On Multiple Religions

There are many religions in the world today, and many more if one looks back through the pages of history. To date, the multitude of religions has been a source of much conflict and friction. For thousands of years, differing religion has provided a reason for different cultures to fight. Each side believes their morals, their beliefs, their religion is superior to the other so they set about the gruesome task of annihilating the other side. And thus, we have war.

A reflective individual will realize that the existence of multiple religions is a “problem” for religious philosophy. In the early centuries, there was no difficulty. Every religion was secure in the belief that theirs was the one true way. And so, there was war. Eventually, saner heads prevailed and reasons were sought to stem the bloodshed. Religion (most of them, anyway) have learned to live together with an uneasy truce today (with one major notable exception). But the existence of one religion invariably serves to poison the faith of any other that might exist at the same time. It is natural to think that a religion is supposed to provide the “one true path” for its participants. But if there is more than one religion, which is the “true path” and which the “impostor?” Each side will provide supposed miracles, holy books, and vehement emotions to “prove” theirs is the right way, but that just adds to the confusion. Every individual yearns to find the truth. And since it is truth, many think it should be a single, unified thing. The issue is that religions help define morals; they answer the question what is right and wrong. But if there is more than one answer to these questions, the authority and certainty of these answers are made suspect. For example, one religion preaches that any marriage other than that between a single man and a single woman is a disordered arrangement. Another religion preaches that a man may have as many as four wives. Clearly, they don’t agree. Likewise, the instinctive intellectual reaction to that conflict is that at least one of those arrangements must be inaccurate or wrong, because if you accept that marriage to four women is permissible, clearly the sanctity of a marriage between a single man and a single women is false. Both conditions are incompatible with each other. One option available is to embrace relativism, but that typically leads to the disintegration of both moral systems as there is no reason to embrace either one over the other.

Alternatively, one can posit a kind of limited relativism where each relativistic moral system is an answer to the question of morality provided they meet some threshold condition. This threshold is a prerequisite for any moral system. It is a unifying property shared by all legitimate moral systems and serves as a bar for any proposed moral system to pass. An analogy is the property of symmetry (Yes, I know that is a weird analogy, but bear with me). The letters “O” and “H” are both symmetrical, but not identical. Hence, an “O” could be considered legitimate (or symmetrical), as well as “H,” but not “J” or “R.” An analogous arrangement might exist for religious systems. They must have some basic properties to be considered legitimate religions, but once those properties have been satisfied, there is a certain amount of leeway we can give the religions. That is, more than one religion can be seen as legitimate at the same time.

And yet, another alternative is my Alternate Theory.

Given that religion has existed throughout the history of mankind. And given that primitive man lacked the experience and learning of history. To me it seems obvious that the existence of multiple religions guarantees, let me say that again, guarantees armed conflict between said religions. Primitive man lacked the wisdom to avoid such conflicts, and history seems to bear this observation out. Still, the religions and their ethical systems exist. They must have come from somewhere. Perhaps, they are merely inventions of humans (this is not my position). Or, they came from God (this is not my position—as this leads to the unwelcome question as to why God would want his children to kill each other over and over again). Lastly, perhaps they came from an alternate source. It is my contention that each religion was started by the same entity with the express intent of starting religious warfare. This entity is not God, but Satan (or Mara, or The Evil One, or whatever you want to call him). There is one entity behind the diversity of the world’s religions, but it is evil and cares for you not one iota. (I’m sure I made a lot of friends with that statement)

Like I said, I’m the antiChrist and this is what I think.

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