Now If We Could Just Take God Out Of Religion

Atheists, existentialists and assorted other disbelievers want to take God out of society. Okay, we understand that. But now we have sundry sociologists and psychologists who propose we take God out of religion as well.

Seems as if they like what organized religion can do for us, if only that primitive god thing could be left out of the recipe. Say like the pits to a cherry pie. As I understand it, these critics approve of the communitarianism of organized religions in which there are services, like the Mass, where everyone enters as equals, sharing in the same uplifting experience, walking out a better member of society.

Get it? Religions are good when they enhance our social consciousness. Help us better relate to our fellow citizens. Perhaps even benefit from that “opiate” with which Marx indicted religion. That’s their premise. And as they used to say about Vaudeville audiences: “If they buy the premise, they’ll buy the bit!” Without a doubt, the critics’ premise here does have some logic to it.

But now here’s the thing. Logic by itself is, well, it’s simply insisting 2+2 = 4. It neither asks nor answers the Why question. Similarly, religion without God is like that pie without the cherries because it had no pits. Without a God, there’s no really good reason why we’re doing what we’re doing here.

Religion has once more loomed its tenacious head in our current election. Every candidate wants to claim religion’s benefits; but, please, without its complications. Unlike most Western democracies, ours still takes its religions seriously. But then comes that Why question. Why is my faith more than Sunday photo-ops? Why is there something to this more than good citizenship? Frankly, why is any religion of any consequence if there is no God to it?

The questions beg the question.

Cherry pies and religions are nothing if they are somehow without their very origins. Logical, right? Notice, though, how logic again stumbles. Because whenever a candidate suggests there is a God to his religion, watch how many religious citizens suddenly take exception.

Pity the poor candidates. When they say “God bless America,” don’t we understand by now they don’t really mean for us to take them literally…? Or seriously…?

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    YES! Freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion.

    The definition of a destructive religious cult is like alcoholism-if booze controls you instead of the other way around you are an alcoholic.
    The Watchtower society Jehovah's Witnesses as an example is not benevolent and won't let you leave their organization in peace.
    If they try to ruin your reputation and break up your family for trying to get out then they are a cult!
    Whenever you surrender your logic and reason to anyone who asks you to trust them because they know better and to please donate generously, it's a cult. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck....
    Danny Haszard

  • In reply to Danny Haszard:

    Danny ~ Agreed, cults of any kind are bad medicine!

  • There is a Jewish Humanistic faction, which does pretty much what you described. As I understand it, they go through the rituals, but don't believe in God.

    Now maybe there is a point in eating Hamentaschen on Purim like the Poles ate Paczi last Tuesday, but I wonder. Why go to Yom Kippur services if you don't believe that some diety won't seal you in the Book of Life if you don't?

    Hence, the question for Christian humanists is if they can go to mass and have a Tannenbaum, but believe that the only Jesus is Haysoos the landscaper.

    As far as religion and elections, I have contended elsewhere on Chicago Now that if one can take Santorum seriously, he would breach the First Amendment in an extreme manner.

  • In reply to jack:

    Santorum has certainly brought thi prickly topic to the forefront. Faith is one thing; using it to guide a society is quite another

  • Existentialists are not necessarily disbelievers. Take Kierkegaard, the father of existentialism, who never lost his faith in God.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Aquinas, you're right...but I think you have to be a contortionist to be both....and I still feel the existentialists are nihilists without so admitting ...but then this is an old Agnostic Catholic talking...which is in itself another contortion

  • Good article. A god is a complicating thing to the wonks of the political process, especially if a politician wears it as a cross or Star of David around the neck.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Right you are...! Beware the candidate who claims God is his co-pilot, The man doesn't do sponsorships

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