The Politics of Belief

A tribal shaman was once interviewed by a skeptical anthropologist and asked whether or not he actually believed in the truths behind the spiritual medicine he practiced. The shaman’s reply was surprisingly candid, for he admitted that his technique was completely fraudulent, and yet he still defended it for the simple reason that it often seemed to heal the patients.  This brief exchange cuts to the core of the issue of why some people are religious and others are not. It all boils down to two simple questions – “Is it true?” and “Is it good?”

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One thought on “The Politics of Belief

  1. John Hanson says:

    The shaman did not say that faith does not cure, only that the cure couldn’t be explained to the western scientific mind.

    One plus one equals three is the most natural math on the sphere; take a man add a woman and the result is a family. The statement that 1+1=3 is wrong, but that doesn’t mean that something good resulting from believing something false is necessarily impossible or wrong.

    In the spirit of love, all living beings are equal. But not in mind. There is valid evidence upon which to base ideas of racial superiority: the more selfless the race, the more superior. Native Americans, Chinese, Caucasians are the top three, in that order. Truth is welcome everywhere and to declare truths false just because you do not already know them is immoral, and unfair to listeners. Racism has to do with the love and stability that can come from all generalizations, which we need. Could secular society even exist without the generalization that atheists know far more about religion than most religious believers?

    Science and religion both evolve. Why not consider what might have happened if Jefferson tolerated the stamp tax? What stagnates in treachery regardless, is government. It is not that religious faiths are unaccommodating to governments, but vice versa is the case. The Founders did not want to see religion out of government or politics, Jefferson even edited his own version of the bible to make religious morality seem more palatable to those who could not believe in miracles. Tax exemption was necessary to keep the hearts of the people out the hands of those who preferred to control the economy. Atheists account for less than one percent of the US prison population because only two percent of the US general population are Atheists.

    The bible is not the source for all morality. Abraham began to understand his monotheism when his faith moved away from the common Babylonian barbarity of child sacrifice. Jesus further fulfills the law of love and does not support the practices of stoning and slavery.

    Question your notion of “the fundamental distinction between thought and action” like you would question your definition of the word moot, which is actually defined as debatable.

    “What we think we become.” – Buddha

    Mocking a belief is mean-spirited, whereas warning of an impending doom is direct from compassion and love. In common practice, the two positions are often equivalent to fundamentalism (with role confusions and archetypal role identification). Atheism a critical belief often associated with reason, which is actually the definition of soul. A clear belief in cause and effect would do that soul better than either the Catholic church or Atheism.

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