Atheist Meme of the Day: Why Are Religions So Different?


Scarlet letter Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day, from my Facebook page. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

If religious believers are perceiving a real entity, why are religious beliefs around the world so different, even totally contradictory? We more or less agree about our perceptions of physical reality — and when we don’t, we can compare notes and come to a consensus. If God is real, why don’t people perceive him in remotely the same way? Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Comments

  1. Cranky Badger says

    My own interest in religion is from an anthropoligical perspective. I’m actually more interested in the commonalities between religions, especially from peoples who are thought to have had no contact with one another.
    Things like the pervasive flood myth, virgin birth, immortality, and deification represented by stars or “the heavens”.
    What primal questions do these ideas answer so well that we come up with the same (apparently satisfying) answers time after time ?
    Some, like immortality, address an obvious and omnipresent awareness of our own mortality so that one’s a no-brainer.
    But what about virgin birth ?
    Gilgamesh wasn’t born of ‘earthly’ parents and that certainly predates any currently practiced religions.
    And of course, the flood story from the same work is eerily familiar…there are significant similarities between Greek, Egyptian, Sumerian, Christian and Judaist stories and I think part of the problem is that apologists can point to it and say that the commonality shows an underlying truth.
    Why is it that, all around the world, we’ve come up with similar stories to explain both our own origins and our everyday questions ?
    Why does “I don’t know” carry such a negative connotation ?
    Our threads of thought combine as the question becomes:
    Why is it that, when we DO possess the factual answers to some of these questions, we still have a so many who believe the supernatural explanations ?
    I understand that religious ‘teachings’ are written (or ‘interpreted’) to be understood by the lowest common denominator and religious belief is something that’s typically left behind with an academic education.
    However, what is it about us that make us tend to jump to a supernatural explanation in the first place ?
    Magic, tooth fairy, Santa Claus, fiction….why are these so much more ‘interesting’ to us than science, math, and philosophy ?
    Even alchemy and archaic medicine tried to come up with supernatural explanations for things that were demonstrated to work in practice (elevating a wounded limb to reduce bleeding, for example)
    Was this done to make it more palatable for the masses in an era of scientific ignorance and persecution ?
    Or was it the tendency of individual men to flights of imagination in an era when that was perfectly acceptable ?

  2. Mark says

    that’s easy – because theirs is WRONG!
    lol
    I always get a big kick out attempts to teach the religious view of the origin of the earth in classrooms. Since what they mean is “Christian-only” but they don’t say it, they make it general, but how many realize they are approving the teaching to their kids of all the other religious worldviews.

  3. Bonerous says

    I always liked the idea that there very well may be something out there, but it’s so much more subtle than the granularity of the human senses can detect that it’s impossible for us to distinguish it from our own background noises.

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