Everyone entered in the ideological Turing Test challenge is finishing up their answers to the atheist slate of questions, and I’ll be starting to post them on Monday. But, since a lot of people were interested, I had to draw lots, so there wouldn’t be an unmanageable number of responses. I may repeat the experiment in the future, but, for now, Verbose Stoic has decided to play along on his own blog. So, if you can’t wait for Monday, head over to his blog and read through his answers (which are mixed with some commentary on the choice of question). I’ve posted one of his answers in each category below.
What’s your best reason for being a Christian?
As one editor at Marvel always used to reply (to any question about favourites) “Can anyone ever really have a best reason for being a Christian?” [grin]
This is a tough one. Probably the best supporting reason is unfortunately a variation on an argument ad populum: it’s been a long-held societal belief that at least has contradicted the world enough to be dismissed as false. Which looks a lot like “A lot of people believe it”. But for beliefs, I’m not sure if there can be a better reason, other than “It works for me”.
Why is religion so persistent? We have had political revolutions, artistic revolutions, an industrial revolution, and also religious reformations of several kinds, but religion endures. Does this not suggest its basic truth?
That a belief is long-held and popular doesn’t make it true. Even having evolutionary benefit doesn’t make it true or still useful. Religion is tied tightly into the social fabric of most societies and reinforces itself by teaching it to the children of believers. It also seems to fulfill a psychological need in people. But we can fulfill those needs with beliefs that are at least more rational than religion, even if it will take a long time for that to take full effect.