Sunday, May 03, 2009

Taking the religion out of religion

I see Charles M. Blow's observation* than many people raised as "nonbelievers" go on to join churches as a positive sign. The relentless confrontation of religious bullshit is bearing a curious but encouraging fruit: we are taking the religion out of religion.

*h/t to Butterflies and Wheels

Why are these nonbelievers joining churches? According to Blow,
[T]he most-cited reason for settling on their current religion was that they simply enjoyed the services and style of worship.

For these newly converted, the nonreligious shtick didn’t stick. There was still a void, and communities of the faithful helped fill it. ... [W]hen is the choir going to sing? And when is the picnic? And is my child going to get a part in the holiday play?
Churches are becoming community centers, with the priest or minister little more than an activities director in a funny dress.

The fundamental basis of what makes religion religious, the moral authority of the church, is steadily eroding away. God must conform to the beliefs of the people, not the other way around. And Blow admits that the most pernicious effect of religion, asserting as dogma false statements about physical reality, is quickly eroding.
Yes, the evidence for evolution is irrefutable. Yes, there is a plethora of Biblical contradictions. Yes, there is mounting evidence from neuroscientists that suggests that God may be a product of the mind. Yes, yes, yes.
This diminution of religion is not an unqualified win; the tendency of religion to reinforce the prejudices of its community is still powerful and a substantial barrier to gay rights, women's rights and socialism. But it's definitely progress. Religion is in retreat.

Today's priest may carry a Bible, but she rarely opens it, and must be extremely selective about what she reads. What passes for "religion" is becoming nothing more than empty slogans, humanistic ethics, followed by a picnic.

1 comment:

  1. I find it staggering that Blow can write that shit as if it justifies, rather than obviates, religion. What a blithering fuckwit.


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