Conversation: Is religion superstition? October 21, 2011

From Louis: Subject: Religion [book “Who made God?”]

Very good book. In your opinion, what is the difference, if any, between religion and superstition?

Reply: Hi Louis

“Religion” may be superstition. But true religion is based upon a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ who said (speaking to His Father), “This is life eternal, that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). If you want to know more I suggest you should read John’s Gospel in the New Testament.

Best regards, Edgar Andrews

From Louis

Thanks for your reply. I can think of millions of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and animists who would disagree with you. Are all their beliefs superstitions?

Regards, Louis

Reply: Hi Louis

Yes, of course, you are right. Every religionist will believe that his/her beliefs (assuming them to be sincerely held) are the right ones. But you have to follow through the logic of the matter. We really only have three options …

1) Either one religion is true and all contradictory religions are false (to a greater or lesser extent) OR

2) All religions are in some sense true, in spite of their mutual contradictions, but simply approach God in different ways (multi-faith approach; post-modernism is also a variation on this theme) OR

3) All religions are false (atheism).

Obviously there are many who support each of these options but the only one that is worth pursuing is (1) … since (2) and (3) are, epistemologically-speaking, dead-ends. That doesn’t mean they are wrong; simply that they put an end to effective enquiry. So if we wish to pursue the matter, how can we ascertain which religion (if any) is the true one? My claim for the exclusive truth of Christianity resides in the Person and teaching of Jesus Christ, supplemented by the remarkable historical prophesies that accurately foretold His advent, life, death and resurrection in the Old Testament hundreds of years before the event.

I became a Christian by reading the New Testament, not through my upbringing, religious books or the persuasion of any other person. In effect I “met” Jesus Christ as a living Person in the pages of the NT and that personal knowledge of Christ has continued through nearly 60 years of life and experience. At the end of the day, no one can prove to us the truth of a religion; we can only prove it to ourselves.

With kind regards, Edgar Andrews

From Louis: Hello Edgar

Thanks for the prompt reply. I think that logic and faith are mutually exclusive (zero overlap). I have developed a theory that all religions evolved from superstitious fear of the unknown over the millennia of human development, and that, as we developed knowledge about our environment, those superstitions gradually faded away, but our fear of death remains as the main supporter of belief in an after-life, and thus , belief in the religions (superstitions!!) that promise us just that. This might relate to your chapter on “The god of the gaps”?

Best wishes, Louis

Reply: Hi Louis

We clearly disagree but I would just point out that my book was written to demonstrate the remarkable level of agreement between the teaching of the ancient Bible and the established findings of modern science (I give scientific reasons for not regarding neo-Darwinism as established science). And far from fading away, theism is growing in influence world-wide … as documented in the book “God is back; how the global rise of faith is changing the world” by John Micklethwaite and Adrian Wooldridge. At very least this growth in religious belief contradicts your thesis that what you regard as “superstition” is fading away. A theory must account for the facts! I won’t pursue this conversation any further but thanks for the discussion.

Best wishes, Edgar Andrews