Reluctance to let go of religion

I’m not sure the (paraphrased) “movement to exclude anyone who thinks that science and religion are incompatible” is more than a straw man, but there are some good points in the article.

We certainly need to promulgate a regular non-religious way of discussing moral issues and our purpose on earth, and equally find a good way of bringing the magical bits of religion (architecture, music, language, stories) into a non-religious perspective. Why aren’t there scientists discussing science on Thought for the Day?

The recognition that religion may not be the best practice to take us forward:

“I understand the reluctance to let go of religion as the lens through which we view questions of meaning and morality. For thousands of years it was the best we could do; it provided social structures and a framework for thinking about our place in the world. But that framework turns out not to be right, and it’s time to move on.”

And finally, how should it be news that the new Australian PM does not believe in God, unless she used belief as an election issue?

4 thoughts on “Reluctance to let go of religion

  1. Secular humanism and secular philosophies of other stripes do just that. However, they don’t use accessible language or imagery. Humanism in popular culture also doesn’t manage to explain or discuss ethics and relationships (say, with regard to human dignity) which don’t derive from religiously-based prior assertions.

    The article does have some good points but it’s weakened by asserting apropos of nothing that knowing The Rules means that the spiritual doesn’t exist and there is no life after death. That’s a leap of faith on his part.

  2. Why do we need to promulgate a regular non-religious way of discussing moral issues and our purpose on earth? Seems pointless to me to try to keep religion out of discussions which have no meaning without it.

  3. Yes, that’s spot on. We need accessible language and / or imagery. Some of the great science communicators have that (Feynman, Sagan, Bryson, Cox spring to mind).

    A very large subset of assertions about ethics and relationships can be derived from non-religious sources (obviously ones which start “God says” are trickier, but less interesting to me).

    I agree that his assertion is a little rigid, and can be characterised as a leap of faith, but the leap is only that he believes the Rules as you put it.

    I am happy to admit that my leap of faith: the belief that humans have the capacity and capability to understand the universe we live in. This leap has clear testability and predictive ability: I find that more emotionally and practically satisfying than a creator, for example.

  4. Chris, as I put in another comment: A very large subset of assertions about ethics and relationships can be derived from non-religious sources.

    I can’t agree that moral discussions “have no meaning” without religion. Religion has some very interesting and powerful things to say about morals, but no monopoly (as one might think from Thought for the Day).

    By “promulgate a regular non-religious” I only meant that we need something as powerful and effective as religion to discuss, e.g. moral issues, based on principles that I find more satisfying (see my other comment).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>