Add new comment

When he states “the point of the practice is in its form, not its content” regarding Tai Chi, but intimating that various religions can be thought of similarly, I think he's already finished the argument because he's essentially saying that the religion itself (I.e. faith in whatever god it espouses, etc) does not matter, its merely the ritual, the setting, the framework, etc that matters. Like we would indeed use a class that might be teaching martial arts, musical instruments, mathematics, anything. I fundamentally agree but I don't think the author even realizes how far he must take the tip-of-the-iceberg argument that he himself is making.

I believe he is close to arguing absolute relativism – i.e. your belief may work for you and yours, but not for me and mine. A long-used trope by free-thinking people.

I believe he is correct in his comparison of religion's worth as a framework, habit, structure, but that that comparison itself is what should show us all that belief/faith is the problem. The belief/faith is what brings about violence and war, intrinsic beliefs regarding Right and Wrong that must be enforced upon those not-in-the-know, etc. Indeed that is the most important aspect to the actual believers.

The author is in fact merely arguing that the framework of a religion is no different than the framework of any social construct. He does not take it far enough, though. Arguing his point is itself pointless if not taken to the next level, which is to say that the faith in god of any certain religion is a waste of time/energy simply because it is relative.

In fact his entire point is essentially pure atheism – i.e. your god doesn't matter, its the practices that are important. However, note that this precise point is exactly what religious zealots are against. Evangelicals will say merely believing is what is going to save them at the Rapture (not how they live their lives), militant Muslims will say that they must kill the infidel unless they confess faith in Muhammed, etc. These zealots preach precisely the opposite of what this intelligent author, and all free-thinking people, recognize as merely one more facet of humanity.

He's spot on with this bit:
“all honest believers have experienced some cognitive dissonance when faced with the multitude of religions that are and have been, and the correspondingly low probability that their particular creed happens to be the one whose claims about the universe are true.”