In philosophy, a belief is generally defined as an attitude towards a proposition (a propositional attitude). An attitude is a psychological state of mind or disposition (like: love, hope, fear etc.). So as propositional attitude, a belief is not isolatable. It is constructed based on a complex support system, an individual is born in. General assumption may lead to think that, support system of belief is correct. But that cannot be inferred by logic alone. Elements of experience and preference play an important role in determining one’s dominant system of belief. So logic can be used to prove any belief as long as a person is willing to add additional assumptions to support this belief.
It can prove whether an argument is valid or invalid, but logic is not about true or false.
Let’s look at it from the following two ways of argument
A) Valid argument : i) All the presidents in India are spiritual leaders; ii) Ram Nath Kovind is the current president; iii) (from i & ii) Ram Nath Kovind is a spiritual leader. It is valid because, if its premises (i & ii) were true, the iii logically follows.
B) Invalid argument : i) Neelkanth flower is blue; ii) the logo of the company general motors is blue; iii) (from i and ii) ergo, the sky is blue. So all the propositions (i, ii, & iii) are true. But the argument is invalid, as the conclusion does not follow the premise.
So logic can be used to demonstrate the internal consistency of an argument (i. e. it follows its premise). But it cannot prove whether the argument is consistent with the observable universe. The religious belief is based on the premise of God; evidence of which is universally disputed.
Earlier fear and lack of understanding of the cause & action of things (natural disaster, day-night etc.) led to the idea of an overall powerful being who kept watch over the activities of man. Early theological inventions prove, they worshipped the Sun, Sea & the Wind. With rising population & different cultures, religion also evolved and diversified. Gods evolved as well. They morphed from simple Sun and mood gods to Gods with complex stories and personalities. During this evolution man made god in his own image. Religion is simply an explanatory tool used before we had the ability to get the right answers.
Contributed by Aritra Das
on ‘Can logic be used to prove religion?’