Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Religion and human instinct

On 16 May 2017, the Ulster Institute for Social Research (Northern Ireland) and the Erasmus University (Netherlands) published a study with the heading: Why is Intelligence Negatively Associated with Religiousness? On the surface, the outcome may suggest another insult to Religion. However, this scientific study actually promotes Religion to human instinct.

In my 10 October 2016 blog, human intelligence is categorised by using 2 dimensions: known and unknown. Known knowns are facts while unknown unknowns are imagination or fantasies. Known unknowns are human beliefs, resulting in opinions. Unknown knowns are human instincts, resulting in feelings. History, Legends and Myths respectively follow facts, instincts and beliefs. Imagination separates human and artificial intelligence.

The new scientific classification puts Religion in Legends, or human instincts generating (religious) feelings. This classification is better than Myths or Imagination. It also does justice to the fact that all ancient human civilisations have always displayed signs of Religion. This scientific study concludes that religion is an evolved instinct, while intelligence “involves rising above our instincts.”

I have no problem with this conclusion as people often confuse Faith with Religion. The more you learn about Religion, the less you believe in Religion. However, the more you learn about Faith, the more you believe in Faith. For people who have Faith, there is no difference between Ahura Mazda, Allah, God or Yahweh – apart from the deity’s name. Faith connects the Sumerian beliefs, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Man-made Religion separates all 5.

There is an interesting contradiction: while Religion is promoted from myths (or imagination) to instinct, Science is in the process of being demoted from facts to beliefs. See my recent Experts blog. The underlying reason is similar: humans are subjecting a belief system for their personal interests. Hence, the saying “God hates Religion” (my blogs of 2016 and 2017). Religion should be about Faith, not about (human) Power.

In my concept of the 7 Belief systems, Religion is in its Power domain together with Money and Politics. Science is in its Knowledge domain together with Philosophy and the Truth. The fluidity arising from the above suggests that Religion and Science could swap from domain. Religion may then be rebranded in Faith. Science may then be labelled Technology. These new classifications make sense and could once even have applied.

The above also suggests that the real issue is not about intelligence. It’s about how you use a given intelligence. It’s about open mindedness versus closed mindedness, ignorance and stupidity. The more you attack a Belief system (e.g., Religion, Science), the less open minded it becomes. Defensiveness creates closed mindedness. Then it was Religion, now it is Science.

It’s worthwhile repeating the opening line from  J.R.R. Tolkien‘s book  The Lord of the Rings: “And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.” Replace the word “ring” with “religion” to get the full meaning of his words. Replace “ring” with “science” and it refers to the Islamic Golden Age.

Wisdom is never found by letting a certain Belief system dominate your life. Wisdom is in accepting all of the 7 Belief systems: Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth. Wisdom is not making a choice between its Knowledge or its Power domain but in accepting both. Wisdom requires open mindedness rather than intelligence. I suppose that was my Awakening.

Human (2016) by Rag’n’Bone Man
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

[Verse 1]
Maybe I’m foolish, maybe I’m blind
Thinking I can see through this and see what’s behind
Got no way to prove it, so maybe I’m lying

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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