But religion gives people hope and comfort...

I have noticed that many TV shows have blatant religious undertones to them. I was watching a show called "Criminal Minds" about the FBI's Quantico unit to catch psycho killers, and one episode had a father who performs exorcism and ultimately leads to killing people, who actually are not possessed by demons. So cut to the final scene, an FBI agent, who is also a former catholic, who happens to walk up to a church, queue slow music and the camera angle to give it's presents a sort of awe-struck meaning to it, and go to credits. Isn't that nice...I tend to notice shows doing this more and more. Take one of my favorite shows, Numb3rs, about the FBI fighting crime using a mathematics wiz kid named Charlie Epps. Well in the last two or three seasons, his brother Donnie Epps is more and more curious about the meaning of the universe and goes to Synagogue. And of course everytime it gets mentioned in the show, there is always that ridiculous notion of oscillating uncertainty of everything and of course ultimately a "Feel Good" religious moment ensues.

Along with that silly notion, comes the "It makes people feel good/comfortable/hope/etc." I think this is like watching those Insurance commercials and they list that their competitors have more expensive premiums, leading one to believe you should buy the insurance only because it is cheaper. Although I think it might be more reminiscent of stain remover ads. Our stain remover is very effective, but why spend tens of dollars more on this other brand, when you can be saving this much money! Ultimately Religion giving you that "warm fuzzy feeling" is not a good enough reason to warrant a belief, when I could be doing the same by donating money to a charity that benefits starving children in the world, or donating my time to volunteer at various community events that benefit others.

Some time ago I was at a discussion sponsored by the Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) called "Is Christianity Credible?" and from the get-go of the discussion, it was quite apparent the CCC was not prepared for the topic, and never presented any reason why it is credible. So after an hour of spotting nearly every hole in their arguments and beliefs, someone from the back had to defend the CCC speakers in the front of a crowded room, and gave an eloquent and beautiful statement about religion giving hope to those who seek it. The christian members in the crowd applauded such a defense, and I openly admit it was a profound and eloquent statement that threw me into shock. But I knew that something was unsettling about what the person had said. It was similar to a person who goes to the mall to purchase things on sale, just so they can save money. So just because you need that feel good euphoria, doesn't mean we give up reason and searching just to find something easy and complacent to fill that void.

Views: 248

Comment by Jake W. Andrews on January 3, 2010 at 5:20pm
Jeff,

I tend to believe that religion removes thinking, and take on the mantra that ignorance is bliss.
Comment by Dave G on January 4, 2010 at 1:58am
One of my favorite quotes that touched on this topic is as follows:

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality."
-- George Bernard Shaw
Comment by Merillat on January 4, 2010 at 2:15pm
Sam Harris talks about this in this video. I love this explanation and find it helpful to counter the "comfort" argument. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jdBGKKZQKI&NR=1
Comment by Aric on January 4, 2010 at 2:34pm
Children often find hope and comfort from an item such as security blanket or a pacifier. However, it is unhealthy to let them hold on to these things after childhood.
Religion is the same way. It provided hope and comfort to the people of early civilizations, but humankind has grown older and it is unhealthy to hold on to such superstitions.
Comment by Jake W. Andrews on January 4, 2010 at 10:13pm
On a side note, the Pastafarian chapter of Michigan Tech University did another discussion a semester later titled, "Is Pastafarianism Palatable?" and the turnout was a few members of the Campus Crusades for Christ and the members of the Pastafarian group. The CCC took them very seriously and I think a few of them got quite angry during the talk. I want to thank everyone so far who has contributed to my discussion. Another question i want to pose: Does anyone else notice the compassionate religious moment scenes in movies and television with the sarah Mclaughlin music, and also notice how skeptics(Hugh Laurie in House) are portrayed as quirky, uncaring, asshole-like characters? Or am I the only one who really notices those things?
Comment by Philip Laureano on January 24, 2010 at 5:59am
The fairy tales of religion are far more easier to accept than the cold, hard truth that this is the only life we have, and I suspect that's why Atheism is a "hard sell" for a lot of people. It's easier to accept that you'll die and get 72 virgins rather than die and become worm food.
Comment by zoolady on January 24, 2010 at 10:58am
"Hope" for what? "Salvation in heaven?" Or the terror which comes from a loving deity which commands murder, sacrifice, punishment and pain?
Comment by Lili Morgan on January 24, 2010 at 1:38pm
Call me lacking in impulse control, But I'll take my happies now plz...
Comment by zoolady on January 24, 2010 at 2:15pm
Me, too, Lili! Let's have champagne and strawberries and save the "manna" and harp lessons for later, ok?
Comment by Lili Morgan on January 24, 2010 at 2:29pm
I'll take the strawberries for sure! Thanks! I'm edge though. I'll trade the Champers for chocolate?

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