I define a religious belief as any idea that one holds to be objectively true AND broadly applicable to circumstances and/or individuals beyond the self. Belief, rather than fact or absolute knowledge, is a defining characteristic of religion. A religious belief in this broader sense may or may not have anything to do with theology. In fact per this definition, most religious beliefs have nothing at all to do with traditional concepts of divinity. I think that religious thinking and beliefs are important in our current state of evolution so it is not my intention to criticize religion, but rather to broaden its definition so that we are better able to discern when we may be under sway of an unrecognized form of religious ideology and mistaking it for objective truth.
This piece is from my 2013 digital series entitled “WAR”. To me, whether it’s traditional religious, scientific or political ideaology, it’s pretty much all religion. Robert Persig pointed this out relative to science in his infamous reference to the scientific establishment as “the church of reason”. Religion, in one form or another, is always at the core of social conflict. Nowhere is this more evident today than in the growing backlash against science due, in part, to its increasing alliance with the leftist political establishment. Science is supposed to be above politics and the US political system is supposed to function apart from religion according to the foundational constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state. Unfortunately, the boundaries that typically define science, politics and religion have all been breached and there now exists, perhaps for the first time since the founding of the nation, a wholly dysfunctional threesome between science, politics and religion.
I plan to discuss this more in the future and to explain why I believe that religious thinking is still the dominant cognitive mode of the modern world despite five hundred years of efforts to transcend it. It still serves us in a weird sort of way. I believe it has to do with over reliance upon human sensory apparatus that is designed to process information relative to immediate survival, not to apprehend long term, big pictures of reality. This forces us to limp along with insufficient information leading to short sighted perceptions, faulty conclusions and bad decisions about the future.
The question is, how do we, can we, or should we even get everybody back into the respective boxes where they belong?