The Sermon on the Mount’s hatred for life on earth
I'm thankful you are writing on this important topic. Having been raised religious I wrestled with the contradictions and definitely had the self-doubt/nervous confidence and damn sure didn't have the philosophy/psychology I have now. What an act of justice it would be to raise a child with reason, purpose, and self-esteem.
Most? of us, (pure numbers game and "the way we've always done it), are raised religious.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali who was raised religious kept the Epistemology of "faith and feeling and believing"- growing up she had faith in Islam, then of course NO faith IN Islam, then faith in Christianity. And her Ethics are the same - For god, For Others, and the same Metaphysics - Good v Evil, my team good, other team evil. She'll might even come up with a new religion by mixing in all she's been through. It's why we've got over 4,000 religions and counting.
The contradictions in a child and teen mind, and then adult mind, when we are "raised religious" are sure to produce a junk heap. I know they did in me.
“As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation - or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt,
Like a ball and chain in the place where your mind's wings should have grown.”
― ayn rand
The philosophy and psychology when we are "raised religious" ... and the data says most of us are definitely getting this messaging as we develop as children, then teens then into young adulthood.
Religion Is Child Mind Abuse (coming soon)
Destroying Faith to Make Room For Reason. (coming 2024)
These were my short comments, made on MeWe, regarding Ayaan Hirsi Ali's piece on converting to Christianity. I focus more on her desire to "unify" and to "seek purpose in life" than on the religious aspects.
C. Jeffery Small
"But we can’t fight off these formidable forces unless we can answer the question: what is it that unites us? The response that “God is dead!” seems insufficient. So, too, does the attempt to find solace in “the rules-based liberal international order”. The only credible answer, I believe, lies in our desire to uphold the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition."
Well, it saddens me that Ayaan Hirsi Ali was apparently not exposed to a broader understanding of rational individualism with its respect for facts and reason as the core principle guiding self-actualization. I disagree that western culture is built upon Judeo-Christian tradition although much of our civilization was built in parallel with it. It was rationality that created the west -- and history, when dominated by Judeo-Christian rule, demonstrates that in spades.
"I have also turned to Christianity because I ultimately found life without any spiritual solace unendurable — indeed very nearly self-destructive. Atheism failed to answer a simple question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?"
I suspect that this describes a great many people who embrace religion. For me, it shows a lack of imagination in the possibilities of a self-actualized life. It is absolutely true that atheism has nothing positive to say about anything -- it is merely a position reflecting the acceptance of a fact of reality. A self-made man is one who asserts and pursues their own purpose. It is an abdication of that great opportunity to seek to find one's "purpose" defined by others and external to oneself.
“When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”
Not the rational man who grounds his thoughts and values in the facts of reality.
At the end of the day, there can never be unity between the rational and the irrational and I'm afraid the attempt to seek that is doomed to failure.
For people who really commit to rationality, seeing the irrational in others is particularly difficult. I am always surprised when a good scientist also holds strong religious beliefs. People are capable of compartmentalizing their minds in all sorts of ways and one of the most common seems to be separating rather than integrating the physical world from the spiritual (e.g., abstract) world. Time marches on. :-/