Crutches and culture

I was thinking about silly claims like “religion is a crutch” or “people are religious because of their culture.” It seems to me that these claims are either uninteresting or false.

If taken as a claim that many religious people are religious because of perceived psychological benefits or cultural bias, it is uninteresting, at least from for the person interested in the veracity of religious claims. In many areas of life the vast majority of people hold the positions they do for non-intellectual reasons. The real question is whether there are good reasons for a position (religious or not), not the psychological factors that lead some people to hold that position. There’s also irony in that such caricatures apply equally to irreligion. We might as well say that irreligion is often due to rebellion or cultural bias. Again, who cares?

If, on the other hand, we take these as claims that there is no evidence for religious positions, and that therefore the only reason to be religious is deluded comfort or social acceptance, then the claim is blatantly false. Philosophical arguments for classical theism and historical evidence for Christianity have been around for ages. With regards to the former, see the Natural Theology section here.