This week’s question: “What do you think about people who call themselves religious but never actually attend religious services or follow the rules of their religion? ”
People are the result of the society into which they were born. I do not fault a person born five hundred years ago for believing that the world is flat. In the same way, our current society is full of people proclaiming the existence of gods, the accuracy of astrology and the effectiveness of homeopathy. It is silly to expect every person to spend their entire lives analyzing every claim presented to them because many people don’t care enough to make the difficult leap of dissention. And that’s not necessarily terrible — we all have jobs to do, checkbooks to balance and families to love. I understand that people are busy, and don’t care enough to sit down with me and have a long, boring discussion of how their use of the word “good” mischaracterizes objects as having inherent purpose.
But scientific knowledge is more easily disseminated today than ever before. As a result, many atheists would say that it is as intellectually lazy and ridiculous to believe in astrology, homeopathy or God as it is to believe in a flat Earth. I would argue that, while true, its ridiculousness does not matter in terms of changing the world. As long as kids are born into a society wherein their parents, the President and their peers all tell them that God is real and will punish them for masturbating, even smart, rational people are going to grow up believing instead of thinking.
Connor Oakes is a third-year political science major.
Honestly, this is how I mentally characterize most religious people upon first impression. If I meet somebody religious, my first assumption is that they follow whatever denomination they subscribe to as loosely as possible. Then, sometimes, I end up being a little let down by people on the more extreme side of the spectrum. Similarly, if I ever meet somebody who is non-religious, I have to assume that they’re extremely apathetic about their perspective. On one hand, this is sort of nice. If we’re going to have people looking to put a little bit of God or gods (or whatever else) in their lives, it’s nice to have them keep it to themselves so they only hurt themselves and not others too.
On the other hand, I’d argue that these people represent the largest problem in terms of religious adherence and bullheadedness. At least if someone is extreme in their beliefs, they’ll be vocal about it, and their concerns or misconceptions can be more readily addressed or debated. The moderates, however, represent a strong sort of buffer, refusing to budge one way or the other. It also seems (in my limited perspective) that these people represent a majority. It seems like most people fall in the middle on most issues, and theological ones are so individualized that they become almost impossible to address effectively or hold any sort of discourse on.
Cameron Moody is a second-year computational biology major.
Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org!