Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why Religion Matters

As I was browsing the religion section at my local B&N, I came across a book titled Why Religion Matters by Huston Smith. I picked up the book, skimmed over the contents and read the introduction. It was the introduction that made me buy the book.

Although this is an oversimplification of what was written, the author mentions that humans have a need for something more than the mundane world. And that "something more" is what we call God, by whatever name. The next sentence is what caught my eye:

"Because the human mind cannot come within light-years of comprehending God's nature ..... we think of God as a direction rather than an object. That direction is always toward the best that we can conceive..." (p. 3).

This seems to say (to me) that as we are not satisfied with the idea that knowledge can only come to us empirically, we give a name to our need. We have labeled our need "God" as our best attempt to understand a deep need from within ourselves as that is the best we can do.

Smith then goes on to talk about the role that modern science has played on our recent "spiritual crisis." (p 4) What he seemed to be saying is that society gives us the impression that science and religion cannot coexist. This dilemma therefore has caused us, as a society, to turn away from religion because of possibly conflicting beliefs. He goes on to remind the reader that this has happened not due to science, itself, but society's understanding of what science is.

I am looking forward to reading this book.

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