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Pulling The Roots of Religion


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It is pretty obvious that the west is an amalgam of various cultures situated in the west and the near east. The spread of Hellenism, with the cultural homogenization of Rome, and it's continuance into the dark ages through the catholic church. You could say that classical ethical/political/empirical philosophy and Christian theology really are the binding factors of the west as we now know it. This is obviously generalizing it, but I dont have time to really go into detail.

Culturally, things seemed to change during the protestant reformation and the humanism of the enlightenment. It can easily be seen during the pinnacle of British imperialism during the Victorian era. And in the 20th century and even now in the dawn of the 21st century it can be seen that the west is slowly taking on a western perspective of a larger world view. Scholarship in protestant Christianity has waned in the past hundred years, and now people are starting to take on a watered down view of Christianity. Many are even disposing of these apparently archaic views, figuring that we are evolving culturally and empirically, no longer seeing the need for religion, with some even saying that religion has been the bane of human society.

Basically I want to get some idea of your feeling on this issue. I want you guys, if you choose to post, to tell me what country you reside in, and a simple yes or no if you believe that religion is just a societal phase that will be shed in the coming centuries. You can delve into detail if you wish, but I want to get your ideas.

The reason why I mention Christianity is the fact that it really is in all of it's forms the major religion of the west, and well, most posters here are from the west. Even if you are not located in the general area that is considered

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I reside in the US, and I really do think that religion is what is holding us back from progress. As we become more knowledgeable about the world around us, we will consider less and less what we need from religion. What we created to be the answer for everything is now running slowly behind our current knowledge base of what we know. It will phase out and our society will delve into secular triumphs, and the same time becoming a more humanistic society, where focus is on the good aspects of religion without using the religion as a reason anymore.

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Moses came with his teaching because the Hebrews were a lawless horde lost in the desert; it seemed then to be unwise to not follow it. Zarathustra called for the wisdom in the human activity as well. Buddha as well, as he was able to choose the relevance of the things. The very root of every great religion is in the wisdom - thus if it seems to be unwise, to do (or not do) something, then it is because of folly in interpretation. Religion itself should never be a selfsufficient cause...actually that was the point of pharisean movement, strongly criticized by Jesus.

People just think that religion will 'give' them the wisdom (or anything). In my opinion no, religion is no market.

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Great input Caid, but a bit off topic. If you could, please answer the questions listed, or at least wait until a few people have done so before starting the discussion on this matter.

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Well, then to drive it your way ;) I live between Slovakia and Austria, and see the religion as something unbound to any nation. It's an inner stance to the things around, not a 'factor of the west'. People could be religious in any place at any time since the first thoughts of culture.

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Now stress-testing English libraries.

- Micro/macro and profane/sacred

Religion is the most macroscopic vision of the world. It is so macroscopic that nothing actually bridges between this "infinitely macroscopic" and the more micro-aspects around.

Nota Bene. When I say macro, I mean view of the whole and not necessarily "whole" in material terms like universe/theory of relativity. Quantic physics is just an atom, but it's more a view of its whole than an electron. Our persons are more "whole/macro" than the "part/micro" of 3000 books on behaviorial psychology.

Many try to bring SOME bridging, or at least general directions which are corresponding, but Positivists and Theocrats showed that it had serious problems from whichever side. This is why comes the differentiation between profane and sacred, sacred forming artificial barriers on both sides of a track to prevent damage (get it done without order and: (1) the long-term might not be respected in the changing profane since "unproven yet"... and (2) unstable/unfundamental aspects can be shown as sacred/"utmost", letting doors open to the exagerations of short-term-aspects idolization - "everyone agrees"-theories on topic no one thought about, short-lived gurus, easy hedonistic exits, half-baked or short-term based theories...).

When the research from the more micro would actually reach the macro of religion, then it will actually itself be religious/spiritual (including human emotions, sentience, etc.). But nothing ever reaches infinite comprehension, as there are always more potentially researchable details and what connects is still more macro.

- Bridging science-theology, or profane-sacred

Some scientists did try to bridge, and they were often somewhere between scientific, theology and philosophy in-between. Leibniz, Newton, Nicolas de Cusae as well as recent ones (theory of strings is one example, but how spiritual is that?). But can we see a consensus accessible to all as "a general path"?... It's hard when we get theories parcelated in infinite networks of causality nexuses (and tons of humans analysing their parts with little global understanding).*

- Present trends

Given the issues specific to our times of most-of-society's-not-too-sure-who/what's-reliable for a general direction, some didn't know how to approach topic and tried anyway, with simplistic results which could at times be catchy when nothing better was available to many. Last time it worked a bit too well in its acquisition of power, it got extreme with a pseudo-oriental mysticism pushing some Nazi alchemy of race. When parliaments speak rhetorical hot air in a context of no globally secure consensus/direction, the balance tends to flip on the "quick, get me a leader that looks efficient!"

