TEG Posted August 14, 2019 Share Posted August 14, 2019 Hello. As an ex-fundamentalist I am still fascinated by the phenomenon of religion. And I have asked myself, is it possible that there really is something “out there,” meaning some sort of deity or spiritual world, or something “in there,” meaning a non-corporeal soul. It seems to me that if there really were some sort of spiritual world that was accessible to man, then there would be some sort of universal human religion. We all see the same moon; why don’t we all see the same god? Example: hinduism and buddhism are two of the world’s main religions. But as I understand it, they do not agree on something as fundamental as the existence of the atman, or soul. Hindus say there is one, buddhists say there isn’t. This seems like a pretty important question for religion to answer. Another example: Jesus told his disciples that the holy spirit would guide them into all truth. Down through the centuries, he has not been a very good guide, as evidenced by religious divisions and even warfare, with each group using the tinfoil-hat argument that the devil has deceived their opponents. Another example: how many gods are there? I can imagine someone objecting to this by saying that when people have spiritual experiences, it is so unlike everyday experience that it cannot be put into words, or that everyone sees things from a different angle and so has a different perspective. But I still have trouble with the fact that the amount of agreement between religions is so small, and can’t help but think it is much more likely that religious experiences are basically hallucinations. Even near-death experiences, which have common elements, have neurobiological explanations; plus, they happen when a person is dying and their brain is starved of oxygen. People having heart attacks often have chest pain, shortness of breath, etc.; people whose brains are shutting down sometimes have near-death experiences. So what I have been searching for is some reason to believe that religion or spirituality is based on something “real” other than a feeling that you have, and I have not found it. The ancient babylonians and greeks used the same trigonometry that we use. Anyone on earth doing basic experiments would come up with the same value for the acceleration due to gravity. But religions are as diverse as science fiction novels. So I have concluded that religion is, basically, science fiction that people actually believe. It is the product of man’s mind, and is thus as diverse as man himself. It sometimes makes people better, and sometimes makes them worse, just like everything else. If someone’s religion or spirituality helps them through life’s rough spots, the way that crutches help people walk, fine; but I do not believe that there is anything more real to it than that. Just wondering if anyone else has wondered along these lines. 2 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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