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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In search of "The religion of today": Part 1/4, Introduction

The Religion of Today—a scientific view... Click here to view subsequent posts in this series.

The vast majority of people are members of some kind of religion or philosophy because of familial or cultural background. In other words, they ‘received’ their religious beliefs; they did not thoughtfully or scientifically ‘choose’ their beliefs. They may practice their religious beliefs with utmost sincerity, they may cling to them tenaciously, they may even be willing to die for them, but they may not have ever questioned, “why do I think these beliefs will make me happier, a better person, or bring me closer to God, or perfect love, etc.?” They are living an unexamined life and may do so for their whole lives.

Some people reach a point in life where they consciously evaluate their cultural, religious or philosophical belief systems and practices. Perhaps they are experiencing a great deal of pain, the recent death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, or irrepressible urge to come to grips with the meaning of their lives. They begin to evaluate their religious and philosophical beliefs because they realize those beliefs, or at least their present level of understanding of those beliefs, are not able to provide meaning or answers or comfort in the midst of their anguish, confusion, pain or desire to have greater meaning. All too often, however, their “evalutations” are actually “reactions against” what they were raised to believe in as religion. They decide their religion, or even religion in general, is simply a myth, or even an illusion.

A few people courageously opt to take a truly scientific view of religion. We are all constantly searching to understand ourselves, our families and relationships, our lives, our planet, and our ever-present desire for happiness and freedom from pain. In response, some people rationally consider the topic of religion from a scientific view in order to determine if there is a religion or religious philosophy that that could be considered a reality because it successfully clarifies the mysteries of life:
  • What is the purpose of life?
  • Why is there suffering, pain and sickness?
  • What is faith and is it useful?
  • What beliefs are really worthy of adoption and can truly make me happy?
  • Is it possible to attain perfect happiness and contentment? And if so, how?
  • What was before this life, before this earth, before this existence?
  • What comes after this life?
  • Am I significant? Am I lovable? Am I loved?
  • Who is God? Can God be known, experienced, described, loved, or served?
  • What is love and relationship? Is there a perfect relationship, lover or soul-mate for me?
  • Is there a perfect, eternal religion that never began, will never end, which has all the answers for all time, and clearly describes the practical steps to take to realize the goal of our lives?
In the next series of posts, we will scientifically and rationally review the questions: Is religion a myth? Is religion a deception? Is religion a reality? We do this in search of “The Religion of Today”—the one and only true religion for today, the one religion able to answer the mysteries of life for everyone—of any background, creed, color, country, or race—and that anyone with a rational, open mind can easily understand and scientifically conclude is the only viable answer we are all seeking, now and for all time.

In the next post, we will consider the question: is religion a myth? This will involve examining "What is a myth?" "Characteristics of myths" and "The source of mythological imaginations?"

Further to that, we will consider: Is religion a deception? And in part 4, we will examine the question: is religion a reality?

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