Belief is an-all encompassing word, ranging from the knowledge of the truth of a fact to the simple acceptance, rational or not, of a claim. We base our arguments on beliefs and we subsequently base our life one beliefs. Our language even attributes names to people with specific beliefs. A scientist, a conservative, a priest and a xenophobic. All of these words define a person based on his or her beliefs and as demonstrated, these beliefs do not have to have a clear root in reason and rationality. The scientist (in a majority of cases) bases his beliefs on evidence tested multiple times for its validity. The xenophobic does not, his belief is often arrogant and baseless, a real display of bigotry.

Religion is most often defined as a system of beliefs. However, these beliefs are clearly distinct from other beliefs. Firstly, religion claims the impossible and demands that it be accepted. Secondly religious beliefs have in no way developed; they have only adapted to comply with modern understanding of the world. One can no longer claim that devils or sins are the cause of illness of any kind, a notion that Jesus actively encouraged. Religion has very successfully promoted the belief of thousand-year old beliefs, an obvious anachronism our society cherishes, such as the existence of a God requiring a belief in him to lead a life after the grave.  Religion successfully entertains the superstitious as much as it incites one to wishful thinking. It is superstitious in a sense that a member of society issued of modern culture still fails to see that prayers are not more effective than expertise lead surgery. In America, religion has successfully harmed the lives of many whose lives would have been saved if it were not for religion’s opposition to stem cell research.  It encourages wishful thinking as it incites us to the logic that Pascal argued to be the correct way of handling beliefs –especially about God. It is unnecessary to mention as to why the simple belief in something out of the mere fact that it might be true is a flawed logic.

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One of the core beliefs of any religion, shared by both moderates and fundamentalists, is that it is the only true religion, or at most that other faiths have an incomplete version of the truth. This supposed truth gives one access to eternal life. If a believer greedily does not share this belief, his morals are worthy of criticism. If he does share this belief, he is only spreading ignorance and the will to ignore - and if fundamentalism were to arise, kill people belonging to - other religions. Some religious pluralists seem witless of this fact, by preaching the ...

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