I’ve been having a side debate with a Christian friend of mine who made these claims:
- ‘[Non-religious people may] not define themselves as particularly “religious”, but…everyone is’, as he references lyrics from a Rush song, ‘even if you choose NOT to decide, you still have made a choice’.
- ‘One can choose to believe in nothing but themselves, but if they’re honest, “self” IS their religion. Everyone is religious.
- We all yearn for some meaning and we end up pursuing something or someone to fill that inward desire. Whether we organise that something and call it “religion” is beside the point, as he references Bob Dylan’s lyric, “Ya gotta serve somebody; it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but ya gotta serve somebody.”
This had been the fluid exchange of ideas, but I’ll reply in turn.
I’ve won’t repeat my position on free will, but one can choose to be religious or not. To choose not to be religious is not also a choice to be religious. I can agree that some people substitute superstitious, metaphysical believe for, say, scientism, and this is just as ridiculous, but some people remain unconvinced in these metanarratives.
Again, not everyone even ascribes to the notion of self, and there is little reason to believe that there is some element of religious worship involved.
Again, this is fundamental attribution error, the assumption that because he believes there is some underlying meaning and yearns to find it that everyone else does. I understand that he surrounds himself with people who share this belief system, and they convince themselves that someone who says otherwise is mistaken.
This is clearly dualistic thinking incarnate; a false ‘you’re either with me or against me’ dichotomy.
I remember self-assessing myself when I was in high school. Nietzsche notwithstanding, I could never agree with the frame or the assertion that there are leaders and there are followers. I did not identify with either. I do feel that within the society I was born, that I need to comply just enough to not be subjected to the violence inherent in the system for non-conformance, but that’s not exactly following. I also don’t care to lead.
It turns out that this (perhaps not coincidentally) manifested in my career, as I am a consultant—an adviser.