Throughout the ages man has created myths and many of those myths blossomed into religions. For thousands of years this was our primary way of trying to make sense of things we didn’t understand.
Myths also make their way into politics and become the basis for ways of organizing society. Sometimes a particular ideology takes hold and acts like a religion within politics. Religions and political ideologies both seek to implement absolute ways of living and leave very little room for contrary views.
The latest major religion/ideology seems to be Science. Science has greatly increased our understanding of the world and because of its success many people now turn to it exclusively for answers. And where it does not provide answers, those gaps are often filled in with speculation.
The fundamental questions have not been answered, but that does not stop some science worshipers from believing they have been or that it’s only a matter of time until science answers those questions.
The methods of science are an effective way of understanding our world, but it’s ultimately just a tool. The human nervous system is the means by which we interpret reality. It’s our lens. Scientific discovery happens through it. And ironically the methods of science have discovered that our lens is faulty, distorted, incomplete. It’s the chink in the armor of the religion of science .
It’s also ironic that when almost everyone believed in God (which was most of human history until The Enlightenment), the world was more violent and less prosperous than it is now. Faith in God seems to have little to do with preventing violence, disease, or poverty. But it can give people the strength to endure difficult circumstances. Faith didn’t even save Jesus. But it gave him and many others the strength to endure hardship.
Faith does not guarantee a peaceful and prosperous life. It has been mainly the contributions of scientists, entrepreneurs and social activists, especially over the last few hundred years that provided the extraordinary lifestyle most of us enjoy today.
Faith provides an inner strength that can enrich our inner experience. Whether or not faith saves us from something in the after-life remains to be seen. It certainly doesn’t save us from hell on earth. In other words, it doesn’t keep people from doing terrible things. It’s hard to fathom the number of believers who have murdered, raped, and looted in the name of God.
Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe faith is supposed to be something more personal. Maybe it’s the banding together of people of a riged set of beliefs that perverts faith. It’s the exclusive nature of religion which causes people to do terrible things in the name of God.
No religion has all of the answers. Nobody has a complete picture of what this life is about or who God is. So we should all be humble in our beliefs. If all people of faith were humble in their beliefs a lot of unfair judgment and persecution could be avoided.