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Religiousness

30 April, 2006

The philosopher Julian Baggini in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper reminds us that, when considering whether a person or a community is religious, it’s not enough to ask about what creed they recite, or what myths they hold to be useful.

We need also to take into account their attitudes.

Attitudes are not beliefs at all, literal, analogical or otherwise. They are, however, deeply important to how we live, for they determine our entire orientation to the world around us.

Among the primary religious attitudes are those of awe, reverence, gratitude and humility. What each have in common is that they capture a sense that there is something greater than us, which commands us, and which we cannot control.

By this measure, many people who may not claim to be religious may actually be living their daily lives in a more honestly religious way than many who claim to be religious, but whose claim is based on no more than loudly proclaiming a certain creed, which their behaviour in their daily lives may belie.

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