I have, like many of you I’m sure had dozens of very intense religious debates with friends and family. I’ve come to realize something, which I haven’t ever witnessed either Sam, or hitchens or Dawkins mention.
Religious people are in love with their God.
It’s obvious they love their God, but I think it goes much further than that. They are in love like a teenager falls in love, totally and utterly and be damned the consequences or opinions of others. They say love is blind, but the bigger truth is that it’s also blind and deaf, and if you will pardon the expression, partially retarded as well.
I have wondered to myself since I had this rather minor revelation, how someone like Sam Harris would use a point like this ( if he even would consider it a valid point…lol). How do you deal with a friend who is so obviously in love with the wrong person? We all know the futility of trying to “debate” a person out of their faith. It just doesn’t stick. You can throw all the dates and research and modern ethical/philosophical notions at them like you can muster… and they will still hug their loved God to their chests, fiercely defensive and always loyal.
I watch talks by Sam and Hitchens and Dawkins, and all three of them are brilliant in their own way but none of them seem to put their ideas across in a way that is understanding of how the religious people of this world feel about their faith. Perhaps Sam does to some extent with his acceptance of spiritual ideals and practices..but I feel it’s not enough.
Anyhoo, this is my first post in these forums..so hello to everyone!
thanks for your reply. I agree with you that there are many factors that contribute to the existence of religions, the 5 you posted being good examples. I suppose my initial post wasn’t about why there is religion, or what causes it but more about why it’s so hard to disengage someone from a system of faith once they are “romantically attached”.
The way many people I’ve met defend their faith and become flustered and very emotional if you dare question it, reminds me quite acutely of romantic love, and the firely passion is brings out in folks.
We may indeed be genetically disposed to having faith, but then switching from faith in one thing to another should be fine, so long as that need is being met. This rarely happens.
The social factor you mentioned is probably the biggest one, I think in terms of sheer day to day pressure.