The problem with Religion.

Americans are very religious people, but there’s a big difference in religion here and in the rest of the world. Generally, the most religious countries are the poorest countries with the US being a dramatic exception. Americans are religious and rich at the same time… and that’s a rare coincidence.

Now you can examine this from any number of angles…are poorer, less educated people more susceptible to religion…and if so why? Is it because they lack the education and resources to examine the great unanswered questions about life, death and the hereafter... or is it because they’re more likely to embrace a spiritual promise of a life (or afterlife) better than the one they now live? Are they in a Muslim country where there’s social (and sometimes physical) pressure brought to bear on those who question the narrow tenants of their faith (and the frequently even more narrow interpretation preached by local religious leaders, since many followers especially in the Middle East are illiterate and unable to make their own interpretations).


If any of that is true, how do you explain the faith of Americans? Most Europeans are secular, they are both frightened of Muslim fundamentalists in their own countries and amused by the overt expressions of (generally protestant) faith expressed by Americans, especially in the Presidential race. Why in the year 2007 did three Republican presidential candidates raise their hands when asked how many did not believe in evolution?

For me, someone who is fascinated by Religion (all religion), the biggest question of all is this.. in this country where we have the time and resources to examine our faith why do we so seldom do it? Why do most of us just assume the religion of our parents with no comparative study of the world’s other great religions? Did God give us a powerful reasoning mind and expect us not to examine what most Americans say is a very important and often the most important part of their lives?

I find it amusing when people express a certainty in their faith, but have only a superficial knowledge of the tenants of their own religion and no idea what those of other faiths believe.

Which is the greater sin…to lazily follow the religion you inherited and will pass on to your children in an unexamined fashion, or to study, question and dissect your religion and the religions of others, even at the risk of shifting your faith or losing it completely?