RELIGION IS INHERENT IN MAN'S NATURE

By Robert M. Dunn

The essence of man is found in the nature of his consciousness. Man is characterized, first, by the fact that he can choose whether he will think. If he does choose to think, he can choose, and in fact must choose, the subject matter of his thoughts. In a word, man has volitional consciousness. Second is the matter of how man thinks. To put it in a word, man abstracts; or, to put it otherwise, he conceptualizes. We may say that man has a conceptual consciousness. These two aspects of human consciousness are the essence of humanity as humanity, and they are at the root of all that man thinks or does, i.e., they are at the very root of human life.

Anything that is the necessary product of manís particular form of consciousness may properly be said to be inherent in man's nature. We hold that that is the case for the appearance and the persistence of the phenomenon that we have come to know as religion.

"Life is a process of self-generated, self-sustaining action." (Ayn Rand) The survival of any life form is dependent upon its engaging in a course of action, which is calculated to prolong and reproduce its own life. Some life forms, vegetables for example, are not deemed to be conscious and their essential action is basically chemical or mechanical (e.g., photosynthesis). Certain animals are conscious but lack abstracting capacity; they must rely upon what we call in≠stinct, or an inborn guide, in choosing their course of action. Man is different in an essential sense. Man has no inborn guide and mere reliance upon mechanical or chemical aspects of nature will not sustain him. In order to sustain himself, man must act. To act he must have made some choice; to have chosen he must have had some basis for choosing among the alternative courses available to him. In turn, to have a basis for choosing, he must have some view of himself and of the nature of the environment in which he finds himself. Note that all these things are essential to continuing human life. If man fails or refuses to choose and act, he perishes. Man's mind, his consciousness, is therefore his basic tool of survival.

But man is born with a mind that is in essence a blank slate, tabula rasa. He has no automatic store of facts, nor any automatic method, of evaluating such facts as are presented him by his senses and his perceptual faculty. He must induce some generalization(s) to account for whatever facts he perceives, and then he must use his generalizations, the derived principles, as his guide to future action. Again, be reminded man has no viable choice in this procedure if he defaults he dies.

This process of forming a world-view and then acting accordingly is the essence of all religions. It is the common thread to be found in animism, polytheism, pan≠theism, mysticism, naturalism, supernaturalism, rationalism, monotheism, humanism, Buddhism, Jainism, Shintoism, Taoism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Ethical Unionism, Mohammadanism, you name it. Nothing else ties them all together. The process is natural and is necessitated by the nature of man's consciousness. It follows that religion is inherent in man's nature. Specifically, it is inherent in the nature of his particular form of consciousness.

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Church of Reason doctrine is limited to its Creed. The views herein are those of the author(s).

CORrmdO9O388RO3011189 Of988, 1989 R.M. Dunn (printed with permission) R-2