Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A study suggests religion may become extinct in nine countries. Although the data strike me as a bit wobbly, still the suggestion is an interesting one. What would it be like if your religion -- atheism included -- were simply to wither and blow away in some autumnal wind?

It's a hard question to ask without sounding like some cranky gadfly like Christopher Hitchens or some ueber-intellectual like Richard Dawkins. But I think it is a question a person of faith -- any faith, any belief, any dearly-held position -- would benefit from asking and investigating. What would it be like if it all went poof? Gently asked, gently answered ... in front of your own mirror.

Beyond the heart-rending yowls of resistance -- what would it be like?

I guess it might boil down to an examination of conclusions and how accurate they might be. Intellectual conclusions, emotional conclusions, political conclusions, religious conclusions, employment conclusions, marital conclusions, ignoramus conclusions, lofty conclusions ... how accurate are conclusions when, after a good night's sleep, anyone might need to take a leak in the morning?

And if those conclusions were found wanting -- if their reliability crumbled and blew away -- what conclusion could anyone draw about conclusions? Would such a conclusion be warranted? And if anyone insisted on getting depressed in this arena -- if they concluded that nihilism were the only reasonable conclusion, well how sensible would that be?

Extinct? What could possibly be extinct?

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