This post is part of the series What is Religion?
Other posts in this series:
I have shown many things about religion. Everyone is religious, but what people do not know is that all religions are exclusive. Exclusive means that all religions claim about themselves that they are right and all other religions are wrong. This is true because all religions state themselves in a general form that other people can agree with and all religions claim that they are the highest good.
Let’ s start with the first claim. All religions state themselves in a general form that other people can agree with. Remember that a religion is the final construct that structures someone’ s life. That final construct could be anything. What it can’ t be is something that only applies to one individual. The reason is that in order to be a final construct, it must be a construct. Constructs structure your life by telling you why you should do the things that you do. So they have to be about the things that you actually do. But anyone could, if they knew your life well enough, talk about what you do and why you do it. That means that other people can talk about your religion. Naturally, that means that other people can agree or disagree with your religion.
All religions claim that they are the highest good. Remember that all religions are final constructs. They are final because there is no higher reason at all that anyone can refer that you agree with that will cause you to change religions. So the religious believer (everyone) believes their religion explains what is best for everyone. Let’ s suppose for time that this is false. Suppose that someone lets call them Fred had a religion and claimed that his religion was best only for him. It would be best for him, yes, but it would also be best for anyone that was sufficiently similar to him. The religion is best for him given his circumstances, choices, character and belief. But all of those things can be shared with another person. Therefore, it is possible that the religion could apply to another person. Fred should claim that his religion is best only for people sufficiently like him. He must claim this because if his religion is true at all, then he should become as religious as possible. Part of doing that being rational and consistent with his religious claims. But why should his religion apply only to this small group of people? Presumably, this is because there is some reason that others do not need to follow his religion. Perhaps they lack evidence, they made different choices, they have different characters, or something else. Whatever it is, this is the reason why his particular religion applies to some people (those like him) and not others. But that means that his religion is being structured by a higher reason. Therefore, that higher reason is his religion not what he claimed it was. Therefore, all religions apply to everyone.
At this point, two things need to be stated. First, this applies equally to all religions. It does not place any religion above any other religion. Second, all this says is that religions exclusive. It does not say how believer ought to act towards one another. People ought to discuss their differences reasonably. How this is possible when the subject is religion is something that I will discuss later.
Continue reading this series:
Freedom of Religion