The value of religion

I am annoyed by militant atheists. I think religion is very interesting. It represents thousands of years of human thinking about how to get along, build a better world, to be happy, to have better relationships, to transcend the ordinary, to be healthy, and to find peace. Yes, science can do many things better than religion (ex. how to eat healthy or be sanitary), but this is no reason to discard all the collected wisdom. Yes most religions might have as much garbage as they do "truth" but it is not hard (and it doesn't take very long) to separate the good from the bad.

I take a much more open approach to religion.  Jefferson did this when he created The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. He talked about finding the "diamonds in a dunghill." So as I journey through various faiths, I try to find similarities and what makes them unique. I try to find new practices that help to deal with the problems I face. I participate in their rituals and practices but at the time time also try to reflect on what we have learned from medicine, neuroscience and psychology. I openly allow the experience yet intentionally avoid ascribing the same meaning to it.

More importantly, science has not done a good job of answering the questions I am concerned with the most (though this is quickly changing and I do think it's entirely possible that "science" might one day extract all the value from religion [CBT is a good example - they stole some of the best parts from Buddhism] but that hasn't happened yet). Given that, I am happy to wade through all of the information, much like a gold miner, to find a few nuggets of "truth."


A.J. Jacobs: My year of living biblically