What Is Wrong With All Religions?
Summary: All religious philosophies have certain deficiencies in common such as
supernatural world view, relying upon faith and belief as opposed to reason and
stubborn in their refusal to evolve. Yet they have served useful purpose to
mankind and continue to do so. This is primarily because of their holistic
character. Therefore they can’t be summarily dismissed either.
Einstein in his address at Princeton Theological Seminary, May 19, 1939
commented about religion that religion lays down clear fundamental ends and
valuations and sets them fast in emotional life of an individual and thus in social
life of man. The only justification for these fundamental ends is that they exist in
all healthy societies as powerful traditions, and it is not necessary to find
justification for their existence.
Further, Einstein in a symposium – Science, Philosophy and Religion at New York
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”
“What is still lacking here is a connection of profound generality but
not knowledge of order itself”
Undoubtedly various religions have been established by persons of very high
intellectual caliber who not only successfully understood themselves, essence of
cosmic order and their times even if subjectively but also prescribed ways and
means of human living and human social organization. No doubt, that they
achieved all this at a subjective level but all that they said can’t be summarily
rejected for its subjectivity. May be because of deficient material knowledge
during their times that they were unable to rationally connect things and events
but that is not sufficient reason for summary dismissal. They were weak in reason
but that did not prevent them in achieving their goals and objectives of “GOOD
So even when they had in-depth intuitive understanding of various issues which
concerned them, they were deficient in reason. They understood things and
events more at a subjective plane or intuitively rather than an objective and
rational plane. Therefore, at times being philosophically correct was sufficient for
them even if not so scientifically. If they found themselves philosophically correct,
they looked no further for reason; neither encouraged their followers to do the
same. Despite all this, many of their teachings have been able to find scientific
support even if for wrong reasons and even till today 59% of humanity is religious
In order to circumvent their deficient reasoning, they relied upon arguments like
feelings (emotions), individual experience as opposed to collective experience,
faiths and beliefs etc. To circumvent rationalist attacks and prevent consequent
distortions in their perceptions and practices they advocated dogmatic belief in
their teachings and elevated their understanding irrespective of merits to the
level of Gospel truth not to be questioned, not to be challenged. Only to be
believed and followed. But the result of dogma and gospel truth phenomena has
been both, refusal and failure, to evolve with time and improvement in material
knowledge. They are stubborn in their faiths and beliefs and refuse to evolve with
improvement in material knowledge.
But they pretended to be rational and so had to evolve a world view to rationalize
their teachings. They had to pretend that they know and understand everything.
But because of deficient material knowledge they often conjectured a universe
which is beyond sensory experience. They devised whole lot of Gods, Goddesses,
deities, mythology etc. in order to rationalize their sermons. They created
supernatural (unreal) universe and often relied upon dummy principles and
dummy universe which was a creation of their own illusions and delusions.
Need for evidence and reason was effectively substituted by everything being a
matter of feelings, individual as opposed to collective experience, faiths and
beliefs etc. These are their stock arguments against non-believers in their faith.
Their intentions may have been fair and their thinking holistic but their
understanding and practices were not. They froze their teachings in time as
Gospel Truth and labeled a dissenter as ignorant. In the matter of their core
philosophy, they stubbornly refused to evolve with time and advances in scientific
knowledge. It may be partially because they were unable to reconcile their world
view and their core philosophy with advances in scientific knowledge or they
were victims of their own image.
But what is common to all religions in our times, is seeking scientific approval of
their faiths and beliefs. Church for a long time supported scientific movement
hoping that this will lead to literal evidence in support of Biblical faiths and
beliefs. This continued until there was a parting of ways as both being different
and irreconcilable. Darwin was a devout Christian and he began his journey to
collect evidence in support of Biblical view of creation and it continued till he
found evidence to the contrary. But all the evidence that Darwin put forth did not
change the Biblical view of creation.
Scientific advancement of the past few centuries and its consequential cultural
effects have led to followers of various religious philosophies seeking scientific
approval of their religious philosophy or claiming that their religion is scientific
because their religion has found support in scientific principles and practices,
even if partially and even for wrong reasons. But being philosophically correct is
different from being scientifically correct. Being philosophically correct does not
earn scientific status for any religious philosophy. For this they have to establish
themselves in entirety in a manner which is in accordance with scientific method.
So the best any religion can claim is partial scientific approval of its philosophy
and its practices from scientific stand point and nothing more. But that does not
give any particular religion a scientific status.
Summarizing, all above all religious philosophies are based upon deficient
material knowledge, have supernatural world view, refuse to evolve with time
and have primarily a historical existence. Various religious philosophies even
though holistic in character are not rationally sound in entirety. However their
holistic character has empowered them to address several issues that concern
human beings that they are able to sustain despite scientific advances of past few
centuries, even if as a matter of faith and belief.
Author: Dr Mahesh C. Jain is a practicing medical doctor and has written the
book “Encounter of Science with Philosophy – A synthetic view”. The book begins
with first chapter devoted to scientifically valid concept of God and then explains
cosmic phenomena right from origin of nature and universe up to origin of life
and evolution of man. The book includes several chapters devoted to auxiliary
concepts and social sciences as corollaries to the concept of God. This is the only
book which deals with origin of nature and universe from null or Zero or nothing.
32nd Chapter of the book is about Culture, Religion and Science.