Point # 1
It’s okay to accept beliefs from other people on trust without independent verification. We all do it all the time and couldn’t function otherwise. A person is obliged to have positions (or at least working hypotheses) on many more areas than he can personally study. However, when you do this, it’s important to remember that that’s what you did. Also, keep in mind this great anti-democratic insight: it’s okay to not take positions on a bunch of issues.
Point # 2
Why am I a Catholic? Because that’s the religion my parents taught me. Being a conservative, I’m proud to admit it!
But Bonald, that method can’t possibly be a reliable way to get at the truth. It means that if you had grown up in India, you would have with as much justification become a Hindu.
Of course, and if I’d have been born in India it would have been stupid of me not to have been a Hindu. Hunduism is definitely better than whatever shit I’d be able to come up with on my own. It’s a major world religion, so it’s probably got something going for it. And even if it started out as complete BS, the greatest minds of one of the world’s great civilizations have been pouring wisdom into it for millennia.
The only case that my own self-made worldview is likely to be as wise and true as what I inherit would be if my parents had just made up their own religion or philosophy, and even then there’s no reason to think that I’d do better than them. Come to think of it, even in this case my parents’ made-up beliefs would have the edge over mine, because there are two of them and they’ve been alive longer to think about these things.
Nor should one dismiss the spiritual benefits that come from knowingly retaining the rites of one’s ancestors.
Point # 3
Of course, truth trumps other concerns. Which is more likely to lead to the truth–methodological doubt and relying only on one’s own independent reasoning skills or blindly accepting whatever one is taught? The latter, obviously!
Fortunately, there are intermediate positions between these two extremes that yield even better chances of getting at truth. When in doubt, though, error to the side of blind faith.
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