Stirring the Pot

It has been quiet here at SO lately. A little TOO quiet—as they used to say in the old Western movies. Maybe we are not saying anything very controversial. Or maybe people are just too busy with real work to do. Anyway, I thought I would stir the pot with some claims that I would like to see debated. I do not necessarily endorse either of these claims, but I would like to see them argued out. Luther had 95 theses. I will make do with two:

1) Further argument on theism vs. atheism issues is pointless because accumulating evidence indicates that religiosity is a deeply-rooted personality trait that is, in turn, neurologically based. Put simply, the brains of religious and non-religious people just work differently. Reasons, even if logically sound, serve the psychological purpose of post hoc rationalizations of beliefs that are physiologically determined. We should therefore stop wasting our time debating these issues and get on with something more useful, like figuring out how to get decent cable TV service.

2) Even if we think that rationality is still relevant to the discussion, we have to face the fact, as John Hick eloquently and cogently argued in An Interpretation of Religion, that reality is religiously ambiguous. That is, there are no reasons either for or against a religious interpretation of the world that are strong enough to convict theists or atheists of irrationality. Thousands of years of inconclusive argument should convince us that neither theists nor atheists are simply being obstinately unreasonable. No theistic or atheological argument is so strong as to simply checkmate the opposition. It is possible to reasonably refuse the conclusion of any such argument. Let us therefore embrace a pluralism that recognizes that naturalism is a rational option and that the various religious traditions are equally reasonable ways of responding to a putative transcendent reality.


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