Saturday, December 12, 2009

A word about skepticism

I thought I might pause for a moment from the 50 Voices to talk about skepticism.

One of the important voices that led me to this blog was Julia Sweeney. Her movie, “Letting Go of God” is currently showing on Showtime. Julia’s story is a spiritual journey that ends in atheism. I have heard other similar stories that reach a similar conclusion but the story doesn’t end there. There is an epiphany, a walk in the woods, a dream, a prayer answered even when feelings of belief seem to have been long gone.

There is no college major in skepticism, it is not something that people become aware they don’t have then seek out. Usually they are just looking for answers. Belief in UFOs and alien abductions and alternate realities can be dismissed fairly easily. Religion has been around for a long time. Evidence for its claims may be hard to find, but there is a lot of data to sort through. Even historical questions are difficult because they deal with some of the oldest texts that exist. Then there are all the people that say it works for them.

I equate what people report they get from religion with what Joseph Campbell calls the “power of myth”. I have seen it work its magic. Stories of people reading an old story, or examining the archetypes and being affected by it usually come off sounding like something from “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. I generally don’t tell them.

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