Just Another Religion

Over at Mark Morgan’s great site, Voices of Unreason, there’s a flame-filled discussion of Wicca going on. I don’t know enough about Wicca to have an educated opinion on that topic, but a bit of the discussion caught my eye, and I chipped in my 2ยข. Feel free to drop in over there and contribute to the discussion.

Here’s my meager contribution:

Brian Carnell said:
Well put. It’s just another religion in the same way that Ba’hai (sp?) is
just another religion or Islam is another religion.

The idea of something being “just another religion” intrigues me. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Christian because I think it’s true, not because of the psychological release or emotional gratification it gives me. (Frankly, there are times when it’s an absolute pain and I’d rather not have to deal with it.) When I say I think it’s true, I mean that its postulates — that there is a god who created the world, that there was actually a person named Jesus who by his death altered our relationship to that god, etc. — are factual, even if we don’t have the means to incontrovertibly prove them in our current state.

The corollary to that is that if these things are not true, I want nothing to do with Christianity. Betrand Russell makes an excellent case that if there’s no god it’s better to face that true fact and get on with life than it is to continue deluding oneself. I agree with him entirely in that, but disagree with his opinion as to God’s existence.

Back to the original topic: I think of religions as being ultimately valuable only to the degree that they are true. Saying “just another religion” seems to put them all on equal footing. But if one cares at all about their truth, they can’t possibly all be on equal footing, since they say such radically different things. Christianity posits an infinitely powerful, personal god who is involved with the created world. Deism, by way of contrast, views God as powerful and personal, but uninvolved in his creation. Now, if God does exist, he can’t be both active in and uninvolved with creation, so one or the other is closer to truth. And if God doesn’t exist, they’re both a load of cheese, and should both be tossed out.

So, how does one think of anything as “just another religion”? If their only value is a false comfort, I want nothing to do with any such nonsense. But if there’s any truth in religion at all, they can’t all be on equal ground.