An atheist’s guide to using religion

Once, someone at my Toastmasters club asked me to talk about my religious views. I wasn’t surprised – I’d given speeches on Hinduism, Buddhism (a few, in fact), Shamanism plus a few others.

I think they were surprised when I said I was a militant atheist.

Yep, not just an atheist but a militant one. I believe religions should be treated like charities – they only get the tax break if they donate most of their wealth to worthy causes. A reasonable stance in my view, but that makes me militant according to some others.

Oh well, so be it.

But I don’t let that get between me and religion.

See, religion and philosophy are similar. There’s a lot of overlap between how they work. And philosophies work best when you dabble in a range of them and find what works.

Maybe you only need utilitarianism to live your life by. If so, congratulations. Me, I find different philosophies are useful in different ways.

Different situations.

And you can construct a metaphilosophy that uses the best teachings of each.

Religions are like philosophies that have culture and spirituality woven into them. Each is a rich school of wisdom – far richer than what you get out of a textbook.

And far more confusing, too.

You can study any religion – who says you have to believe it for it to work?

When you study a religion, you can hold two contradictory ideas in your mind.

The first is it teaches you all about the people and culture that created this religion.

The second is it’s a literally correct description of the spiritual condition.

Approach your studies from both these places, avoid getting sucked in to any faith too far, and you can gain all the benefits without having to believe any of it.

Bring that attitude as best as you can while you read the next few habits. This could be a deep well of wisdom that keeps on giving.

So that’s one way to enhance your life.

But if self-improvement really interests you, what would you do with more techniques than you can use?

Like, say, 60 of them?

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