See my sig for further information ;)

*Maybe we need serious archivistic capacities to show general meta-paths and see which fits.... but (among other issues) sadly Lyotard would say that the proper of our times is exactly lack of faith in such meta-discourses. My personal opinion is that it is pretty damn hard for Lyotard to have the Communist meta-discourse he'd like if all the intellectual framework is within Right-speak; just like presenting some next step of Indian thought in Modernity from its assimilation within Western framework.

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Egeides, I hereby present you with not only the much-coveted Nema Fakei commendation for needlessly convoluted sentence structure, but also the rarer Caid Ivik award for profound philosophy and utter incoherence in semantics.

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hey egeides, could you also answer the questions? please answer the questions guys, that includes you Nema, though it is true that it was hard to decipher what was said, and to make an addition, I wish to be included into the questional syntax award.lol

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I think the issue of whether or not there is a god will remain for a long time yet, possibly never to be definitively solved by mankind. It will continue to suffer the backfiring of oppression in the name of religion for a good long while, yet.

However, I think that many of the most progressive movements of recent times will turn out to be good for theism in the long run. The abolition of slavery, the emancipation of women, working-class struggles, once these have fully run their course, once we have a society free from oppression, we can finally have widespread belief based on conscious and free acceptance, not on indoctrination or reaction.

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Egeides, I hereby present you with not only the much-coveted Nema Fakei commendation for needlessly convoluted sentence structure, but also the rarer Caid Ivik award for profound philosophy and utter incoherence in semantics.

I was saying to myself the same thing, that his wording sounded like he lived in Caid's country or something ;)
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I think the issue of whether or not there is a god will remain for a long time yet, possibly never to be definitively solved by mankind. It will continue to suffer the backfiring of oppression in the name of religion for a good long while, yet.

However, I think that many of the most progressive movements of recent times will turn out to be good for theism in the long run. The abolition of slavery, the emancipation of women, working-class struggles, once these have fully run their course, once we have a society free from oppression, we can finally have widespread belief based on conscious and free acceptance, not on indoctrination or reaction.

While theism may favor from the longer effects of progressive movements, what does this effect have on religion? I would think people might begin to disassociate theism with religion, but that may be impossible these days. If it does, then religion would decrease in members, and theism may increase. Although, I'll always think that where there's a belief in a god, there's somebody professing God's intentions for us.
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Egeides, I hereby present you with not only the much-coveted Nema Fakei commendation for needlessly convoluted sentence structure, but also the rarer Caid Ivik award for profound philosophy and utter incoherence in semantics.

Awesome. First time I ever get post awards but it's nice. [Egeides goes crying in the wardrobe]

I'll try to re-write otherwise (I had answered TMA, but apparently to the void):

No, religion wont be shed, even if it was assimilated as a form of science (which I doubt or see as fundamentally limited: see below).

Why:

1- Micro/macro and profane/sacred

Religion = macro-view, all-including from the aerial view.

Science/humanities = bunch of micro-views from the empirical, never encompassing everything since it would take infinite research to fill every hole empirically.

2- Bridging science-theology, or profane-sacred

For individuals, my "point 1" is divided as "sacred" and "profane" to keep the limit. See "Sacred" as "National Law": it gives boundaries instead of saying to every single bloke "just follow common sense". So the realm of "over-view perfection" and "earthly pragmatic reality" are separated so they don't bring non-sense to each other. The role of bridging as healthily as possible "profane knowledge" and "sacred knowledge" traditionally eschews to philosophy.

Go read Emile Durkheim. Meh! ;D

3- Present trends

All this is all mixed up now. So any popular wacko getting power can go on with little opposition from such social defense mecanisms. Augustus is one case, Hitler another... and both got God status from their earthly position... wonder why ::)

We'll see which one is the next to mix spirituality and politics for his pragmatist (or cynic) Rule. Maybe it would be lucky to get such a hit otherwise than all at once.

Conclusion: Therefore I'd say religion is a long shot from stopping and we better pay Acriku a mental health insurance.

My personal (cautiously taken) angle of approach on the topic is in my sig (and representing the stereotypically "Theological Camp of Evil Dogmatitude" corner, John Paul II's Fides et Ratio).

So... out of 10, 5 being average, how is the understandability?

Thanks Nema. My degree of coolness has just gone up: It's the first time I have something to put in a sig which isn't from my p®etty self.

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I just couldnt sift through the info correctly, Egeides, I am sorry. :)

My name is Titus, I live in the United States (Washington)

From a philisophical point of view, Religion is one way to search for absolute truth. It seems wrong to me to think of religion as a virus, when in reality it is an expression of what one believes as truth. Richard Dawkins for example, espouses his views as the more accurate answer to the concept of  God (or a lack of God). He does this by acting as a missionary for the sake of Atheism, and has even been called an evangelist in this cause. This is totally cool, because it is his expression on what he believes is truth. To say that religion is bad is saying that the search for truth is bad. It would be better put to say that it is misguided (even though I dont believe this to be so.

