Monday, November 05, 2007

Prop's Philosophy on "Religion"

I went to church today. I go to Greek Orthodox Church because my wife is Orthodox and her parents would never have let me marry her if we hadn't reared the kids as Orthodox.

Anyway, I went to church today armed with an article I found on the web about the differences between Roman Catholic (which I am) and Orthodox. It we written by an Orthodox person so it was generally, "Stupid Romans."

It got me to thinking about a general analogy I came up with years ago about religions. By "religions," I mean, organized or systemic belief systems and / or world-views (including religions and the scientific method).

My analogy is this: religion is to God and the ultimate Truth as maps are to the actual things they are mapping.

I am assuming there is an ultimate and immutable Truth. I am not assuming God or any sort of god.

There is a reality to the universe and all religions attempt to portray that universe. Some world views, like the scientific method, do not try to "get you somewhere" they just provide information, while some are trying to get you to heaven, Asgard, Nirvana, God etc.

Now, there are a lot of different types of maps, topographical, political, road, climatic, historical, bird migration etc. Each can portray a certain area in a different way, with different emphasis and different information. They may not look anything like each other, but they do not contradict each other and they may all be accurate and true.

There are even some maps that because of their purpose may be somewhat misleading. A "Strip Map" showing you the route to grandma's house may be completely out of scale so that the important turns and landmarks can be made more prominent.

The AAA map and the grandma's strip map may look totally different and may in fact contradict each other, but they could also both get you to grandma's house.

Apply the concept to religion here. Two religions may be contradictory, but still get you to God.

Just because the maps don't look like each other, and even if they disagree with each other doesn't mean, and isn't evidence that they are "wrong."

Just because religions don't agree doesn't mean one or both of them are "wrong."

On the other hand the maps (and religions) could be inaccurate or completely wrong. They could be wrong even if they agree with each other.

The bottom line is, a religion or world-view is only a map. It is not reality, just a representation.


jenn said...

That is a very BEAUTIFUL CHURCH!!!!
where did you find that picture? I want it for my desktop wallpaper!!!

Inner Prop said...

Thanks. That's actually our church, Assension of Our Lord Greek Orthodox Church in Lincolnshire, IL.

They have a website, here:

jenn said...

thanks. I have many questions about it. I like learning about other religions. Are Greek Orthodox?

Inner Prop said...

If you want, you can email me at the innerprop address ( with any specific questions.

Or you can post your questions here. Your questions may help me understand it myself and there may be other people out there that can answer them better than I.

You asked, "Are Greek Orthodox?" I'm not sure what you mean, but I think you meant to say, "Are YOU Greek Orthodox?" I am not. I'm Roman Catholic. My wife and little propettes are Orthodox (that's why it's "our" church).