Challenge Response: Religions Are Products of Culture and Geography, Not Truth

Here's my response to this week's challenge:


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This week's challenge: Religion is the result of culture and geography; it's not the result are seeking truth. How do we respond to this challenge? Number one, this is simply the genetic fallacy. What's genetic fallacy? It's where you fault the origin of an idea to dismiss it. Here's an example: If I were to say that I learned two plus two equals four from my kindergarten math teacher, Miss Crabapple, and then you come to me and say, “Oh really? Well you know your belief that two plus two equals four comes from Miss Crabapple, but did you know that Miss Crabapple is in jail? She was arrested for embezzling from the school. She was a shady character.” Genetic fallacy would then call into question my belief that two plus two equals four because the origin or the source if it was Miss Crabapple. Would it follow that two plus two dozen equals four? Of course not. That’s a genetic fallacy. You can’t simply fault the origin of an idea or belief and then dismiss it as false.

Secondly, could we apply this objection across the board, and then dismiss secularism? Let's take a country like Sweden or Denmark where secularism dominates. Those people have secular ideas simply because of the culture and the geography, so let's just dismiss secularism as being false. Of course, the objector’s not going to want us to apply it across the board. Let's do this across the board, not just to the Muslim who grows up in Saudi Arabia or the Hindu who grows up in India. We can dismiss all belief that way.

Here's a third response: This is a sociological claim that can tell you nothing about the rationality of a claim. I can tell you that if you grow up in Saudi Arabia, it's more likely that you're going to be a Muslim, but that doesn't tell you whether or not Muslim ideas are true or false. Sociology can’t give you rationality. What we have to do is rationally assess each claim. It doesn't matter where you grow up, we want to look at the beliefs themselves and see whether or not there's evidence for them and whether or not they are true or false. You can’t simply dismiss them based on culture and geography.

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Brett Kunkle