ToK - Religion “There is only one religion, though there are a thousand different names for it” George Bernard Shaw “Truth is my God. Nonviolence is my way of realizing Him.” Mahatma Gandhi “I respect faith, but doubt is what gives you an education.” Wilson Mizner
ToK - Religion It is hard to be indifferent to claims which offer explanations about the nature of right and wrong; the purpose of life; and what happens to us after death.
ToK - Religion We are not going to be looking at arguments for and against the existence of God(s) Why religion? How do we assess the claims of religion? Should religious belief be exposed to rational criticism? What knowledge is possible through faith and religion?
ToK - Religion Religion: a definition A Religion is a set of doctrines and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature and often arranged as prayer, ritual or religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience.
ToK - Religion • All cultures in all times have organized their societies around their religious beliefs. • Religious beliefs can give certainty, meaning and purpose to our lives. • (Atheism is also a belief system which can give certainty, meaning and purpose to our lives.)
ToK - Religion • Mythology • The science of its time – inasmuch as it sought to explain and predict. • “A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.” • James Feibleman
ToK - Religion • Mythology • We are all atheists about most gods – Thor, Zeus etc • Some of us are atheists about all gods.
ToK - Religion Faith: a definition “Faith is the confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.” “…the belief and the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, based on his or her authority and truthfulness.” Wikipedia Faith, by definition, demands belief without a need for supporting evidence.
ToK - Religion Allegory of Faith L.S. Carmona The veil symbolizes a willingness to believe without seeing evidence
ToK - Religion God: ”I know God exists and I have no doubts about it” Afterlife: ”I definitely believe in life after death” Bible: ”The Bible is the actual word of God and it is to be taken literally, word for word.” Devil: ”I definitely believe in the Devil” Hell: ”I definitely believe in Hell” Heaven: ”I definitely believe in Heaven” Miracle: ”I definitely believe in religious miracles” From a 1991 study By National Opinion Research Center at University of Chicago http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_comp.htm
ToK - Religion Religious belief in the USA From a 2003 survey conducted by Harris Poll http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=359
ToK - Religion • But don’t forget – • Just because a lot of people • believe something to be true, • it doesn’t make it true … • Truth tests… • Correspondence? • Coherence? • Pragmatism? • Consensus?
ToK - Religion “Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion; Rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science.” Gary Zukav
ToK - Religion Three men whose work had a profound impact on religion Karl Marx Charles Darwin Sigmund Freud
ToK - Religion George Went Hensley and the Dolley Pond Church of God ….and the things faith enable you to do Snakehandlers in a church in the southern United States
ToK - Religion • Gordon Allport • Extrinsic Religiosity • (Outer; not a basic part) • Religious Belief • Conventional Knowledge • Intrinsic Religiosity • (Inner; belonging to a thing by its very nature) • Religious Practice • Unconventional Knowledge
ToK - Religion • An analogy: the eye • Conventional knowledge • Central vision • Precise; one-thing-at-a-time • Reason • Looks at…. • The world of facts and events • Classification and measurement spotlight
ToK - Religion • An analogy: the eye • Unconventional knowledge • Peripheral vision • Vague; everything-all-at-once • Intuition • Aware of…. • Direct experience • Beyond language floodlight
ToK - Religion • Unconventional knowledge • “For the world is not atoms or molecules • or radio-activity or other forces; • the diamond is not carbon and • light is not vibrations of ether. • You can never come to the reality of creation by contemplating it from the point of view of destruction.” • Rabindranath Tagore
ToK - Religion • Unconventional knowledge • “Not everything has a name. • Some things lead us into the realm beyond words …. • it is like that small round mirror in fairy tales – • you glance in it, and what you see is not yourself; • for an instant you glimpse the inaccessible, • where no horse or magic carpet can take you. • And the soul cries out for it.” • Alexander Solzhenitsyn
ToK - Religion • Some questions: • Should religious beliefs be exposed to rational criticism? • Are moral values based on religion? • What arguments are there for the existence of God? • What role does emotion play in religious belief? • Does history have some kind of plan or purpose? • Do science and religion contradict one another? • Does religious experience lie beyond language?