Shel wrote:It's commonly understood that anti-religious thought is driven by fear of irrationality, rather than fear of freedom. Why would religion particularly be a target for expressing fear of freedom?
This is based on the responses of those who defend the 'scientific materialist' view. Of course many such persons don't like the term 'scientific materialist' but that is nevertheless the view they defend. If you were to go to Philosophy Forum or sites such as Why Evolution is True, you will find many contributors who are very hostile to anything religious - but they draw that term with a very broad brush. It doesn't only include Christian fundamentalism, for instance, but even much traditional, that is, pre-European Enlightenment philosophy, and anything vaguely spiritual whatever. Even the idealist aspects of Western philosophy. They are very strident in their view that the fundamental basis of reality is something that can only be understood through scientific analysis. Anything else, they classify as 'woo' or 'supernatural'. And anything 'supernatural' is of course the target of much scorn and even outrage. I know this from experience. (I will admit to posting somewhat provocative statements on those sites, I'm a bit of a trouble-maker.)
I think anyone who has spent serious time in meditation learns to be at home with a sense of 'what I don't know'. This doesn't mean wandering around in a daze - in my case, whilst I have learned that aspect of the mind through meditation, I also have a very technical occupation which demands skill and concentration. So I think meditators become acquainted with those deeper aspects of mind, which are pre-linguistic and pre-conscious, beyond the scope of discursive reason. My feeling about many people who are really hostile to anything spiritual, is that they are actually frightened by those aspects of their own being. So they use science to defend their sense of ego, which is very much intertwined with the modern individualist view of life. Here we are, holding aloft the candle of reason in the dark, sorrounded by mysterious forces, which are inanimate and mostly dumb, which we can subdue through science and engineering. So everything has to be understood through the lens of science - whether it be evolutionary, or neurobiological, or sociological, or whatever. It's a mind-set.