### is mathematics a religion?

Posted:

**Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:33 am UTC**Bertrand Russell wrote:

If a ‘religion’ is defined to be a system of ideas that contains unprovable statements, then Gödel has taught us that, not only is mathematics a religion, it is the only religion that can prove itself to be one.

J.D. Barrow in his book Between Inner Space and Outer Space, Oxford University Press, 1999, p 88 cites the above Russell's words.

Lee Smolin writes in his book The Life of Cosmos: “Certainly, if one needs to believe that beyond the appearances of the world there lies a permanent and transcendent reality, there is no better choice than mathematics. No other conception of reality has led to so much success, in practical mastery of the world. And it is the only religion, so far as I know, that no one has ever killed for.”

I have been attacked by mathematicians and accused of doing a religious witnessing on their boards. Aren't they themselves committing

the very same sin if mathematics is a religion?

Or is mathematics rather a sociological phenomenon which is born whenever two or more people interact with or relate to each other.

Two people may have an opinion or viewpoint independently of each other. That is not a sociological phenomena.So if two people watch a TV program and independently think that the program was "accurate, convincing and clearly presented" but say nothing to the other person, then there is no sociological phenomena. If they do tell each other what they think, and both of them agree, then a "norm" has been created.Norms are a powerful and universal sociological phenomenon.

Mathematics deals with an absolute truth. So it is surprising to find that so many people resort to norms and seek acceptance of others

so that mathematics becomes like a politics or a sociological phenomenon. It is very hard to find a place for those seeking the truth.

If a ‘religion’ is defined to be a system of ideas that contains unprovable statements, then Gödel has taught us that, not only is mathematics a religion, it is the only religion that can prove itself to be one.

J.D. Barrow in his book Between Inner Space and Outer Space, Oxford University Press, 1999, p 88 cites the above Russell's words.

Lee Smolin writes in his book The Life of Cosmos: “Certainly, if one needs to believe that beyond the appearances of the world there lies a permanent and transcendent reality, there is no better choice than mathematics. No other conception of reality has led to so much success, in practical mastery of the world. And it is the only religion, so far as I know, that no one has ever killed for.”

I have been attacked by mathematicians and accused of doing a religious witnessing on their boards. Aren't they themselves committing

the very same sin if mathematics is a religion?

Or is mathematics rather a sociological phenomenon which is born whenever two or more people interact with or relate to each other.

Two people may have an opinion or viewpoint independently of each other. That is not a sociological phenomena.So if two people watch a TV program and independently think that the program was "accurate, convincing and clearly presented" but say nothing to the other person, then there is no sociological phenomena. If they do tell each other what they think, and both of them agree, then a "norm" has been created.Norms are a powerful and universal sociological phenomenon.

Mathematics deals with an absolute truth. So it is surprising to find that so many people resort to norms and seek acceptance of others

so that mathematics becomes like a politics or a sociological phenomenon. It is very hard to find a place for those seeking the truth.