Monday, May 28, 2012

Am I Brainwashed?

Carl Degrasse Dawtchins suggests that I and most other religious believers in the world are brainwashed, since we are raised in a single religious tradition in which most of us remain for the duration of our lives, even though our religious traditions may be at least partly, if not wholly, contradictory to the religious traditions of people in other cultures and societies.

And, in a sense, I agree with him. I think the religious tradition in which I have been raised is the one that is closest to the truth, and I think that if people in other religious traditions objectively examined the evidence, they would adopt it. And I wouldn't be surprised if they think the same about me.

So what is the correct epistemic posture one should adopt when trying to decide which religious tradition is the most true? We could say that one should reject all religious traditions until one of them is proven to be true. This seems to be the position of John Loftus and his disciples, such as Carl.

But is that the only correct epistemic posture one could take? I suggest there are others, equally as good. One could, for example, maintain one's own religious tradition, while examining others to see if any of them offer better explanations for reality than one's own. If, after careful examination and thought, one decides that one's own religious tradition is better than other's at explaining reality, or at least that other religious traditions are no better than one's own, one could continue to maintian one's original religious traditions, confident that they are at least as adequate at explaining reality as any others. That would be a brief summary of what I have tried to do in my own life. In future posts, I might try to explain in more detail my own examination of the "evidence," just in case it might help others in their own search.

Though perhaps I should add that there was a very dark period in my life when I was angry and bitter at God and tried my best to be an atheist. My atheism period lasted about two years. During that time I succeeded in making myself and those around me very miserable. There are times when I wonder if some (but not all) of the atheists we encounter online are going through their own dark periods. If so, I don't have any words of advice for them besides, "Been there. Done that."

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