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Religion Is Important In Our Time

26/06/2012

I feel that I probably came down quite strongly in my earlier article against the Catholic Church. I do not apologise for this. Do I think that the Catholic Church is a force for good in this world? No, I do not. Sure, they are the largest charity, but this is achieved through the insinuation that if you do not give large percentages of your earnings to the church you are sinful. One need only look at the repeated abuse of power or children to see that the Catholic Church is not at all a great model for how religion could be, should be even.

However, does this mean that I think that the Catholic Church can NEVER be a force for good? No, again, I do not. As a Catholic I honestly hope that in ten years time, maybe even less, that I could stand before anyone and say yes, the Catholic Church is not only a force for good but that it is the best force.

As part of this discussion of religion I have decided to argue that our world needs a guiding hand of religion. I argue for it not necessarily because I think that it is a perfect solution but because I think that solutions must be looked at, that there is too much wrong in the world at the moment.

I’m sure so many of you are turning off now, perhaps unsubscribing, but don’t. I’m going to try and argue this in a way that does not mention God. Religion is about belief, and nobody in the world is stupid enough to be certain about what they believe in, faith requires questioning. I will even go into how I think that secular morality, as a faith about what is and isn’t right, can be as big and as important as religion, and far more important than governments.

The Catholic Church needs questions, as do all the churches. That is something that many within them have forgotten, and it has lead to the problems of the Catholic Church in the modern day. However, religion has served so many purposes throughout history. The same things can be served through Atheism.

What humans need is moral guidance. For thousands of years this has come in the form of religion. These are bigger than countries, holding influence over many of them, guiding the leaders towards peace and attempting to include everyone within all of these countries. Surely those important traits should not be lost. Why can’t atheism have a moral leader, indeed in many ways it does. Some call Richard Dawkins the “pope” of atheism. To be honest I could not think of a more perfect embodiment of how church-like atheism has gotten. Too bad that Dawkins represents the same antagonistic popes that are tearing apart what religion means for churches. More obsessed with making people believe what he believes regardless of how belligerent he is acting Dawkins sums up in many ways the modern churches all over the world, playing a game of faith-based top trumps.

And yet, I think that it is possible to have forms of moral guidance that aren’t so belligerent, and that can guide countries. In this world where there are connections superseding the sizes of nations we need the church more than ever. With science changing what it means to be human constantly we need that moral guidance and assurance that can only come from a church. I am a Catholic, praying for change in my church. But if you are a Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu or any other religion, hope that you church has the strength to guide the modern world.

If you are an atheist? Long Live the Atheist Church, Dawkins and all.

~sean

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One comment

  1. This idea that atheism is a religion, or similar to a religion, is flawed. We get together and talk, just like you do! We have outspoken people who are in the public eye, just like you do! Also, just like Star Trek fans! Just like sports fans, or graduates of the Mibb High School class of ’76. Any grouping of people is going to share certain characteristics. We don’t impose ourselves upon others unless we are first imposed upon, and we don’t act upon the voice of invisible gods in our heads that we can neither confirm nor prove. We may share similarities with religion, but a religion we are not.

    “nobody in the world is stupid enough to be certain about what they believe in” You realize this is far from true, right? This is the scary part of religion. There are millions of people all over the world who are “sure” they are right. That should make it difficult for any rational thinking person (as you do seem to be) to sleep at night.

    -John with an H.



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