Some people love talking about religion. More than that, they love quarreling about religion. Two most prominent subjects being
- my god/dess is better than yours
- god do/esn't exist
Which would be all nice if 97.5% of all the words spoken and written weren't completely meaningless. That is, if the people asked themselves one simple question: WTF are we talking about?
Take that question literally. Like if we're talking about cars, we know that we are talking about vehicles with four wheels, engine with internal combustion, blah blah. Yeah, we have a definition of cars so we can talk about them. And argumentation about whether cars exist makes sense. And you can even argue that model A is better than model B. You might not agree with somebody, but argumentation can still make sense.
Religion is a somewhat different cookie. Not because religion is different than automobilism, but because people tend to become stupid when talking big stuff. That 97.5% of religious talk is based on lack of any, let alone mutually recognized, set of definitions. Imagine you and me talking about cars while by "car" you recognize a bicycle and me an apple. Yeah, it's fun. And it lasts for centuries.
captured by Tom Rolfe
There are several reasons for all that mess. First, many people don't want constructive discussion on the subject, They want to assert their position to all the others, no matter what. And simple quarreling without any meaningful base is a good environment for that. Especially if one add a bit of raised voice, false authority and weird fairy tales. Those are bad people. And boring. Don't hang out with them.
The other reason is that the subject is not an easy one. It's easy with cars, but when you have to wrap your mind around omnipotent, omnipresent, all-seeing being that somehow created the whole world out of emptiness, things get tough. There is a difference whether you are talking about omnipresent being or gray-haired old guy sitting on a cloud or some vague idea of cosmic equilibrium or something else. And the easy way out is to follow your gut and start building your logical construction on sand. Thus you join the club of those from the paragraph above. Complexity and abstract nature of the subject is exactly why you should take the words carefully.
So, next time you get involved in a theological discussion, do us all a favour. Be cumbersome as Socrates was. Insist on definitions, at least working ones. Know what you're talking about and what others are talking about. Maybe you'll get some answers. Maybe you'll just cut the amount of rubbish in this world. Both are worth the effort.