Rational Religion

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Why There Are So Many Metaphysicists; and so few physicists (or astronomers, or biologists, or whatever):


It's the path of least resistance.


Science is work.  You have to do a lot of things that are hard for humans to do.


 You have to get an education, which is time-consuming and expensive and so beyond the resources of many people. 


You have to develop non-intuitive mental habits.  You have to work on a rarified professional level which demands constant attention to detail. 


You have to be willing to spend your life working on something which may turn out to be wrong, or useless. 


You have to be plain, flat-out swift enough in the head to absorb the material and make the connections.


Although there are occasional rewards; in making the exciting observation, the ground-breaking discovery; they are far outnumbered by the failed experiments and investigative dead-ends. 


As for fellowship and human society?  Well, there are undeniable rewards in working with other people of like capacities and goals, but it's got to be unnerving to know that most of them are trying to prove you are full of shit. 


It is no wonder that so many scientists take psychological refuge in the superiority complex - or more specifically, the illusion of exclusivity - which their specialized knowledge and understanding so easily seduces them into.  Of course, this also makes them less accessible to the rest of us and much less useful as role models for the young.


Metaphysics is easy.   You either buy it, whole, along with some established doctrine or - if you are of a more imaginative, original bent - you make it up as you go along. 


Metaphysics is within almost anybody's capacities because the individual's own levels of intelligence, industry, steadfastness and needs define the boundaries! 


Being self-defining, it also tends to be self-fulfilling.   And you can study it exactly as much as you feel like, from Sunday School to the seminary.   You can do so with the reassuring knowledge that - whatever questions your studies may inspire - there are definite, immutable answers to all of them.  


History, tradition and community are on your side.  You can be surrounded by a congregation of other intelligences who will reinforce your convictions and reassure you that you are on the right track.   If you are a young person you can pick and choose from an army of mentors, role models and concerned older friends. 


And when things get to be too much, you can talk to god.  Tell him your troubles and ask for advice or forgiveness - whichever.   If you believe he is listening, things will get better (more often than not).


Now, I know that there are tortured, unhappy theologians who continually struggle with the complexities of their belief, but I expect that is more the failure of their individual personalities - or their biochemical internal environments - than it is of their religion.  


If you are a natural doubter or worrier or questioner, maybe you should have been a scientist.   On the other hand - all that work and uncertainty!  And you may be just as unhappy in any other mental environment. 


Better see a doctor and take a pill.