Hypothetically, one could see militant atheism existing, with people who have views similar to Richard Dawkins. It isnt religion that kills people, it is the belief that one's own personal truth is superior to others, that eventually leads to murder. Usually this can only be achieved when a certain label of truth is upheld by a powerstructure i.e. government. Once this happens, all other points of view are beaurocratically eradicated if the situations are right.

People like Richard Dawkins miss the point. Religion is not to blame. Instead it is man's nature to hold one's views as superior over others. This is inherent in human nature, and can never be erased. I sure hope it never will, because it is this same drive that makes man so damn adaptable, so damn unique, so damn human. I usually hate the term tolerance, because of it's new PC connotations, but it is a good word. it is important that people have their own points of view, in fact it is impossible for people to not have differing points of view. It happens all the time, its a day to day occurance. complete unity of perception is impossible to achieve, as I kind of implied earlier. So we need to tolerate one another. This is the key, at least in my opinion.

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  • 2 weeks later...

interesting point is that how different inputs are put into different religions throughout history, like the order to mass murder native americans because they were 'savages' or the intollerance of jews in europe leading to their mass murder, but really was it not "love thy neighbour" an integral part of religion, or to treat all people though how different they look from you as people ?

My point is that, though a religion would be inherently peaceful there would be someone who would manipulate a religion to farther one's own agenda ...

EDIT : anti-jew movement in germany from 1st WW to 2nd WW was due to the social mistrust created by belfour treaty so no question of religion being key for this period's bigotry, as a matter of fact the jews that got beaten in russia used to flock to germany for safety before the belfour treaty.

spicyguild :

Actually in Europe they are numerous enough so that:

* being jew is not so safe

* you carefully consider your audience before bragging about being pro-american

* in many places being a young woman means it's wiser to dress rather strict

That's not racism, that's small probability times millions, in Europe arabs are too numerous that you can ignore the risk. I say the risk but actually the menace would be a more appropriate word. That's not about the quran, not even about religion, religion is only a rally flag to claim more community rights. That's much larger, that's pro-palestinians versus the west. French arabs agress french jews. You think all agressors are muslim arabs? If so you are wrong, many are non-practicing arabs seduced by pro-palestinianism. Actually many become less violent as they start practicing (many convert in prisons). Too many pro-palestinians. A few will end in taking the scriptures literally. But that's the tip of the iceberg, pro-palestinianism nurtures violence, not all Islam, not only some extreme Islam.

Restrospectively, the French position was a safe collective move that has a freedom cost, to be paid individually, everyday.

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okay I guess I may have upset some atheists by trying to defend religion, and thus I quit doing so, from here on in it should be Edric-o, Caid Ivik, Purge or Gunwond who should be doing this duty not me anymore, asta la vista adios amigo  ;D

EDIT : I myself have to go through all the religions and histories of mankind to know more and to comment about it so better not talk about somethings I do not know that good :D

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The interesting thing about religions or monotheistic belief systems is that they are almost always administered by leaders who either inherit their knowledge from predecessors or who claim to have experienced some inexplicable revelation. The aspect of interpretation originating with charismatic human proxies for god rather than from a universally intuitive realisation common amoung our species was the first that led me to doubt and eventually abandon belief in god. The partisan human drive for prosletysation and missions to spread various "truths", to me, derives from a natural drive to fill any intellectual void in individual people as characterised by ignorance, want of curiosity, fear or doubt, with a belief system administered and fuelled by people of varying levels of charisma or influence, and driven by all-too-human (as opposed to divine) motives. Great architecture though, and hats off to the churches for maintaining Roman methods of administration through the dark ages to serve as the prototype of the modern nation state, and promoting philosophical if flawed justification of charity, and in rare cases, compassion. Forgive me with compassion for not seeing beyond it, though.

The age of most religions also makes them suspect, dawining as they did in times of relatively little knowledge of the world and its workings. Modern spin-off religions still have these more ancient origins.

The most amusing aspect of theistic religions is the link they draw between the creation story and universal morality, as though the two are intrinsically and exclusively linked.

Belief through faith is to my mind, to abandon the search for truth. You can only know what you discover, as opposed to relying on what others tell you. No one should believe in or rely on my statements either. Individual curiosity is the path to truth. Belief and acceptance of heresay are ends in themselves. 

One wonders what course the god religion would have taken if the Greeks had not given Christians the philosophical vocabulary to express their new tales as collated in a new testament, if the Jews had been less-nomadic and the Asians more so, and if the Romans had been less motivated by bread and circuses. What course will it take if Mel Gibson ever makes a movie about the book of Revelation instead of a mere crucifixion that Scorcese did better anyway? That's be a cracker.

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