Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Judging religions from a public policy angle

I wrote the following entry for a thread on's Relgion forum:

Religion is a cognitive framework overlaying universal human tribality. Its validity isn't in its theology but in how well it maps to those universal human needs and to current exigencies.

I'm a lot less interested in each faith's doctinal particulars than in how its adherents behave.

"By their works ye shall know them."

For example, Mormon prayer is supposed to have you asking God for advice, not for special favors. And not even advice per se. In your prayer you tell God of something you're dealing with--along with what you propose to do about it. It you put in that work, then God, hopefully, will give you a wordless feeling as to whether you're barking up the right tree or if you need to go back to the drawing board, then ask God again when you have a new proposal.

Now even though I don't believe in any God, I find this approach to prayer kind of ideal--it encourages personal initiative and resonsibility. Which is good for society.

I notice most of the religious people in Amazon's Religion forum seem to focus on doctrine to the exclusion of actual practice, and the atheists and empiricists to critique different doctrines.

So let me encourage both sides to talk more about doctrine insofar as it shows up in pracitce. Because your doctrine is your own business, but your practice impinges on the rest of us.         

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