Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pastor: Humans innately seek the right religion

News and Observer
Most people don't "find" or discover their religion - it finds them.
Doubtful. Most people get their default religion (the religion of their parents or community), some exposure to outside ideas (in modern, cosmopolitan societies, the amount of exposure can be quite large), and whatever ideas they can conjure up themselves.

Contrary to the assertion that people's religions "find them", religions tend grow and spread in fairly predictable, mundane ways - passed down from generation to generation and through evangelism. Native Americans don't just up and convert to Christianity prior to contact with Christians. Individuals are the same way, they work with what they have, and traditions tend to weigh heavily.

But according to the pastor, humans have to innate qualities that pull us towards religion:
I believe humans have two inward drives: The first is a drive or desire to know why they exist. Man has a sense that we are "effects" from a "cause" that is outside of the effect. We exist because of something or someone else greater than ourselves. We yearn to find that someone. There is an innate appetite to discover and admire him.
Sheesh, just say the G-word already.
Second, there seems to be a moral code or law written in our hearts.

We have something inside of us that tells us that we are not only in trouble with earthly authorities but accountable to a "higher power."
Okay, even assuming there aren't massive logical errors hiding there (like say, erroneously projecting your own Judeo-Christian reasons for belief in God unto absolutely everybody), how do we know which religion is right?

The response is pure genius:
Is the belief system accurate from an anthropological, genealogical, geographical, scientific and social perspective?
Scientifically accurate? This is religion we're talking about here. Here's a quick run down of a few of them:
  • A dead guy comes back to life and decides whether or not you get tossed into everlasting fire for all eternity.
  • All of humanity's problems are caused by spirits of space aliens who were sent to Earth and blown up by their evil ruler.
  • Magical spells really work.
  • The world is not only a lie, but is inherently full of anguish and suffering, which can be escaped through a regiment of religious practices.
Up next is the remarkably helpful question:
Does the religion claim to be authentic and sanctioned by God?

This is just a wild guess here, but yeah, chances of that are pretty high.
Does the religion claim to be salvific and capable of appeasing the anger of a just God?
Remember that projection thing from earlier? You're doing it again.

Long story short, whichever religious claims that are most similar to Christianity (claims of historicity, salvation, appeasing God's holy wrath) are most likely truthful. Circular logic triumphs again.

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