Friday, 2 October 2009

The Wager

A random thought for today...


The more I've looked into religion, the more it boggles my mind that someone can subscribe to a particular dogma in this day and age. Fair enough I could see belief in gods, but to get into specifics? The notion sounds crazy.

Maybe a few hundred years ago there was an excuse, after all the choice that most people had was between their particular religion and nothing. Even until recently it seems possible that someone could be so isolated from the rest of the world, not having the resources to see the other religions and mythologies that litter human history.

But now? Surely dogma has become quite irrelevant. In fact, it would do nothing more than get in the way. Morality in a multicultural sense is fundamentally at odds with doctrinal prescriptive behaviour, rituals and particular beliefs seeming downright silly if not for the fact that one was brought up to believe them to be true.

There is an implicit wager when adhering to any particular doctrine. The wager is that while every other religion and supernatural belief is a product of imagination, the particular doctrine you just happened to be brought up in was the one exception to that rule. In effect, religion is the gamble that all other people are deluded while your religion and your religion alone holds divine revelation. That mystics, shamen, soothsayers, priests, those claiming divine revelation - all of those have been deluded, but those in your religion are the exception...


...when it's a choice between particular gods and nothing, theists make the choice sooooo much easier.

5 comments:

Intelligent Designer said...

Kel,

After reading your post I decided to respond on my own blog here.

Intelligent Designer said...

On second thought, I have decided that this is my response to PZ Myers as well.

Kel said...

You've really got to work on your PZ obsession Randy...

Though I read your response and don't see what relevance it has to this post.

Intelligent Designer said...

You were wondering how anyone could subscribe to a particular belief system. I provided and explanation for that. I also explain what happens when people become aware that their belief system is flawed. Its my opinion that atheists usually fall into the category of people that reject every aspect of their belief system and overshoot into something else just as irrational.

The blog entry up to that point is my response to you. The rest of it is a vent about my experience at Pharyngula.

You've really got to work on your PZ obsession Randy

It's true, I have SIWOTI.

Kel said...

I think you've tried to answer a rhetorical device there Randy, still I'm perplexed about your response. What does it matter what side you're on? The critique is the notion of dogma in this day and age - nothing at all to do with whether one is bigoted or a peacemaker.

For the record, am I on the side of tolerance and peace? Of course I am. But even if homoeopaths are the nicest people in the world (everyone I've met has been kind and has a great desire to help) it doesn't mean that homoeopathic medicine should be free from criticism. And if people are going to claim water has memory or that like cures like or that dilution increases potency, then surely it goes beyond tolerance to bite ones tongue.