In this post I’d like to start exploring religion from a different perspective, using language as a metaphor. I’ve been pulling together my thoughts on this for a couple of months now, and I’ve found that looking at religion in this way resolves the fundamental issues I talked about in my last post on this topic, The Search for Truth, and explains a number of other puzzles about religion such as:
- What is the purpose of religion?
- Does it make sense to ask whether a religion is “true”?
- Are some religions “better” than others?
- Is it possible to predict the future development of a religion — whether it will grow, change, or wither away?
- How is the development of a religion changed by contact with other religions?
- In what ways can religions vary? Are they infinitely variable, or are there limits?
- Why are the older religions of humanity (shamanism, paganism, etc.) quite similar all over the world, while the newer religions (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, scientific theories) so different from one another?
- Why is it that children seem to be natural born pagans?
- And of course: how do you go about choosing a religion that is best for yourself?