Opiate Of The People

Let us say, just for a moment, that God exists. That leads us to the difficult problem of religion, or rather, religions. Presumably the devotees of each faith believe theirs is the one true religion. In fact they may believe it so fervently that they are prepared to kill or die for that belief. But how can they know that they are right? Best case scenario: all religions are false, except one. Worst case scenario: they are all wrong.

If we assume that one religion is the real one, how do we know which one that is? Presumably Christians believe they are right because the Bible says so. But the Muslims have the Koran and the Jews have the Torah. Surely there cannot be more than one correct holy book? And what of the Christians? There are Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, Anglicans, Jehovah’s Witnesses and who knows how many others. How can they all read the same book, be provided with the same information, but come to conclusions different enough to make them want to start their own unique true religion, and reject the other false ones?

So, here is my dilemma. As a non-religious person how do I know which religion to choose, as I want to choose the right one, and there appears to be a similar lack of evidence supporting all of them? What if I make an honest mistake and choose the wrong one? Do I burn for all eternity? What of people living in the jungles, who haven’t heard of any of these religions? Do they burn solely because of their isolation?

A similar situation exists in medicine. Whenever a disease pops up for which there is no satisfactory cure a huge range of therapies appear, some conventional and some alternative, but all with the same characteristics: a lack of hard evidence proving that they work. Where a disease has a definite cure and there is evidence that the cure works, penicillin in the case of scarlet fever for example, that treatment dominates and the others disappear. I wonder if the same cannot be said of religion. Could there be so many religions because none of them are right?

Dr. F. Bunny


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