In an article on Yahoo News I read,
"Rome's center-right Mayor Gianni Alemanno was in the crowd, along with other pro-Vatican Italian officials. "We want to show our solidarity to the Pope and transmit the message that single individuals make mistakes but institutions, faith and religion cannot be questioned," Alemanno told Associated Press Television News. "We will not allow this."
Image by tskdesign via Flickr"Hmmmmm-really." I thought as I read, “institutions, faith, and religion cannot be questioned.” But then the statement of authority and implied force,“ We will not allow this.” I do not think I have ever read a more concise statement of the mindset of someone under the dogmatism of religion.
Certainly before the Enlightenment individuals had questioned religious faith but as an era the Enlightenment brought forth a questioning of those things mentioned above which ‘cannot be questioned’ and more and more people began to do that and out came the opposition with, “We will not allow this.” It is an old story. To question the dogmatic authority of religious power always brings the same response.
But what if someone did question, what might they question? They just might question the facts and evidence on which the claims of religious power are based. To proclaim something true is not at all to prove that it is true.
DO ANSWERED PRAYERS AND MIRACLES PROVE ANY ONE RELIGION TRUE?
I know you believe because you may have prayed and seen an answer to prayer. You have decided to call that coincidence a miracle. You are a Christian and so it has caused you to believe all the words and doctrines of the Christian Bible are true. This will do for Protestant Christians. If you are Roman Catholic you go on to believe in the authority of the Pope. However, have you ever considered that when the Muslim prays and sees an answer to their prayer (in the same coincidental way) they for some reason believe all the claims of the Koran? Other religions in history have seen their prayers answered by the various ‘gods” but neither Christians nor Muslims would see those prayers to those other “gods” as valid reasons to accept the doctrines of all those other religions. Strange. So answered prayers would seem a poor reason to accept the doctrines and authority of any religion because it is clear that a miracle is no basis for a particular religious dogmatic structure because they all seem to have miracles. So does praying and being healed for example mean that Rune Magic is true? You decide.
DOES FEELING THE PRESENCE OF GOD PROVE ANY ONE RELIGION IS TRUE?
No question about it people of all religions have religious feelings because people have feelings. Are these experiences real? Certainly they are real just ask people who have them. Experiences are real subjective experiences to the people who have them even if they have no objective reality. Muslims have them, Christians have them, Protestants have them and Catholics have them. Witches and warlock have feelings and so do New Age mystic masters. So if someone is religious and has feelings of being in the presence of God does that prove that their God is the God? If so all of these various religious people with many different and conflicting versions of God must all be right. Perhaps none of them are right and it is just brain chemistry common to all human beings with or without religion. You know those pretty sunsets and scenes in nature can really be awesome but what has that to do with the Trinity or Dagon? Feelings are powerful but they are not a reason to accept the proclamations of any dogmatism.
WHAT ABOUT OUR DESIRE TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE DOES THAT PROVE ANY GIVEN RELIGION? IF NOT A SPECIFIC ONE WHY ANY ONE?
Religion offers answers to ultimate questions like, “What happens to us after we die?” and “ Will I ever see my deceased family members again?” and “ Wouldn’t having eternal life be like a pearl of great price which would be worth our selling everything else to possess?” We all want every situation to be better and heaven is the logical conclusion to such a desire. Who would not want heaven? Wouldn’t perfection be perfect is what I am saying. Sure. Does that however make heaven real? I might want Democrats and Republicans to get along with each other but what reasons do I have for assuming they ever will adopt the same perspective? Wishing, hoping and wanting however are not the same thing as truth and fact.
WHEN RELIGIOUS DOGMA IS PROCLAIMED DOES IT POINT US TO REASONABLE FACTS OR TO MIRACLES, FEELINGS, AND HOPES?
Often people will point to the Bible as the reason we should believe in God but as we read the bible it points to miracles, feelings and then appeals to our desire for heaven and fear of hell. In other words it does the same thing people do today when they talk of their own religious experiences. It is very short on facts upon which all reasonable people in all cultures would agree. It dogmatizes, it feels, it experiences, it pitches to our hopes and proclaims to our fears. All that gives zero reason to believe its doctrines have any basis in fact whatsoever. It is just way short on fact. The modern preachers and the Biblical prophets all use the same tactics. Appeal to miracle, strange feelings and experiences and finally a call to our hopes for perfection in heaven and fears of torture in hell. None of this stuff above even takes even the first concern to address the factual basis of the doctrines that we are asked to believe. Like the conman before the crowd at its root it says, “ Hey, just trust me and it will be great for you. I cannot be questioned. My thoughts are not your thoughts. Toss your own brain and let me do your thinking for you. “ In a nutshell it says what Rome's center-right Mayor Gianni Alemanno said today on Yahoo, “institutions, faith and religion cannot be questioned. We will not allow this." Next week it will be a Muslim cleric in the Middle East. I guess they are both right for the very same “reasons”. BEYOND QUESTIONING -REALLY!