Friday, June 10, 2011

Is belief in Religion really a Positive Claim?

I have seen some make the claim that belief in religion is a claim that requires positive evidence, saying that it is a positive claim. But is religious belief really a positive claim? Or is it something more fundamental?

It seems to come back once again to the soul. Socrates argued rather effectively that the soul in fact separate from the body, and that that is a fundamental matter of human perception. His argument would indicate that it is impossible for us to ever to correctly understand the soul to be something of purely physical origin, and would indicate the importance of religion and it's intrinsic reality.

Socrates argument is recorded in Plato's Dialogue "Phaedo", the conversation he had on the night of his execution. One of the arguments to oppose the belief that the soul was separate from the body argued that the soul was actually a harmony, what we might call an emergent property. It means to say that our thoughts and actions are a product of our body, just as the sounds of a guitar or a wind chime are a result of the strings and the wind. Socrates argued against this view, pointing out that our immediate perception was that we are conscious thinkers, and that we look upon our body, as if it is distinct from us. He argued out that this shows that our perception of our soul and body as distinct is a fundamental part of our understanding of reality.

I would argue that since we have demonstrated the separation between our soul and our physical body, that indicates the importance of other non physical non scientific knowledge to our selves. It is not a positive claim to belive in the spiritual, it is a fundamental matter of our reality, our reality as a being not merely physical, but spiritual as well.

We are spiritual beings. Religion is not merely an idea, but a reality, as real as wind wood and metal. We should understand that religion is not a claim that musty be supported by evidence, but a fundamental part of our perception, just like our eyesight and our hearing.

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