Many Theists may argue that the human mind is hardwired for religious beliefs; Richard Dawkins is not one of these people. He is adamant that religious beliefs are more of a by-product of human stupidity shrugging it off as “ancient superstitions” that guide our moral codes and society. Granted religion has been at the helm of terrible atrocities since the dawn of man but then again so have many human creations. And if it is such a terrible thing why does our world revolve around it?
It is easy to mention Hume’s inconsistent triad when lambasting religion based on the fact that the world is not perfect and suffering exists. The existence of an omnipotent God endowed with omnibenevolence negates suffering. Dawkins looks at the facts; an abundance of suffering derives from religion. Any form of fanaticism is hazardous and many people would agree that quashing religious fanaticism could do an abundance of good. On the other hand religion has provided much stability with moral codes and values. No one would argue that religion didn’t pave the way to modern society. Modern society hasn’t ended up to be a disaster zone, how
ever there are still a plethora of problems within it. These problems aren’t all caused by religion. In fact religion has paved the way for the way we live today. All essential human laws were formed through the fundamentals of religion. But now it is commonplace
for people to take religion out of context and “God’s will” has become oppression for those who do not share the same belief system.
Religion provides “a general order of existence” according to Geertz’s definition of the subject. This “order” has been the benchmark of all the greatest societies, these codes have driven our species to advance in countless ways. Atheists like Dawkins and Sam Harris are chiefly concerned that religion has provided all it can for society and that currently it only creates tensions due to globalization. In spite of all these tensions religion can be a tool for the greatest good: teachings such as agape, achieving nirvana, practicing good karma are all designed to facilitate our species’ growth. Essentially it is what separates us from other animals.
Robert Marantz Henig argues that people are hardwired to believe in God and hold religious values. Humankind has long searched for many answers and the best idea (religion) has held true for millenia. We adapt to make sense of things and religion has long been the spine of this constant adaptation. Religion is another part of human adaptation. Curiosity may have killed the cat but, curiosity has allowed human intellect and understanding to blossom.
Arguably our curiosity led us to religion. Humans have the constant need to gain more knowledge whether it is “what happens in the next episode of Doctor Who” or “what is the meaning of life.” Religion won’t tell you about the adventures of Timelords but it will make sense of our own reason of existence.
With so much in the universe yet to be explained we have one answer to quell our curiosity and that is the divine. Dawkins believes in truths but without the faith to discover them they will never be found.