Is Religion Inescapable?

Posted by Mike Merritt in Religion on

That seems to be the argument David Hume is making over at The Secular Right:

The fact is that religious traditions are a part of human culture, and they interact with ostensibly non-religious parts of human culture.  To extirpate all that is religious from one’s life is to extirpate human culture.

The post is about the “War Against Christmas” hoopla that comes up every December.  Hume argues that religious traditions and celebrations have been going on for centuries, even before Christianity.  And of course, he’s right.  The Christmas tree?  Santa?  Both (or at least elements of both) are said to descend from pagan traditions.  The same case can be made for many elements of the Judeo-Christian tradition.  For example, flood stories similar to Noah’s flood has been mentioned in texts since the Sumerian culture existed.

My only quibble with his argument is that Hume uses “culture” where he should probably use either “history” or “nature.”  The first becaue it is undeniable that human history is inexplicably linked with the history of religion.  The second because humans do have a tendency to go for the “it’s bigger than you and me” reasoning for something they can’t explain.  And because if one study is true, a predisposition to religion may quite literally be in our genes.

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