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Friday, February 8, 2019

Politics and Prose: Dr. Eric Motley- Interviewing Elaine Pagels: 'Why Religion'

Source:Politcis and Prose- Eric Motley and Elaine Pagels at Politcis and Prose, in Washington 
"Elaine Pagels discusses her book, "Why Religion?", at Politics and Prose on 11/30/18.

When Pagels, author of groundbreaking studies of the Gnostic Gospels, was asked, “Why religion?" she found that her own life illuminates both why she’s made a career of studying religious texts as well as why religion itself still exists in the supposedly secular 21st-century. The daughter and wife of scientists, Pagels was taught to trust the rational, but she found herself attracted to religious music and rituals for how they engaged the imagination. After the loss of her five-year-old son in 1987, followed by her husband’s death in an accident in 1988, Pagels turned to religion for help in facing her grief and anger. Interweaving the fascinating scholarship behind books such The Origin of Satan and Revelations with her own experiences, Pagels’s memoir is as emotionally affecting as it is thought-provoking.

Pagels is in conversation with Dr. Eric Motley, executive vice president at the Aspen Institute and author of the memoir Madison Park."

From Politics and Prose

As someone who is Agnostic and proud of it who believes in reason, science, facts, and only has faith in people, things, institutions that I trust based on the evidence that I've seen from being around them and talking to them, I can actually see why people would be attracted in religion. As someone who believes in the First Amendment which includes the Freedom of Religion in America, ( sorry Hippies, I'm not spiritualist and I'm not a Communist either ) I can see why people would want religion, be involved in America, and even need it. I guess the difference between an Agnostic and an Atheist, especially a fundamentalist Atheist ( and yes, there is such a thing ) like a Communist to use as an example.

Source:Good Reads- From Elaine Pagels 
This is not an official definition, but that might only be because there isn't any official definition of religion, but my personal definition of religion is basically basic set of moral values that people believe and follow, as well as the belief in God. Now, depending on what religion you are a member of determines what moral values that you believe in and follow that helps you in your life. I can easily see how people can get positive benefits from being a part of a religion and get positive benefits from attending church and listening to their religious leader every week give a sermon, especially when they're going through rough times and need help getting through those tough times. Even though religion is not for me and I prefer to use evidence and reason to get through those tough times in our lives.

Source:C-SPAN- Elaine Pagels, on C-SPAN 
Elaine Pagels, lost both her son and husband in the span of a year back in 1987-88, apparently wasn't very religious before those tragedies in her life, but found religion after that and I can understand someone who goes through those tragedies especially in such a short period of time would feel the need to get help from religion and learn about that and try to figure out for themselves why they're being put through those tragedies one following by another. Religion, has been used by alcoholics to get over their alcoholism. It's been used to help career criminals who are doing long-term prison sentences get their life going on a positive track so once they're finally out of prison they can become positive members of their community once they're free. As much as I might hate religious fundamentalism in all forms, ( and trust me, I do ) people should also understand and beware of the positive aspects of religious life as well.

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