in response to The Daily Detour: Does freedom require religion?, i have a couple points to make:
We must be sure to separate the misapplication of a religious worldview from that worldview itself.
it seems to me that it is usually those who disagree with the truthiness of a specific worldview who say that actions by those who hold that worldview are the all-but-inevitable consequenses of that worldview.
conversely, those very same people tend to to be quick to apply the â€œmisapplicationâ€ argument when confronted with misdeeds by those who hold a worldview similar to their own.
or more simply: you can’t say pol pot’s actions sprang from his beliefs and then turn around and someone like, say, cortez’ actions showed up in spite of his beliefs.
no: the evil that human beings do is because human beings do evil things, and no worldview can keep all of them from doing such things: even one that (mostly) preaches peace and compassion.
when it comes to the christian worldview, there is the â€œlittleâ€ matter of the holy spirit and her influence on the human she inhabits.
to this, i can only answer that if god were real, and god actually sent a holy spririt to inhabit people’s hearts and help turn their minds, their actions would follow, always.
the bible says that god changes peoples hearts and minds and paul is explicit that it is a natural consequence of being saved that one acts in a godly way.
but clearly there are plenty examples of christians acting in a way that is antithetical to the way their faith says they will.
this is why there’s such an undercurrent in christian culture of the tension between freewill and god’s sovereignty.
gotta keep that freewill card around so the huge evidence of lack of obedience doesnt’ end up undermining the faith altogether.
my second point is that ideas either survive or do not survive.
ideas that are absurd do not survive.
very few people believe the earth is flat anymore because we accept the eidence presented to us: very very few of us get to see the thing from afar ourselves or understand the physics well enough to run tests on our own.
no one believes they can fly (at least no one who lives long enough to spread the idea).
but ideas that sound plausible can survive, and they can survive long enough to get refined and evolve to become more plausible.
this is, of course, the â€œreligion as memeâ€ idea, and it is fully capable of explaining why religion and specifically christianity describe the human condition quite well.
if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have survived.
ultimately, though, in the great sifting of ideas by humanit, the truthy ones will come to the top while the others are burned off.
this is why humans murder less than they used to, live longer, have healthier babies and are able to build rockets.
it is also why, eventually, we will shake off all notions of the supernatural to explain what is currently unexplainable.
thank god for it, too! 😉