Is it possible that all religions are attempts to explain one inexplicable thing?

Is it possible that all religions are attempts to explain one inexplicable thing?

Okay, this one’s a doosey.

I first want to clarify that I am NOT an atheist, and I am not trying to DISPROVE anyone’s religion (that’s always implied by someone).

Onward…I grew up in a normal presbyterian household going to church every Sunday, and I went to both Baptist and Catholic schools. I spent my summers at an Episcopal camp here. I like to think I pretty much ran the gambit as far as Christian denominations go.

In the last several years, I’ve done a lot of traveling. I’ve had the opportunity to make contacts with many people from Nigeria to Taiwan and Columbia to Belarus. As a result, I spent my last year of college taking courses that would help to understand the cultures of my new friends.

Well, religion is obviously a big part of culture, so I studied Taoism, Islam, tribal religions, Buddhism, Confucianism (not sure if that’s really a religion). I started saying to myself more and more, “That’s not so different from Christianity.”

Now, I know someone’s going to jump on that. I’m not saying that the ceremonies and traditions in religions area ll the same, but it seems to me that their PURPOSE is the same as well as their core precepts.

It seems to me that all religions are an attempt to explain the same inexplainable thing: God. For so many reasons. As I said, their similarities, but also their evolution (study the developement of Buddhism, and it is so similar to the development of Christianity in the West) and the WHERE they were developed (it seems that they follow the spread of humanity from the fertile crescent out <-------does that make sense? might be a stretch).

Then there are other things, like the legends that after surviving the resurrection and that Buddha was actually canonized by accident as, I think, St. Josaphat.

Is anyone getting what I’m trying to ask?

I sure hope so.

That tomb of Jesus thing was supposed to be a link that said “That jesus survived crucifixion and went to India”

Actually, I believe religions are all constructs attempting to explain something bigger than god(s) - “Why are we here?”

Well, sure. Although I would suggest that religion is more a matter of making sense of both sentience and mortality, rather than a pre-existing idea of “God.”

But, um . . . so?

I mean, you’re right. But what’s to debate?

Actually, all religions are nothing more than con games. There’s nothing being “answered” or “explained”, it’s just snake oil.

I disagree. While religion has certainly been used by persons and groups for their own nefarious purposes - usually as a means of gaining and holding power - for that to happen, religion (generally speaking) had to be pre-existent. Most religions, I’m sure, sprung out of man’s mind to answer the great imponderable, “Why?”

Well, andros. I presumed the debate would lie in the fact that there seem to be millions of people in the world who would never concede that any other religion has the same moral, historical and spiritual significance as their own. You see?

If there could be a category of “Christian Agnostic” to indicate one whose relationship to a Supreme Being is in doubt, but whose attitudes toward one’s fellow man are along the lines developed by New Testament teachings, that’s where I’d make my X on the form asking for religious preferences.

With minimal exposure to other non-Christian teachings, but with some affinity for Buddhist attitudes, I believe the major issues in religious thought are:

  1. Why are we here?
  2. Where did we come from?
  3. Where is our species headed?
  4. Why do we have to die?
  5. What happens to our “spirit” after that?
  6. What is the best way for us to deal with others of our species?

Depending on the specific religion, other species may also be considered…

Well, Christianity, and it’s mama, Judaism, don’t really try, I think, to explain God. They assume God, and tell us how to deal with Him.

There’s a quotation about religion being man’s response to the twin realities of wanting to live and having to die, but I can’t for the life of me remember the exact verbiage nor can I find the quote.

Still. I think the paraphrase is clear enough.

I do. But I think that’s a different question than the one you asked. Whether or not I believe that any religion but mine is valid or has any real moral base is irrelevant to my acknowledgement that those other (heretic!!) religions are still attempts (however flawed) to explain existence.

Well, there’s Ambrose Bierce’s definition from his Devil’s Dictionary:

“Religion: A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.”

I’ve asked you this before, Clothahump, and I’ll ask it again.

You’re making a rather strong claim. After all, you’re saying that every single religion out there–without exception-- is a con (i.e. a deliberate deception). So, please tell us… How did you arrive at this rather remarkable conclusion? Can you please describe the process by which you evaluated all these religions and judged them to be “con games”?

I can not answer for him, but personally, I came to the same conclusion through inductive [del]logic[/del] reasoning.

Really? Wow, I’m impressed. See, I haven’t managed to find a single faith which wasn’t sincere. Believers believe, that’s what they do–unless you have some experience with the founders or leaders of religions being insincere in their faiths, I’m not sure how you inducted “all religion is a con.” And if you do, this humanist wants to know about it.

Clothahump, are you really saying that no religious leaders truly believe what they preach? That seems unlikely to me.

Exactly. However, this is kinda a hi-jack. Thus, I will put my remarks in invisitext. Highlight to read.
Moses: Left his wife and family behind.
Mohamed: Used camel seller. Left his wife and family behind.
Buddha: left his wife and family behind.

Wait, that is evidence they are all jerks. Meh, close enough.

Rather than explaining god, this list seems closer to what religions are aiming at, with god frequently being the answer to number 2.

All that proves is that founders of religions are poor providers. Besides, I don’t think that’s correct…Mohammed’s wife stayed with him till she died.

You are correct about this. I could have sworn I heard of almost every religion starting with the founder wandering off into the wilderness, leaving his wife and kids behind. The Pratchett book “Small Gods” does an excelent parody of this. However, it appears I was wrong about Mohammed’s wife.