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Posted by on Apr 28, 2013 in Culture, Philosophy, Religion | 6 comments

Chris Hallquist ponders the nature of religion

Chris Hallquist has a nice, meditative post in which he ponders the nature of religion. He gets into such issues as the tendency toward conspicuous consumption on huge sculptures or other monuments, and the tendency toward sexual puritanism. As he notes, the latter also seems rife in polities dominated by non-religious comprehensive ideologies. It does look as if comprehensive ideology is the ally of sexual puritanism, not just religion as such. In which case, the antidote is liberalism – which puts comprehensive ideologies in their place – rather than just irreligion.

I guess this isn’t surprising. I’ve long thought that is important to subject religion to sceptical scrutiny, but the same applies to other ideologies that offer comprehensive views of the world and of how we should conduct ourselves. And this is not just because they so easily latch on to the widespread tendency to view sexuality as dangerous. They have a general tendency to seek control of our lives and the lives of others. It’s for this reason that I often challenge atheists, not just religious people, to scrutinise themselves for illiberal tendencies. It’s too easy to get into a mentality where you start to think, “My detailed, intrusive prescriptions of what people should be allowed to say or do are fine, because they are the correct ones.” To hell with that!