Just read an article about a study which roughly correlates analytical ability to less religiosity - atheists all over the world must be celebrating. They now have a way to feel superior to religious people. Because religious people are the people who can’t analyze things, right? I mean, there are so many inconsistencies in religion; surely the only way a person could believe would be because they couldn’t analyze. Aha, that’s why religion doesn’t make any sense!
I doubt it though. There’s something more to the picture than religious people being stupid. It’s too easy to say religious people can’t analyze and leave it at that. When has life ever been black-and-white like that?
I have an idea as to why religious people believe in all those obvious inconsistencies.
First, religion has gotten mixed up with spirituality. The two are not the same. Religion is an attempt to codify the nameless by rules and absolutes - thou shall not do this or that, this God is the one true God, our prophet the true prophet, our way is better than your way. On the other hand, spirituality is…well… it’s hard to say what spirituality is. The word sacred comes to mind - if you know sacredness, you know spirituality. And people immediately recognize the feelings of spirituality - sacredness, beauty, flow, harmony – as right somehow.
But…those feelings of sacredness, of beauty, of flow – they don’t arise from analyzing. You don’t analyze a tree and then connect with it. Connection happens spontaneously, without effort. It simply arises.
So in the beginning we experience a spiritual feeling. It arose spontaneously and feels good. That’s the spiritual part.
We humans want to feel those pleasurable feelings more often and create a structure around those feelings. This is perfectly natural and there are many different structures. Christianity is one. Zoroastrianism is another.
Religion enters the picture with ignorance. When ignorantly believe our structures are the right structures. When we believe our rules are the right ones. When we believe spirituality can only be experienced via this particular structure, this particular mode of thought. And most of all, when we believe spiritual feelings are true. Religion enters the picture with absolutes.
So, where were we? Oh, yes, analytical ability. Who needs to analyze when they have the truth?