What Is Wrong With All Religions
All religious philosophies have certain deficiencies in common. Yet they have served useful purpose to mankind and continue to do so. This is primarily because of their holistic character. Therefore they can’t be summarily dismissed either.
Einstein in his address at Princeton Theological Seminary, May 19, 1939 commented about religion that religion lays down clear fundamental ends and valuations and sets them fast in emotional life of an individual and thus in social life of man. The only justification for these fundamental ends is that they exist in all healthy societies as powerful traditions, and it is not necessary to find justification for their existence.
Further, Einstein in a symposium – Science, Philosophy and Religion at New York 1941 stated:-
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”
“What is still lacking here is a connection of profound generality but not knowledge of order itself”
Undoubtedly various religions have been established by persons of very high intellectual caliber who not only successfully understood themselves, essence of cosmic order and their times even if subjectively but also prescribed ways and means of human living and human social organization. No doubt, that they achieved all this at a subjective level but all that they said can’t be summarily rejected for its subjectivity. May be because of deficient material knowledge during their times that they were unable to rationally connect things and events but that is not sufficient reason for summary dismissal. They were weak in reason but that did not prevent them in achieving their goals and objectives of “GOOD TO ALL”.
So even when they had in-depth intuitive understanding of various issues which concerned them, they were deficient in reason. They understood things and events more at a subjective plane or intuitively rather than an objective and rational plane. Therefore, at times being philosophically correct was sufficient for them even if not so scientifically. If they found themselves philosophically correct, they looked no further for reason; neither encouraged their followers to do the same. Despite all this, many of their teachings have been able to find scientific support even if for wrong reasons and even till today 59% of humanity is religious minded.
In order to circumvent their deficient reasoning, they relied upon arguments like feelings (emotions), individual experience as opposed to collective experience, faiths and beliefs etc. To circumvent rationalist attacks and prevent consequent distortions in their perceptions and practices they advocated dogmatic belief in their teachings and elevated their understanding irrespective of merits to the level of Gospel truth not to be questioned, not to be challenged. Only to be believed and followed. But the result of dogma and gospel truth phenomena has been both, refusal and failure, to evolve with time and improvement in material knowledge. They are stubborn in their faiths and beliefs and refuse to evolve with improvement in material knowledge.
But they pretended to be rational and so had to evolve a world view to rationalize their teachings. They had to pretend that they know and understand everything. But because of deficient material knowledge they often conjectured a universe which is beyond sensory experience. They devised whole lot of Gods, Goddesses, deities, mythology etc. in order to rationalize their sermons. They created supernatural (unreal) universe and often relied upon dummy principles and dummy universe which was a creation of their own illusions and delusions.
Need for evidence and reason was effectively substituted by everything being a matter of feelings, individual as opposed to collective experience, faiths and beliefs etc. These are their stock arguments against non-believers in their faith.
Their intentions may have been fair and their thinking holistic but their understanding and practices were not. They froze their teachings in time as Gospel Truth and labeled a dissenter as ignorant. In the matter of their core philosophy, they stubbornly refused to evolve with time and advances in scientific knowledge. It may be partially because they were unable to reconcile their world view and their core philosophy with advances in scientific knowledge or they were victims of their own image.
But what is common to all religions in our times, is seeking scientific approval of their faiths and beliefs. Church for a long time supported scientific movement hoping that this will lead to literal evidence in support of Biblical faiths and beliefs. This continued until there was a parting of ways as both being different and irreconcilable. Darwin was a devout Christian and he began his journey to collect evidence in support of Biblical view of creation and it continued till he found evidence to the contrary. But all the evidence that Darwin put forth did not change the Biblical view of creation.
Scientific advancement of the past few centuries and its consequential cultural effects have led to followers of various religious philosophies seeking scientific approval of their religious philosophy or claiming that their religion is scientific because their religion has found support in scientific principles and practices, even if partially and even for wrong reasons. But being philosophically correct is different from being scientifically correct. Being philosophically correct does not earn scientific status for any religious philosophy. For this they have to establish themselves in entirety in a manner which is in accordance with scientific method.
So the best any religion can claim is partial scientific approval of its philosophy and its practices from scientific stand point and nothing more. But that does not give any particular religion a scientific status.
Summarizing, all above all religious philosophies are based upon deficient material knowledge, have supernatural world view, refuse to evolve with time and have primarily a historical existence. Various religious philosophies even though holistic in character are not rationally sound in entirety. However their holistic character has empowered them to address several issues that concern human beings that they are able to sustain despite scientific advances of past few centuries, even if as a matter of faith and belief.
Author: Dr Mahesh C. Jain is a practicing medical doctor and has written the book “Encounter of Science with Philosophy – A synthetic view”. The book begins with first chapter devoted to scientifically valid concept of God and then explains cosmic phenomena right from origin of nature and universe up to origin of life and evolution of man. The book includes several chapters devoted to auxiliary concepts and social sciences as corollaries to the concept of God. This is the only book which deals with origin of nature and universe from null or Zero or nothing. 32nd Chapter of the book is about Culture, Religion and Science.