Saturday, June 18, 2005

Always with the questions...

After breakfast this morning I was sitting at the table trying to read (about the early archaeological explorations of Mesopotamia, actually) and things just started popping into my mind. They pretty much grew out of all the talk lately about Scientology (around Tom Crusie and his strange behavior) and the "20/20" segment last night about Kaballah. So I put my book down (well, the library's book) and started jotting. This is what resulted.

Issues relating to religious/spiritual belief:

1) Is it sane to hold religious/spiritual beliefs? (Some would say no, actually.)

2) Should holding religious beliefs be privileged? (Should speech codes saying that one cannot say anything bad about a religious belief be allowed? There was an interesting opinion piece about this in the Financial Times this week that I only scanned and that I have to go back and read more closely.)

ITEM: I think that professing a belief that there is not God/gods or that religion is not valid is, in fact, a religious belief in the sens that it is a belief about religion.

3) What is religion? Who gets to decide?

ITEM: I don't actually think, based on the little that I know about it, that Scientology is really a religion, but should that be up to me? (I don't think so.) Can we say that religion, like art, is anything you can get away with?

4) Is it possible to say that some beliefs are "bad" and that other beliefs are "good"? (There are separate practical/legal and theoretical components to this question. Also, it can be relevant to other kinds of belief than religious/spiritual beliefs.)

Now, the real question is, I suppose, should I change what I eat for breakfast (Rice Krispies and sourdough toast and strawberry jam in this case), or is it natural for me to be thinking about this kind of thing so early in the morning?

And the other question is, Is there any point in the consideration of beliefs and belief systems where the questions slow down and there begin to be some kind of answers? Because it seems like my list of questions about all kinds of belief (not just religion) just keeps getting longer and longer, while any kind of answers, even preliminary ones, are very hard to come by. I'm beginning to think that there aren't any answers.