How Do We Explain Religion?

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No one can help being religious. Human beings are incurably religious. An atheist has the most dogmatic of all conceptions.
– Dr. Robert A. Millikan

Religion functions to remind man that he is not God.
– Author unknown

A little philosophy inclines man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy brings men’s minds about to religion.
– Francis Bacon

Science takes things apart to see how they work; religion puts things together to see what they mean.
– Jonathan Sacks

A man without ‘religion is a contradiction in itself. In his ‘religion’ man gives account of his relation to God. His religion is reaction upon the (real or pretended) revelation of God. Man is ‘incurably religious’ because his relation to God belongs to the very essence of man himself. Man is only man as man before God.
– J. Blauw

Religion is a conviction or passionate philosophy about the nature of life itself, and the position of man in it.
– G. K. Chesterton

Religion is one of the most important vehicles for the passing on of social order, moral values, and spiritual capital.
– Roger Scruton

Yes, organized religion is a crutch. You mean you didn’t know that you are a cripple?
– Peter Kreeft

True religion is not man’s search for the good life, important as that might be; neither is it our effort to find God, inevitable as that may be; true religion is our response to Him who seeks us. It is not an argument for God, but a response to God’s love.
– Elton Trueblood 

Einstein And The Cardinal

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The German mathematician Professor Hans Rohrbach tells of the following conversation between Cardinal Faulhaber, Archbishop of Munich, and Professor Albert Einstein.

“I respect religion, but believe in mathematics;” said Einstein, “doubtless for your Eminence the reverse is true.”

“You are mistaken;” replied Faulhaber, “religion and mathematics are for me only different ways of expressing the same Divine exactness.”

Einstein was astonished. “But what if one day mathematical research should show that certain verdicts of science contradict those of religion?”

“I have such a high regard for mathematics,” replied Faulhaber, “that in such a case you, Professor, would be under the obligation to never stop looking for the error in calculation.”

…Experience shows that faith in God’s Word has nothing at all to fear from serious thought. It would be useless to reject faith for the sake of natural science, or to abandon thought for the sake of faith. Faith does not need to prune the assertions of science nor does science need to blend the confessions of faith into shape. A sacrifice of one’s reason is not demanded. On the contrary, it is just the Bible which sees both together: creation and Creator, nature and revelation, the visible and the invisible…

It is necessary to look at both together and to see the harmony of both Divine revelations, the book of nature and the book of the written word.

– Eric Sauer,
The King of the Earth

Atheism & Civilization

7338586-3x2-700x467The thinness of the new atheism is evident in its approach to our civilization, which until recently was religious to its core. To regret religion is, in fact, to regret our civilization and its monuments, its achievements, and its legacy. And in my own view, the absence of religious faith, provided that such faith is not murderously intolerant, can have a deleterious effect upon human character and personality. If you empty the world of purpose, make it one of brute fact alone, you empty it (for many people, at any rate) of reasons for gratitude, and a sense of gratitude is necessary for both happiness and decency. For what can soon, and all too easily, replace gratitude is a sense of entitlement. Without gratitude, it is hard to appreciate, or be satisfied with, what you have: and life will become an existential shopping spree that no product satisfies.

To regret religion is to regret Western civilization.

— Theodore Dalrymple

Faith in Reverse

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Absolute atheism starts in an act of faith in reverse gear and is a full-blown religious commitment. Here we have the first internal inconsistency of contemporary atheism: it [often] proclaims that all religion must necessarily vanish away, and it is itself a religious phenomenon.

–Jacques Maritain,
The Range of Reason

The Religion of Science

scientism 5Science, like any other human affair, is indeed shot through with prejudice and partisanship, not to speak of ungrounded assumptions, unconscious biases, taken-for-granted truth, and beliefs to close to the eyeball to be objectified. Like religion, science is a culture, not just a set of procedures and hypotheses. Richard Dawkins declares that science is free of the main vice of religion, which is faith; but as Charles Taylor points out, “to hold that there are no assumptions in a scientists work which aren’t based on evidence is surely a reflection of blind faith, one that can’t even feel the occasional tremor of doubt. . .

There are . . . still a great many telescopes up which science is churlishly reluctant to peer. Science has its high priests, sacred cows, revered scriptures, ideological exclusions, and rituals for suppressing dissent. To this extent, it is ridiculous to see it as the polar opposite of religion.

–Terry Eagleton,
Reason, Faith, and Revolution