Why Religion Fails to Deliver: From Blind Faith to Scientific Spirituality

Abstract

There is virtually universal agreement in the scientific community that religion does not meet the requirements of science and that its contents can consequently be largely ignored. Yet what exactly is wrong with religion from a scientific point of view and why is religion still so widely spread around the globe? This article, which is strongly influenced by Harris 2005, identifies three items - widespread ignorance of the empirical (2.1), rational (2.2), and fallibilist attitude (2.3) - as religion's primary epistemological or methodological faults. It is then attempted to show that philosophy and science, due to adhering to this "Holy Trinity of Science," do an equal or much better job than religion at satisfying five deep-seated and knowledge-related human needs - the meaning of life (3.1), the origin of morals and ethics (3.2), stopping the infinite regress (3.3), comfort and security (3.4), spirituality (3.5) - for whose satisfaction many people still (incorrectly) turn to religion. The article concludes with an attempt to reconcile science and religion by adopting a decidedly nonphysicalist position, by making a near death experience based case for the natural immortality of the soul/consciousness, and by generally putting spirituality on a scientific and epistemologically sound footing.

Author's Profile

Gregor Flock
University of Vienna

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Added to PP
2013-11-09

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