt I could probably write endlessly about this issue.
1. Its easier to have faith in something supernatural than it is to carry out some intelligent thought. By easier I mean to say emotionally... its hard for people to accept and come to terms with the ending of there existence. Being religious is also easier because it (at least in most faiths) frees people from personal responsibility, a few hail merrier and a confession or two and all is good. Some people have a hard time comprehending that there moral values come from the need for our species to survive and not from the supernatural.
2. More often than not, people who are religious are so because of there upbringing. These upbringings often indoctrinate innocent children who cannot yet reason for themselves... If a child is never told there is no Santa Claus, he would more than likely continue believing. I have no objection with teaching children about religion and the lack of it, the problem arises when a child is presented with these ideas as ultimate truth....
I think death is a hurdle that some intelligent people simply cannot jump. The notion that when you die is more then likely actually the end is something that most people do no want to come to terms with. I often talk to my father about the existence of God and religious beliefs, he is a very intelligent man and can always understand and accept what I say, but he is in his 60's and often finishes our conversations with "well I dont have to think about it" and a chuckle. I know this is just because he doesnt want to think about his own mortality - the term "ignorance is bliss" always comes to mind.
"Within all civiliations, within all societies, the human existence has demonstrated its proclivity to create gods for when we cannot find meaning or understanding" (CJ Werleman). I think in an age where we have more understanding of our universe and origins of life then ever before, it is a terrible shame that many intelligent people accept religious explanations (which of course, dont explain anything!).
Ed, I have made the point t
@ Willaim - You okay there, buddy? You are the old guy on the forum. Just sayin.
I look forward to reading the complete post lol.