Matthew Hernandez: “How Custom Influences Religious Belief & Why It Matters”
Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 5:00pm to Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 7:00pm
Smith Memorial Student Union, Rm. 294
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Many religious believers when asked why they believe in a god respond, “My religion makes more sense than all the others.” Previous writers have thought this is due to the believer’s ignorance of other religions and even ignorance of their own tradition. Though this explanation may be satisfying for some, others may desire an alternative explanation that does not assume ignorance on the part of the believer. This essay promotes such an alternative by arguing that social custom influences religious belief, causing many believers to think that their specific religion is more reasonable. This is done by giving a foundational analysis of a passage from Mill’s On Liberty to frame an argument that religious believers think about their beliefs socially while thinking of other religions analytically. Finally, this essay will examines the extent custom influences beliefs and if changing the way we examine our beliefs can ultimately help us avoid falsity.