Religious Belief Revisited

September 1, 2022 Open Religion No Comments

This is about any religious belief, credence, or denomination from any time and place. What does the girl in the image (Muslim or Catholic) think of this text’s title?

Nothing religious without depth

Anything purely conceptual – clear characteristics, crisp boundaries from other concepts – can be crystal clear but cannot have human depth since the latter precisely needs distribution over many other concepts in different respects. Depth is fuzzy, sometimes at the brink of chaos in meaningful ways.

One may believe it will rain tomorrow, but that is no religious belief.

One may believe that ‘God exists’ without being religious by far ― no depth, no religion.

I wonder how much religious belief truly exists this way.

It cannot be investigated straightforwardly. The question ‘Do you believe?’ can in principle be answered very differently in view of the above dichotomy, even while the believer sincerely deems himself religious. How is he to know that the experience may be pretty different for others?

Yes, how am I to know ― or you?

Human depth is related to deep motivation.

Please see Deep Motivation.

Does your belief motivate your decisions? If nobody would coerce you to do something, could your belief by itself be sufficient to go for it, even to sacrifice something important purely for its sake?

You may think a while about this, now or after reading this text. If you answer positively from time to time – also when it’s about crucial issues – then your belief goes deep, and it may be called religious.

Dearest girl from the image, what are you thinking right now?

Dear pope from any time, what are/were you thinking about this?

I don’t know, but I have no illusions. Popes are human beings of special kinds. They sacrifice a lot and lead holy lives. Also, they think a lot and feel huge responsibility for the flock. For sure, they must believe, somehow, but this still doesn’t mean it is a religious belief. The pope’s responsibility might be felt as coercion, hence his attitudes and deeds.

Well, if the Pope is suspect, everybody is a suspect.

In my view, many priests do things that are incompatible with religious belief. Not only is this problematic or even loathsome, but each of them should also revisit his ‘religious’ belief – for instance, doing for himself the motivation test from above. If his belief is religious, then the incompatibility may stem from the organization.

Message to every religious person

Please, take this seriously concerning yourself. It is not my intention to make you doubt your genuine belief, but to point towards its possibly endless depth.

I believe in the depth of honest religious belief.

I also believe that, in-depth, everybody can feel that superficial ways to concretely realize any belief – crucial as they can be as symbols – are far less important than the depth in which any religious believer on earth can recognize any other as a truly religious brother or sister.

Even, eventually, without any conceptual need for some holy figure.

An atheist can be pretty religious.

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