Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Religious Disagreements Are Almost Never Over Doctrine

Watching the Camping debacle, I've started to think we skeptical types give too much credit to the religious.

By that I mean: go ask people about the most basic doctrines of their church or scripture sometime, things that are essential to the founding of the sect as a distinct entity. They usually have no idea. Their unquesioning acceptance of authority is usually just about believing what one specific person says, who they've decided they trust and can do no wrong.

Therefore, where skeptics think the mistake is accepting the teachings of a sect or a scripture uncritically, unfortunately what's going on isn't even that advanced.

What we see in the followers of Camping and Graham are not people interpreting scripture differently. What we see is Campingism, and Grahamianity. What we see is mini-cults of personality. The only way these pepole settle on what they think is true is whether it comes out of a certain person's mouth, and the rest of reality must bend to accommodate that.

How completely non-self-reliant can you be? Without irony I can say that this is one of the most un-American outlooks I've ever encountered.

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