Blog #3 observed that, despite the incontrovertible fact that are religion and belief systems are acquired merely by the accident of birth, differences of belief have historically resulted in war and strife.
Contention has also arisen over the years concerning the existence of a Deity at all, by reason of the lack of probative evidence; yet those who would deny such an assertion lack sufficient equipment for such denial. They would, for their part, exclude the creation of our planet and its evolving flora and fauna, as proofs; yet still others would see necessary language in the sacred books as undeniable proof of God’s existence.
“Religious belief”, as a phrase, has always borne a close, undeniable relationship with the word “faith.” But the word “faith” is distinguishable from the word “knowledge.” The context of the word Faith, properly understood, clearly expresses the concept of choice; the choice to believe “has faith”; compare with” has no faith” Clearly, faith is distinguishable from “knowledge.” Knowledge is factual and empirical viz., water is wet, most dogs have four legs, giraffes have very long necks. “Believers” are apt confidently, to proffer as proof, sacred books and ancient religious commentary. It cannot be denied, however, that such sacred books including the Bible, were written by humans who confidently believed that the sun travels around the earth.
The Founding Fathers, significantly and deliberately, chose to omit any reference to a deity in the Constitution. Historical research reveals that such omission was intended to avoid the possibility that religious fundamentalists would seek to erode liberty of thought; they had plenty of supporting evidence from the histories of England and continental Europe
The” Scopes” trial in Tennessee, where a schoolteacher was tried for the crime of teaching evolutionary theory to his high school students, demonstrates the continuance of fundamentalist ignorance and literalism. It was, in fact the growing development of free thought that enabled Darwinian Theory. Currently, most educational districts permit the inclusion of evolutionary theory; some, regrettably, continue to shun evolutionary theory in favor of Genesis.
An egotism may be perceived among certain “believers”who state that “too much education is dangerous” and who reject scientific insight.
P would confidently (and if possible, diplomatically) state that blind religious faith and literalism impedes human thought and creativity. In reality, like it or not, we are all agnostics whether or not we like the label. The unsupported belief, or non-belief, proves nothing to anyone. It does matter, whichever fork in the road we choose presented by the option of “faith,” that we all live in harmony and love.