Interesting Attempt at Explaining Religion

Even though the project ‘Explaining Religion’, discussed in the following article from the Economist, ‘did not actually achieve its rather ambitious eponymous goal’ it has, indeed, ‘found some promising avenues of investigation, and led to that great desideratum of science, more research’. It’s worth a read anyway…

Some of my favourite snippits were:

“Agnostics and atheists think like Buddhists.”

And this…

“In one particularly grisly rite of passage, for example, young men belonging to Australia’s Aranda tribe are first circumcised and then pinned face down as several of their elders bite the initiate’s scalp and chin as hard as they can, before slitting his urethra with a stone blade. That is the sort of thing you are not going to forget in a hurry. You are also going to feel a strong affinity with those others who have gone through it, and perhaps a certain disdain for those who have not—a solidarity-building exercise, then, if ever there was one.”

You can read the full thing here. Enjoy.


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About Chris

Scholar of religion/nonreligion... PhD Student (Lancaster University), blogger, singer, actor, thinker... Northern Irish living in Scotland. Co-founder of The Religious Studies Project. Director at the NSRN. Baritone masquerading as a tenor. Vegetarian for no particular reason.

One response to “Interesting Attempt at Explaining Religion”

  1. Michael Hampson says :

    “people whose religion includes an omniscient, judgemental god (Christians, Muslims and so on) regard the whole range of such transgressions more harshly than those, such as Buddhists, whose religion does not. (Agnostics and atheists think like Buddhists.)”

    Haha, on that narrow test, perhaps self-declared agnostics and atheists do give the same responses as Buddhists. I’m sure I would too.

    As for “think like”, however … perhaps some mellow, basically decent non-theists “think like Buddhists”, but online anti-theists think like religious fundamentalists, not like Buddhists.

    And some self-declared agnostics can be almost as aggressive if you don’t agree with precisely their definition of and justification of agnosticism.

    To take inspiration from the VW Golf ad, when offered something that is like Buddhism, I’d still rather have the real thing ;)

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