What is religion? Here are two points of view, plus Elvis

September 11, 2008 | By | Reply More

What is religion?    The video below features a short excerpt and animated discussion involving Sam Harris and Rabbi David Wolp.  It’s both serious and entertaining.  The Rabbi calls religion “the path to God,” then elaborates, before Harris begins his cross-examination.

Contrast the Rabbi’s definition to that of Jonathan Haidt’s radical reformulation of what religion is:

The rationalist mindset that is pervasive among New Atheist writers (all of whom are liberal white males with 2-foundation moralities) makes them prone to thinking that religions are sets of beliefs, most of which are demonstrably wrong (and therefore worthy of ridicule). Instead, I’ll offer a characterization of religions as sets of practices that bind people together into cooperative communities that are generally good for their members, and that can be beneficial to societies (because they civilize and socialize their members) or harmful (when attacked, or when hijacked by demagogues). [T]he New Atheists demonstrate the same righteous psychology that they criticize in religious believers . . .

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Category: Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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