As I define it, fundamentalist religion is the strict adherence to traditional beliefs and practices of a religion including, but not limited to, the literal interpretation of holy texts. The problem with fundamentalist religion is that it leads people to not only be immune to reason, but also to behave in ways which are harmful to themselves and others.
So far in my blog posts, I've discussed the evolutionary, historical, cultural, literary, moral, psychological, and neurological nature of religion and of Christianity in particular. Before I delve into the issues created by religion and provide explanations of a more rational worldview, I would first like to summarize what religion is actually all about.
In my previous 3 posts, I've provided evidence that religiosity and spiritual experiences are not based on supernatural forces, and free will is merely an illusion. Given this information, is there still room for an immaterial soul? Based on the best available evidence regarding brain functioning, there is no reason to believe anything akin to the human soul exists.
Gary Cox is a member of HofMN and an inmate at the Oak Park Heights prison. He is co-editor of the prison inmate publication, "A New Perspective," from which the following is excerpted.
The proverb "out of sight, out of mind" is likely familiar to most everyone. Yet how many of us fully appreciate just what a profound truth it actually expresses? Relatively few, I would hazard to guess. In short, we depend on our sense of vision much more than we realize – or should, once the scope of the situation is properly grasped. As the notoriously cryptic Yogi Berra might once have quipped: We are often blinded by what we can’t see. An example of this is prisons.
Free will is an important aspect of many denominations of Christianity. As C.S. Lewis explains "God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having." However, the more we learn about the forces influencing our decisions, the less room there is for such freedom of will.
Many people have had experiences they feel are too powerful and real to be the result of anything other than God or the supernatural. These "spiritual" experiences may be transformative, but science shows they are likely the result of our brains and nothing more.
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