Books by A.O. Kime
"Metaphysical realities in America's politically-challenged democracy"
"A sagacious accounting of the Stone Age and the beginnings of civilization"
U.S. colleges and trade schools
Odd combination of directories you think? See 'faces'
A.O. Kime Articles:
Shoofly Village ruins
Stone Age history
Stone Age timelines
Stone Age tools
Dynamics of now
Evil (nature of)
Gift of life
Light (nature of)
Time (nature of)
Curse of science
Int'l Criminal Court
Rule of law
The Dilemma of Religion
by Jan A. Larson
The nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, the on-
going acts of terrorism by Muslim extremists and the debate
over the teaching of "intelligent design" in public schools are
just three current issues that have a religious component.
Religion is, at its heart, a personal matter. One's faith is largely learned and not independently determined. If a person's parents are raised Catholic, Hindu or Buddhist, then it is extremely likely that he or she will hold similar beliefs. This in itself, from a purely academic viewpoint, calls into question the validity of any particular religious faith. Without the constant questioning of one's faith, religion is little more than indoctrination.
Religious faith is not based in logic. Faith is really nothing more than a personal belief in things that cannot be proved or disproved. Faith provides a mechanism for the human mind to rationalize the unknowable.
There are two realms of religious faith – the first realm includes those beliefs that arise from ignorance. Scientific research eliminates such beliefs from this realm over time. An example of a phenomenon that was once viewed from a religious perspective but later explained by science is the lunar eclipse. Ancient peoples thought that a god or gods or other mythical creatures were responsible for eclipses and that those eclipses had specific (albeit non-scientific) significance. We now know that simple orbital dynamics cause eclipses on a predictable schedule.
The second realm of faith centers on things that are not only unknown, but also are unknowable. This is where religion gets a bad name. Any crackpot movement can come up with some religious angle based on the unknowable and get the naïve or feeble-minded to follow them, witness the mass suicide in Guyana in the late 70's, the "Heaven's Gate" mass suicide in 1997 and the Muslim extremists' recruitment of suicide bombers.
The pronouncements by terrorists that they plan to "eliminate the infidels, God willing" are simply twisted uses of religion to achieve their goals and constitute a false religion.
Unfortunately, religious fundamentalism does nothing to deter those that dismiss all religious people as crackpots. People of faith are often lumped in with zealots by those that would prefer that all religion be eradicated from American society.
Ironically those that would dismiss all religious beliefs as foolhardy and rooted in ignorance are demonstrating their own ignorance given that there are things that are absolutely unknowable. Is there a Creator that masterminded all that we see or have ever seen? Is there an afterlife? No one knows with absolute certainty. It requires faith to believe that there is a Creator and an afterlife. However, it requires just as much faith not to believe in a Creator or an afterlife.
The human mind is almost certainly incapable of comprehending and understanding all there is to comprehend and understand. Similarly, science is almost certainly incapable of deciphering all of the mysteries of the universe.
The problem of separating religious zealotry or false religion from religions that merely attempt to reconcile the unknowable with mankind's limited ability to comprehend such things constitutes the religious dilemma.
There will always be religious crackpots. There will be those that practice a false religion. There will be those that will commit the most heinous atrocities in the name of religion. On the other hand, atheists can be crackpots as well and atrocities are not the exclusive domain of the religious. Religious zealotry on the part of a few is no more reflective of people of faith than Ted Kennedy is reflective of all men named Ted.
The bottom line is that the human experience demands a certain amount of faith. The belief in a higher power or the afterlife is not indicative of zealotry or ignorance. It is simply reflective of our humanity in which the human mind is limited in its capabilities and that science will never provide all of the answers.
Jan A. Larson publishes a weekly commentary, “What is the Deal?” at http://www.pieofknowledge.com. His work also appears on NewsBull, OpinionEditorials, American Daily, ChronWatch and The Conservative Voice.
Matrix of Mnemosyne... the place of smoke signals from the spirit world
Last modified: 03/11/16