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Taking Religion Seriously
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A recent exchange on the Truth topic resulted in this exchange:

Me: "[Religions] claim to know the beginning and the end of the universe, and make these sorts of claims about absolutes on the basis of supernaturality. "

Mike Jones: Are they making assertions of fact, or are they presenting ancient myths and parables and trying to interpret them for a modern age?

Mike seems to be implying that most religions don't really take themselves too seriously, that is, they prefer metaphorical interpretations of their holy texts.

Let's focus on the U.S. for a second.

Here's are some 1999 Gallup Poll results:

--About 45% of American adults take the Bible creation myth literally

--39% of American adults believe evolution occurred, but that it was guided by god.

That's about 84% of adults in our culture believing that all life on earth has supernatural origins.

Even though I'm not surprised by results like these, I still find them disturbing. Most people aren't saying that Genesis is a metaphor for evolutionary processes. 45% are taking it literally! There were two naked people and a snake. Another 39% believe that god somehow supernaturally shaped or nudged life along. Again, attributing supernatural causes to the origin and development of life.

So while there are a few very liberal-minded worshippers out there, the vast majority, at least in this culture, aren't looking at their religion merely as a bunch of wise stories, with no basis in reality.

They're taking it quite seriously.

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