Sunday, March 1, 2009

Too much work

I frequently have these discussions with my roommate in which we both agree that religion has done quite a lot of harm in addition to the good. We both agree on how its immoral of any religion to condemn non-believers to hell. We both agree that people usually believe in the truth of their religion because it gives them spiritual fulfillment and comfort, but since that's true of every religion, its not a criteria for determining the rightfulness or truth of a religion.

In all of these cases, my question to him is that if you recognize the harmful and divisive nature of religion, if you realize that the reasons you follow your religion are more of an accidental than an essential nature, then why do you still follow it?

His reply always is that its too much work to leave my present religion and find another set of values and beliefs. He seems perfectly okay with following his religion despite knowing its weaknesses and contradictions. He is content with his religion because it provides him with comfort and is generally useful to him.

While this attitude makes personal sense, I am not sure it is ethical. If you realize and recognize that the values you profess to follow are causing harm in the world, then it does not seem ethical to just close your eyes and pretend nothing is wrong. You have to call a spade a spade, at least at a private individual level, if not a public social one.


  1. It's not just religion, but i think any set of values rigidly held can do much harm, because no set of values is ethically perfect.

  2. You mean it's an absolute truth that all absolute truths are false? ;)

  3. Aaah ... the lovely contradictions.

    On a more serious note, yes, that's been my experience too. Its hard to find a broad set of values that are applicable without exception. You often have to use your judgment on a case by case basis. This disturbs me. There has to something which we can use as a basis for deriving our values, and that something is hard to capture and put in to words. Its hard to be a 'man of principle' when you acknowledge that there are no (broad) set of universal principles.

  4. i agree with desiskeptic when you say we should have the courage to call a spade a spade.

    But to me the ultimate truth is what Allah has created. So i dont have any problem in finding my basis.