Some people have an incorrect view of religion. They assume that religious people do not think or if they think, they do not think well. Behind this assumption is the belief that religion has primarily to do with emotion and fear. The argument goes like this: People are frightened of death, sickness, accidents, tornadoes, failure, being out of control, you name it. . . Since they feel frightened they invented religion so they could jettison their fears onto an imaginary being called, God. Variations of this argument come from Spinoza, Feuerbach, Marx, Freud, Kafka, Sartre, Dostoevsky and more recently the less sophisticated modern atheists.
This assumption and its supporting arguments are wrong. Think about it: For all the faith people have put in God and religion, the world remains a dangerous and volatile place and many religious people know it. God and religion do not come with any guarantees or cures for undeserved suffering and evil. Praying to God in Synagogue, Church or Mosque will not keep craziness away from your door. Suffering and evil are part of life and prayer does not stop it.
People are religious because they care about truth. If I trust at the heart of the universe there’s a force that is for us and not against us, it’s because I weigh the evidence and conclude, given the amount of order amidst the chaos within our world, given the laws of nature, given all that is here, given our scriptural glimpses, trusting in God is not foolish. Faith may be risky but such is life. And when faith is mature it knows about the precariousness of life.
Granted, there are some religious people who use their religion as a balm to avoid looking at the craziness of life. These people have faith but not a very mature faith. And when religion is perverted it creates atheists and agnostics. When I read about the god in which Atheists do not believe , I say, I don’t believe in that God either.
I am a religious person because I care about truth. Yes, I have emotions, fears and superstitions that can cloud my better thinking. But when it comes to faith and faithfulness, I am determined to look life in the eye and not be afraid of any question from any person, field, or source. As a person of faith, I try to think and think well. I know that I could be wrong. That's why, I am always asking questions. But, Religion and thinking are not opposites; they are inextricably linked.