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Is Religion Ridiculous?

Posted on December 4 2010 10:30 pm
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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In a recent post answering the anti-religious zealotry of Bill Maher’s documentary-style film Religulous, I concluded that the film’s topic is “the argument of our time.” That is to say, our political paradigm is founded upon our spiritual paradigm, how we define and perceive the nature of man.

If you believe mankind to be the product of an ongoing, emergent, evolutionary process, then you will tend to believe that human consciousness can be applied to drive evolution in a favorable direction. This belief tends to metastase into an elevation of some men above others. Whether the basis for distinction is national identity, race, creed, intellect or some other factor is irrelevant. The end result is the same – a loss of freedom, and often life.

Conversely, if you believe mankind to exist in a state of sin – moral retardation, then you will abandon the futile task of perfecting man and work toward maintaining a society which minimizes the potential for abuse by defusing power and maximizing individual liberty. This was the position of the American Founding Fathers, who wrote and spoke extensively regarding the fallibility of man (even those with crowns) and the necessity to bind them with the chains of the Constitution.

In this follow-up, I would like to answer some thoughtful points raised by one of our readers.

Is Faith Irrational?

“Jim_C” sides with Maher on the irrationality and foolishness of faith.

What Bill Maher does is easy–makes religious people look foolish. Why? Because faith is not reason nor science.

Of course faith is not reason or science. No one is claiming it is, though faith can be a product of both.

Somehow, a common misconception has developed that reason is synonymous with objectivity. Since science is an objective discipline, it too has become synonymous with reason. However, these are distinct concepts. Philosophers were utilizing reason to craft theorems explaining the nature of the universe thousands of years before science was defined. While it is certainly wise to utilize objective means to seek truth on objective matters, it is by no means foolish to seek truth regarding subjective matters for which science has no methodology.

To the extent Maher makes religious people look foolish, he does so by exposing the shallow nature of their faith. However, in Maher’s view, no amount of depth would ever be sufficient. His criticism, as reader “YeshuaisAdonai” points out, is intolerant.

Maher’s beef isn’t religion being used as a scientific answer. His beef is with religion period. He imagines a world advanced because religion has finally been eradicated.

Faith is foolish to Maher, no matter the evidence supporting it, because he is not interested in real discourse. Maher harbors a bigoted resentment toward faith. He believes faith is not only incorrect, but morally wrong. He calls for society to no longer “indulge” it. Thankfully, NRB readers like Jim are willing to engage more honestly.

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