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September 23, 2009


Iain Coleman

Of course, some people do indeed practice and believe in a religious faith, then cease to believe in it. These people don't seem to fit very well into the model you've outlined.


THey don't fit, but they don't greatly undermine it. Loads of people take up playing musical instruments, only to abandon them. So my analogy holds.

Tony Woolf

Mainstream religions (with the possible exception of some western versions of Buddhism) insist that you believe impossible things. So, should you practise believing impossible things for half an hour a day, like Lewis Carroll's White Queen? Or will you come to believe impossible things just by constantly asserting that you do? I am not a psychologist but I suspect that the latter can happen.

Iain Coleman

People don't give up musical instruments becaue they have come to realise that music is a delusion and its apparent pleasures are a lie. I really think you're reaching here.

John Meredith

"People don't give up musical instruments becaue they have come to realise that music is a delusion and its apparent pleasures are a lie. "

Well quite. Nor do they abandon the clarinet because they find that the precepts of clarinet playing require them to hate and/or punish homosexuals, women, or other instrumentalists, or to hold specific politcal positions on, say, birth control.


I would think it is perfectly possible to practice a religion without believing, I suspect very many do (even amongst the clergy). It is also perfectly possible to believe it without practicing it (in fact some faiths claim that is all that is necessary). So the link in this case seems very tenuous indeed.


I like the analogy put forth about music, but I fully believe that you can practice a musical instrument and at some point realize that it's not for you. Religion is quite different. I have tried quite a few different instruments, and yet, not one of them has called me evil for not continuing on that path. I have learned from it an appreciation of music, and a bit of a critical side to music that I hear. As far as religion is concerned though, all I have developed is a feeling of disgust.

Liam Murray

I've came to your defence here:



This was a most enjoyable read: both sides of the debate were presented, and while you spent a considerable amount of time on one side - practice prior to belief/proposition - you illustrated that so well it put you in a stronger position to understand Norm's claim. And there's nothing dumbed-down here: from performatives to Merton to Marx to Polanyi there are lots of points of departure to keep the issue discussed here alive.

This is all an elaborate way of saying thanks, so thank you again.

Sarah Danes

nice post...
i really like this...




I am not religious. Yet I believe in god.

Ugg london

Never frown, when you are sad, because you never know who is falling in love with your smile.

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