When science is done, all that will be left is  - Why?  This shall be the exclusive and proper domain of religion. “Religion is a daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.”  Paraphrase of Ambrose Bierce:  The Devil’s Dictionary.

            Not surprisingly, even the greatest of scientist see some role for religion. “If I were personally to define religion, I would say that it is a bandage that man has invented to protect a soul made bloody by circumstances.  Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Albert Einstein:  The World As I see It, Philosophical Library.  Einstein’s view, which asserts a human role in the creation of religion, is a nakedly pragmatic approach because it insinuates that a deity is not behind the beliefs, and yet claims a purpose to religion.  This view was published long before Einstein. “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Senca.  While many appreciate the utility of religion, regardless of its underlying truth, a strong minority warns of its dangers. “We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Jonathan Swift:  Thoughts on Various Subjects.   Others go so far as to suggest that religion cloaks actual evil.  “A religion that requires persecution to sustain it is of the devil’s propagation.”  Hosea Ballou.

            A simple statistical truth about organized religion speaks volumes about its place in society.  Overwhelmingly, albeit not always, a child’s religion, on becoming an adult, shall be the religion of his parents.  Typically, Christians begat Christians, and Muslims sire Muslims.  Lest one believe that religious fidelity is genetic, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that religious belief is typically the consequence of social influence, persuasion, modeling, and/or propaganda.  We typically acquire our religious persuasion as we acquired our native tongue; not as a rational choice; not as a wondrous inspired revelation. 

            If one religion reflects the true nature of god, and his dictates, then the only sage advice is to follow that religion dutifully.  Not gifted with this insight, I shall simply give advice based on the social and psychological consequences of various religion practices.


Advice on Religion

1.  Don’t participate in any religious ritual unless you understand it’s meaning and believe in its purpose.

2.  Avoid the following religions:  Dianetics (aka Scientology), very strict Catholicism, Nishryn Sho Shin Buddhism, Ultra Orthodox Judaism, Moonys, Hari Krishna, and small cults with charismatic leaders who control the minutia of the lives of their followers.

3.  Never presume that anyone knows more about God than you.  Don’t accept leadership from people who believe they are God or who believe that God communicates with them personally exclusively.

4.  Accept religious beliefs or advice as potential sources of human wisdom that should be considered like all others based on merit.  Don’t reject or accept an idea narrowly based on its religious origin.

5.  View God as an entity that will not help you, hurt you, or personally intervene in your life.  Be prepared to accept responsibility for your life and the consequences of your choices.

6.  Never deny the existence of mysteries in the Universe.  Allow yourself, whether a believer in God or not, to experience the religious feelings of awe at the elegant complexity of the Universe.

7.  Either practice your religion everyday or not at all.

8.  Do not involve yourself in religions that use the concept of evil as an explanation for all unpleasant events. 

9.  If you are very religious, don’t marry a non-religious person or a person whose religious beliefs are clearly different than yours (and visa versa).

10.  Don’t try to persuade people by argument in religious matters.  Persuade by being an example of a happy, wise, and ethical person.

11.  Be tolerant of other people’s sincere beliefs.  Don’t criticize people for religious beliefs that don’t intrude on your life, or otherwise cause harm.

12.  Don’t participate in religious cults that require you to terminate your relationships with friends and family, and/or to limit your contacts to only cult members.

13.  Don’t become sexually involved with a religious leader of your faith, especially your leader.

14.  Don’t give more than 10% of your annual income to a religious organization.

15.  Don’t pressure your spouse or children to practice a particular religion.