4 Secular Myths About Religion … (And Why They’re Potentially Dangerous) – Part 2
(last week in part one we examined the myth that ‘all religions are essentially the same ‘as well as the myth that ‘religion is merely a private belief that does not impact a person’s outward behaviour (see website for details)
3) Religion is Inherently ‘Irrational’ and Belief Driven
Whereas secular thinking is inherently rational and only evidence based.
I see this myth all the time: religion is inherently an irrational ‘leap of faith’ into the dark, against all the evidence. Whereas secular thinking is rational and evidence based. Again, this secular view is a myth.
Not all religious thinking is an irrational leap of faith (although I concede much can be). And certainly not all secular thinking is purely rational.
Speaking personally as a Christian (I’ll let people of other religions speak for themselves), I believe in God, Jesus’ resurrection, and the Bible as a whole, not in spite of the evidence, but because of the evidence.
I think it’s more sensible and rational to believe that we were created by a Higher Intelligence, than having come about by some cosmic accident. I am convinced – through historical evidence – that Jesus lived, died, and rose again from the dead.
Believing something because of evidence – historical and otherwise: isn’t that rational?
On the other hand, when it comes to modern secular thinking, much of it – when you dig deep – is based on unprovable beliefs. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong per se, but such beliefs cannot be proved by reason alone.
Take human rights. Can anyone prove by scientific/rational evidence alone that all people have inviolable human rights?
If they can, I’ve yet to see it. (The UN Declaration on human rights has no underlying justification for any of it’s rights – it’s just a ‘Declaration’.)
Writing in the New York Times, political commentator Gary Rosen makes this point well:
On questions of human dignity and human ends, we tend to sputter and assert, setting out propositions that are difficult to justify to those who don’t share them.
They’re difficult to justify to others precisely because they are ultimately beliefs, with no ‘stand alone’ rational/scientific justification for them.
Why this view is dangerous:
If you truly believe religious people are driven by irrational beliefs, then – if you wield the levers of power – you may try to marginalise their impact across society, not least by removing basic freedoms of religion.
Furthermore, by removing the religious beliefs that founded western society – including many things that secular people value – we’ll end up with a very different society – and not necessarily a better one.
This article is written by Akos Balough. He is a Christ-follower, husband, father, blogger. And the Executive Director of The Gospel Coalition Australia.
He has also worked as a campus Chaplain, helping broken people get to know Jesus, and as a military Aerospace Engineer, fixing broken aeroplanes.