Why Religion?


Earlier today I read a post by the Spartan Atheist related to the development of religion over the centuries, including the role the Winter Solstice played (which we just experienced) … and it got me to thinking.

Why religion?

Let’s look at some definitions for the word “religion” … but first, let’s consider this entry from Wikipedia:

The definition of religion is a controversial and complicated subject in religious studies with scholars failing to agree on any one definition.

Now, let’s review a couple of the more “standard” definitions:

A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny. (WordWeb.info)

A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. (Dictionary.com)

A body of beliefs and practices regarding the supernatural and the worship of one or more deities. (Merriam-Webster.com)

And this, from Britannica.com:

Human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of especial reverence. It is also commonly regarded as consisting of the way people deal with ultimate concerns about their lives and their fate after death.

So now we have an idea of what “religion” is from the more academic side. From the more “practical” side, it seems to involve belief in and actions related to “something” outside of ourselves. 

For me, the question then becomes … WHY?

Why do so many humans feel they must look beyond themselves to ensure they will live a happy and productive life? Aren’t their personal abilities, personal experiences, and personal decisions enough? Why must they turn to some sort of external assistance to direct their lives? Why must happiness and contentment come from an external source?

It’s understandable why the very early humans needed to latch onto something beyond themselves. They had no concept of the workings of nature. Much of what took place — thunder, lightning, earthquakes — was upsetting and frightening to them. So, according to scientists, over time the people developed “causal narratives;” that is, they would “tell stories” to explain the unexplainable. 

The question then becomes … why do so many modern humans feel the need to rely on (one of) those  “stories” to explain today’s world?  Have we not advanced beyond the need to appease forces we do not understand? Hasn’t our level of intelligence reached the point where we are able to direct our own lives? Do we really need to depend on some “superhuman agency” to live a full and happy life?

IMO, the answer is yes. We have reached the point in human development where we no longer need supernatural assistance. I fully believe we are totally capable of doing and becoming all that we want to be. All. By. Ourselves.

So I ask again … WHY RELIGION?

Accept. Reject. Or Learn.


In a recent post, I suggested visitors read a referenced study related to mask wearing (particularly cloth masks) during the COVID-19 pandemic. While most everyone who commented supported the overall wearing of masks, several immediately spoke out against the source of the study since it originated within a group known for extreme conservative views.

Such instant and biased reactions made me wonder … how many even took the time to read the study? Did their prejudices against its origin prevent them from even opening the document?

And my questions aren’t limited to the blog post. How often are articles and news reports rejected simply because the content writer supports an opposite view from our own?

When it comes to politics, I admit I lean Progressive. However, I don’t outwardly reject everything that has the “Conservative” tag attached to it. Over time, I have found there are some (albeit few 🙂) principles within their dogmas that do have merit. I simply try to use good common sense and wisdom to separate the good from the bad. The important point here is … I’m willing to study and discuss.

It is no different from participating in religious discussions. Some will immediately reject any claims made by a non-believer, basing their objections on preformed beliefs and ideas. (Of course, the opposite is true as well.) Yet if one approaches the conversation with at least somewhat of an open mind, oftentimes a fruitful give-and-take dialogue can result. This doesn’t necessary mean that either party will change their core views, but it can allow for new insights and learning. 

For many of us, the years when we marched and waved banners and protested against social and political issues are long past. Now we use our nimble (?) fingers on computers and tablets and phones to share our viewpoints. And by doing so, although we open the door to those who may disagree, the difference is we can share our opinions and knowledge and, if we keep our minds open, we can learn from each other as well.
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

COVID Masks … Yes or No


Let me say this upfront — I am most definitely an advocate of mask wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Having said that, I want to share an article I recently came across that questions the efficacy of masks. In the article discussion, there was a reference to a study done by a medical student and two medical school professors at the Cato Institute.* In this study, the authors asked … 

So, are masking requirements just “public health theater,” providing baseless assurance to a fearful public? Or has new evidence emerged to confirm the belief that masks—or, at least, the cloth masks that are commonly used—reduce respiratory virus transmission?

I think it might be worth your time to read both the article (The Ambiguous Science on Masks), as well as the referenced study: How Effective Are Cloth Face Masks? (The latter includes “a summary of the scientific literature on the effectiveness of masking, both against respiratory infection generally and against COVID-19.“) 

PLEASE NOTE: This post is not a vote for or against wearing masks by the general public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The information is simply being shared as something to think about … and debate, if you so desire.

*Via MediaBiasFactCheck.com — The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch. In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute. 

The Answer is “None”


According to a recent article, when Americans were asked by pollsters about their religious identity, the fastest-growing major group (!!!)* consisted of those who don’t affiliate with any organized religion.

Yes, the common reply now is … “None.”

However, even though many individuals who were interviewed answered with “none,” several expressed that they still felt a connection to God or a higher power, while others said religion continued to hold some importance to them. 

But what I found most interesting (and disgusting … and shameful) were the reactions that many face when their friends or relatives discover they hold this position. 

From the article …

Within the Black community, we face ostracism … there is this idea that somehow you are rejecting your blackness when you reject religion, that atheism is something that white people do.

A former Protestant who grew up as a Baptist and attended church regularly says not everyone in her family knows she has forsaken religion … and some who do know struggle to accept it.  Similarly, at the beauty store she owns, she feels she must keep her atheism “under wraps” from clients for fear they’d go elsewhere.

In any event, as one individual put it … “We’re looking for our own answers, beyond the programming we received growing up.” 

And to those who feel this same way, I say … BRAVO!

*29% of American adults — up from 23% in 2016 and 19% in 2011.

Abortion. By Mail.

For any and every woman who lives where abortion is prohibited, I urge you to read this article about Dr. Rebecca Gomperts and Aid Access, an organization she founded.

Dr. Rebecca  Gomperts has made her career providing free or very low-cost abortions to patients in need around the world, regardless of local law. In 2018, she founded Aid Access, a site that allows women in the US to get abortions with the help of 10 US-based providers. 



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