In the absence of religion…

I read this and was rather taken aback… needless to say, I do NOT agree:

“In the absence of religion, people tend to believe anything rather than nothing, and the task of the church must be to engage empathetically with culture and society, offering shape, colour and articulation to the voices of innate and implicit religion.”

Percy, M. 2004. Losing our space, finding our place. In Religion, identity and change, ed. S. Coleman and P. Collins, 26-41. Aldershot: Ashgate, p. 39.


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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.

2 responses to “In the absence of religion…”

  1. Recovering Agnostic says :

    Seems to be based on the G K Chesterton (attributed) quote that those who don’t believe in something will believe in anything. I’ve always found that trite and idiotic. The second half is something I can see more sense in, as it appears to be talking about the value of shared ritual. I don’t see why that ritual should be religious, but I can see that religion can be a huge help in establishing or maintaining those rituals.

    • Chris says :

      AS for the second half, I agree with you :)

      As for the first… I think it can be taken in two ways: either as a “crap! we’d better be vigilant or people might start believing all sorts of other religions” or “in the presence of religion, people tend to believe whatever they are told”

      You could also say “In the presence of religion, people tend to believe anything rather than nothing”…

      Or many other combinations :)

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