Hanne Nabintu Herland asserts, 'there is no such thing as a non-religious man'
As traditional belief in religion is viewed with increasing skepticism among the elites, the media and academia in the West, the argument can be made that an atheist is just as religious as any Christian. Theologian Paul Tillich defined religion as “that which is man’s true concern.” Whatever is most important to the human being becomes his religion, his passion – his everything, as faith addresses the need to find meaning in existence and presents models that logically may explain the meaning of life.
The German philosopher Martin Heidegger, one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, once said in a German TV interview: “I would say that men, for example, Communists, have a religion when they believe in modern science. They believe absolutely in modern science. And this is absolutely faith, that is, the trust in the certainty of the results of science, is a faith, and is, in a certain sense, something that emanates from people, and is therefore a religion. And I would say no one is without religion, and every person transcends himself, in a way, that is they are dispatched.”
According to the definition of religion, whatever is essential in someone’s life, whatever he desperately believes in and advocates for and clings onto in times of trouble, may be labeled his religion. Whatever your heart confides in is your God.
In the old classic “Thought and Belief,” sociologist Rudolph Arendt adds a twist by defining religion as man’s ultimate goal. Man’s religion is his all-absorbing attitude toward existence, the foundation upon which he rests his life. According to his view, religion may be found in the transcendental realm, in traditional religions with the belief in God and the supernatural, or it may be found in the material or physical, profane world.
Arendt emphasizes that according to such a broad definition of religion, there is no such thing as a non-religious man or a nonbeliever. We all strongly believe in something. That which you find to be the very most important thing in your life is your religion – your encompassing, all absorbing beliefs and ideals, that which is at the core of your being, at the heart of your desires, the goal of your life.
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