By guest blogger, Natalie.
We have viewed many different views on religion in the course. Dawkins made it clear that he believes that faith is the greatest vice, so I suppose he would advocate that religion be abandoned altogether. Gould offered his solution of non-overlapping magisteria, which I believe a person can respect as an approach without respecting religion at all. Still, others take any seemingly contradictory claims and explain them away as being apparently contradictory, but not contradictory in reality because of some, often long and complicated, explanation.
It’s clear that many people are convinced that religion is ridiculous and has no place in a rational world. As the course ends, what we have covered this semester shows that many religious claims seem unreasonable. However, at the same time, proving that they are all logically impossible seems as difficult as proving that they are true.
The question I would like to pose here is: What is the solution? How should we approach religion? I think most answers will build on one of these options:
1. Do away with religion.
2. Reconcile religion with logic/reason/science (though not necessarily accepting religion as true, but only as possible since it has yet to be proven false)
3. Say some religious concepts are “sui generous”, meaning beyond our understanding, and admit that logic may not be applicable.
Option 1 seems unlikely given the persistence of religion through history. Option 2 is what Gould attempted to do with NOMA, but this has been met with opposition. Option 3 may be a copout, and when it is made people pose the “what can we know then?” objection (I’m not yet convinced that it should be discounted so easily. This slippery slope claim appears to be fearful posturing because people find option 3 incredibly unsatisfying. Option 3 is not a conclusive answer to the question, but rather, it is an admission that people don’t have the capacity to answer the question.) Are there 4th, 5th, 6th, and/or more options on which an answer can be built that I haven’t thought of? What is your answer? How should we approach religion?