Critical thinking and God:
Of course the issues and evidence I present in this blog generally are quite abstract.  I encourage critical thinking; nay I demand it.  I took an idea out of an article (Daisy Grewal How critical thinkers lose their faith in God, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN vol. 307 no. 1 July 2012 page 26) and altered the home page of the site.  Dealing with words like analyze, reason, ponder, think and be rational is supposed to make you think more critically.  So is reading things in a difficult font.  Accordingly I have put those words in small italics on the home page. 

But I continue to do most of my writing in Times New Roman, which seems to me the easiest to read. 
The article goes on to say that if you induce somebody to think critically and then ask the person whether that person believes in God, the answer is more likely to be “no” than if you do no mental tampering.

The bottom line seems to be that if you go through life with a knee jerk response to everything you are more likely to believe in God than if you think critically.  I am not convinced.  Throughout history many of the best minds believed in God.  There is no new evidence relevant to the issue simply because this is not a matter of evidence.  Your faith is a matter of faith, I should imagine.
I am not out to save souls.  But I am out to save folks.  That will mean critical thinking on the part of a lot of people and from what I can tell it is going to require a level of critical thinking just about nobody has managed so far.

So, if you take the article at face value, I am eroding people’s faith.  That is something I would prefer to avoid for three reasons.  For one thing, good manners requires respecting another person’s faith.  Proselytizing atheists, and they are out there, are at best rude.  For a second thing, no matter what you believe you are probably wrong on the issue of God.  Just about every religion suggests that all those other religions are wrong.  (Methodism I take to be an exception.  The test of a good Methodist is mystical, not doctrinaire.)  In this respect, atheism is just another religion and thus probably wrong right along with the rest of them.  So if you are wrong you need to be quite tactful in dealing with others, who are most likely wrong in a different way. 

The third reason is rather more important.  Animal survival depends on having a sufficient number of babies.  Having a sufficient number of babies depends on mating strategy, specifically on remaining in or near a condition of optimal outbreeding.  Too big a gene pool, like too small a one, is lethal in the long run.

Religion can serve as a guide.  If everybody married within their own church, the congregation not the denomination, things would probably work out all right.  In fact some days I think that the whole reason that so many religions have things other people reject (Methodists for instance aren’t supposed to smoke, drink or dance.  They aren’t even supposed to listen to music on Sunday unless it is religious music.  Now that ought to put a lot of people off.) is precisely because that discourages outsiders.  It’s a survival thing.

So for better or for worse churches may be our best bet for survival.  Treat them all with care and affection.

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