I really look at a case like reason #3 and wonder what I’m expected to reply to. All it seems we have is assertions that do not have a basis to them. The start is that religion is seen as a search for meaning. Why should I believe that though? Is it hard to believe that religion could have started off instead as a search for truth since man did ultimately believe in some kind of higher power?
Besides, if we were on a quest for meaning, we would probably make religions a lot differently than they are. For some pagan forms, who would make a religion where they were required to sacrifice that which was most dear to them, such as burning children on altars? We might see some basis in sexual practices, but that also is an aspect of the transcendent. There was a day and age where people saw sexuality as something greater than themselves instead of merely a mechanical and/or biological process. What better way to get in touch with the divine than the highest experience this side of eternity?
It certainly though would not explain the Christian faith. My life would be a lot easier if I was not a Christian right now. (Ultimately, I do not think better, but the Christian faith is not a faith for the faint of heart.) I have left my family and friends behind and come to a new area and am spending money that I could spend on other things to learn about my faith. I am having to make sacrifices as well in moral areas as there are some corners I will not cut. I have to learn to practice self-control and learn how to love that person that annoys me to no end.
At the apologetics conference last year, Dinesh D’Souza spoke on the same thing in talking about the Ten Commandments and saying “I can think of three I’d scratch off right now.” No. If I was wanting a Freudian wish fulfillment, it would be somewhere else.
Loftus thinks this meaning is why we believe in God and not because of arguments pro and con. (Awfully odd for someone writing a book supposedly full of con arguments.) Now I’ll grant for some people, that is the case. For myself though, it is intellectually fulfilling to be a Christian. It does answer the biggest questions I have of life and I find a meaningless life to be a self-refuting position.
Now we can try to find an evolutionary cause, but it is quite amazing that an evolutionary cause is never sought for atheism. That belief is true for reason apparently, but for religion, you have to find a reason. Could it simply be a priori assumptions that are coming in trying to find an evolutionary cause for everything that they disagree with?
Tomorrow, we’ll look at point four.