The "Essence" of Religion
A Step Further...
One of the very few things almost everyone - religious, anti-religious, non-religious, and those in between - agrees on is this:
A lot of nonsense that happens under the guise of "religion."
We won't belabor the point here. We'll assume that this is evident.
(Or if anyone needs more clarity on this, the neo-atheists (eg Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins, Dennett etc.) sometimes do a pretty good job of pointing out specifics.)
But here's the thing:
If there was nothing to this whole "religion" business - absolutely nothing - then, well, there wouldn't be a lot of nonsense going on.
There would be nothing going on.
Why is there so much passion, fascination, devotion, intense interest and so on, across billions of people, across centuries and eons, if there was literally nothing real in there somewhere?
That doesn't make sense. It doesn't feel right. It doesn't fit the evidence.
A few people getting tricked or bamboozled by a con man, a slick presentation or wishful thinking...sure, that happens all the time. But billions of people over centuries being obsessed with something - even if they disagree on the specifics...all this points to something going on there.
Hard-core atheists can focus on the underbelly of it all and insist that it's all phony. But that explanation doesn't address why so many folks have been so fascinated by it all for so long.
This all points to something real going on there.
If there is a huge amount of phoniness surrounded something, then there must be something real in there somewhere.
If there are so many phony religions, then there must be a real one.
There usually isn't a "fake" something unless there's something real for it to imitate.
"Fool's gold exists
because there is real gold."
So then...if there is such a thing as "real" religion...what is it?
This is our mission.
If we can start with a hypothesis:
There is phony religion and spirituality.
And there is real religion and spirituality.
And the problem is sorting out that baby from that bathwater.
The great task at hand is finding a way to distinguish the "real" kind from the "phony."
- and of course, all of us already are, and already have been, doing this.
So now, the question is...how do we do it well?