Is It Really Confusing When It Comes to Religion?

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I often find it interesting when psychologists attempt to break down beliefs in an attempt to dismiss them, such as my favorite Valerie Tarico, whom I have responded to multiple times. This particular argument comes from behavioral scientist and social and political commentator Gad Saad over at his blog at Psychology Today.

While it was this post that caught my attention initially, it was a previous post that he linked to which is inciting this response. Titled, “It Can Be Confusing to Find the One True Religion“, he writes,

I have often had conversations with religious people about their utter convictions that their religious narrative is THE correct one (as opposed to the narratives stemming from the other 9,999 religions). Usually, the response is one that defines the meaning of a tautology: “I know that it is the true narrative because my religion is the revealed truth.” Nice!

Let’s just distinguish between “conviction“, what someone is convinced of the whether that is true or not, and where they get those convictions from. I’m self-reflective enough to realize that I have drawn conclusions, for which I was totally convinced, simply because I accepted them blindly, and when shown that those were wrong had to wrestle with and either harmonize or abandon outright, so to me, conviction is irrelevant. And let’s just abandon the “9,999 religions“-meme because it is, likewise, irrelevant and is used as a red herring to attempt to avoid the real issue, which is something greater. I mean if we’re going to make “revelation” the judge of what is true, let’s just stick with that and let it be the judge.

As a Christian, my religion is not Christianity. I know that some of you just swallowed your gum at that, but people who call themselves such almost tacitly recognize that, in fact they do so on a weekly basis by the fact that they attend different churches of different denominations. My religion happens to be Baptist, most specifically Southern Baptist. At one time it was United Methodist, and at another it was Cumberland Presbyterian. For some Christians it is Episcopalian, for others Lutheran, and for still some it’s the non-denominational denomination. Our Christianity is expressed through a variety of religions, many of which can rightly call themselves such by holding to what has been revealed even though, at times, we have gotten our religious preference confused with what is true, but I digress.

Gad sets up a scenario,

Suppose that a Martian had moved to Earth recently. He is shopping for the one true religion. Let’s see where this exploration takes him. As a logical and rational Martian, he begins by asking a few basic questions to get the ball rolling.

I think that such scenarios definitely should cause us to pause and think about exactly it is that we believe, because they can provide insight into whether we are defending a tradition or the truth, which are two entirely different things. Let’s look at his questions, and see whether or not they are indeed “basic” or if they’re something else entirely.

Can I drink alcohol? It depends on who the true God is.

Can I eat prosciutto? It depends on who the true God is.

Can I eat some fried rice with shrimps? It depends on who the true God is.

Can I listen to music? It depends on who the true God is.

Can I turn on the computer to work on Saturday? It depends on who the true God is.

Can I have more than one wife? It depends on who the true God is.

Can I masturbate? It depends on who the true God is.

How easy is it to obtain a divorce? It depends on who the true God is.

What should the punishment (if any) be for homosexuality? It depends on who the true God is.

Can one commit suicide? It depends on who the true God is.

Can I take prescription drugs if I am sick? It depends on who the true God is.

Are particular animals considered sacred? It depends on who the true God is.

Is there one God or multiple Gods? It depends on who the true God(s) is/are.

Does hell exist? It depends on who the true God is.

Is premarital sex allowed? It depends on who the true God is.

Is the sun divine? It depends on who the true God is.

Can I be reincarnated? It depends on who the true God is.

How should women dress? It depends on who the true God is.

Is male circumcision a Divine obligation? It depends on who the true God is.

Is female circumcision a Divine obligation? It depends on who the true God is.

Has the Messiah revealed himself? It depends on who the true God is.

Can I buy indulgences to “fast-track” my dead ancestors into Heaven? It depends on who the true God is.

Is it important to always be aware of where you are standing in relation to the Cardinal directions? It depends on who the true God is.

Is there a direct representative of God on Earth? It depends on who the true God is.

Are atheists going to hell? It depends on who the true God is.

How easy is it for me to join your religion? It depends on who the true God is.

Is it blasphemous to have a tattoo? It depends on who the true God is.

Is there such a thing as a sacred river? It depends on who the true God is.

Should I seek revenge on my enemies? It depends on who the true God is.

Are we close to Armageddon? It depends on who the true God is.

Do some souls reside on other planets? It depends on who the true God is.

Is the wearing of leather shoes prohibited on particular days? It depends on who the true God is.

Are pilgrimages a Divine obligation? It depends on who the true God is.

Is apostasy permitted? It depends on who the true God is.

Is evolution true? It depends on who the true God is.

Interesting questions.

In my next post, I’ll examine these questions to see whether or not they’re actually relevant to the issue.

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2 thoughts on “Is It Really Confusing When It Comes to Religion?

  1. Pingback: Let Me Be Blunt – triggermanblog

  2. Pingback: Don’t Tell Me What I Think – triggermanblog

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