Discussions Religion and Theology, Scriptures, Bible Debate, etc.
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My personal beliefs aside, I believe that religion is a positive force on society as long as the religious figures do not run the show. I find theocracies a bit scary. I don't think religions are all that logical. Making state decisions based on often illogical beliefs is not such a good idea. I can hear the screams now that governments are not logical. True, but at least their madness is not dictated by immutable rules.
Scimitars were not available - beware January 19, 2038 is upon us.
Sadly much of what happened a few centuries ago via which the U.S. was born, all centered around religious issues and people's right to kiss the golden hiney however they saw fit. In order to not have to deal with the headaches at home the good King packed the Pilgrims on a series of boats and pointed them our way... Ironically the Puritan representatives of the Crown soon followed and with them a very iron hand that ran the early colonies more like a fanatical theocracy than not (frighteningly it feels that we are sometimes heading back to such times, given the momentum of the fanatical Christian right and their political agenda).
As we came to the days of the Revolution it was NOT Christian men and women at the helm but rather Free Masons. While all Masons believe in a Higher Being that is not to say they buy into any one doctrine, theology or dogma. In fact they hold a far more open "universal" sense of both, God and Enlightenment or "salvation" as some call it; a path that resembles the mystical side of Gnosticism rather than Orthodox Christianity. It was just such "free thinkers" that carefully plotted everything out so that GOD didn't get blamed for man's bad behavior and at the same time, wasn't abused by so-called Men of the Cloth who sought worldly treasures and political might. They had seen such things and knew of the horrors such governing accomplishes. So their proclamation, that coveted document that's become an official doormat of late; the Constitution of the United States of America, the Bill of Rights and various amendment sewn within these things as the corner-stones upon which this nation was built came to be. They were composed in simple "working mans" english, not the whimsical pen of lawyers and politicians but the heart of the ordinary citizen for whom God meant hope, inspired honor as well as charity. But this new government sought to likewise protect the faithful from the corruption and power lusts that run so common amongst the various creeds as the vey for position as well as influence. This new government putting the clergy in their place, using them as a means by which to manage the public and keep them passive, even supportive of the powers that be. For a very long time this has been an interesting relationship; a roller-coaster ride as one elected official lent added power and influence to this or that sect and the next would create a more science and logic based atmosphere in the country, keeping the zealots at bey.
Managing "the mess" makes one wonder if it's worth it for on so many levels religion is the opiate for the weak minded, it is likewise a terrifying weapon when unleashed; be it in the name of God or Country
No... the duplicity of religion as a whole, how it protects predators of most every flavor and the skill by which they steal money from the lives of some of the poorest people on the planet... for me it is a false expression of what it claims... an actual anti-christ for they do not function as he did, they do not enjoy life as he instructed and rather than encouraging patrons to be as children; free and innocent -- capable of finding the divine in all they observe, they teach them to fear everything and everyone... to fear God itself, the most. A sad and moronic thing it would seem, regardless the doctrine... other than maybe Buddhism and the ideas of Confuscious
I watched a documentary this weekend on the Old World Amish which was quite interesting. There's something to be said about their lifestyle of safety, willingness to help your neighbor, and the lack of stress that comes with modern day conveniences. Still, I don't think I would want to see my wife in a head scarf every day nor could I sit on a bench every Sunday for 4 hours. My ass just couldn't take it.
Hehe... that's why God create Mennonites the more 20th century friendly Amish
Interestingly, there is a slow-growing movement within the Pagan aspect of society that is similar in some ways to the Amish way of living; getting back to the 14th century idea of "basics" so to speak... of course, in the 60s & 70s this way of living was called a "Commune" where now days it's call "Green Living Communities" (we don't have a barff icon...drats!) but the idea is kindof the same and I do actually support the concept, given how many kids I encountered (high school city kids of the 1990s) that thought Mint (in all it's forms) was a synthetic, that pickles grew on bushes and of course, they couldn't accept that the whole idea of "Organic Farming" meant that you put animal crap on y our plants to help feed them and make them grow (we used rabbit poop for years because we raise angora bunnies for yarn spinning ... and the occasional Sunday dinner )
Don't get me started... today's youth is so STUPID when it comes to what "being natural" or "in touch with nature" means... hell, they complain of the smell in the air when they get to the farm
First, what is “organized religion the way it is”? Second, how does it come to be that way? Third, what function did it serve in our evolution? Fourth, is it serving that function now? Fifth, if it is not, and if the need it addressed still exist, what is the alternative?
You asked a “should” question, which Robert Heinlein pointed out, should always be preceded by an “if” clause.
For question 1. I refer you to the Pavlina article “10 reasons not to have a religion” posted by Scecop for a mild statement of my materialistic mode opinions about “organized” religion.
The next three questions are a tangle. As to question 2, my understanding of religion itself is mediated by Freud on the materialist side, and Robert Graves on the mystic, but my understanding of “organized” religion comes from Wilhelm Reich's Mass Psychology of Fascism, which gave me my understanding of both states and religions as Hive intelligences. This is the clue to question three. I suspect the religion and the group mind are older than individual time-binding continual ego awareness, and the band is more basic to our psychology than the individual. Indeed, my estimate is that 90% of the time, 90% of us are not using “free-will” but are operating according to programming.
Is organized religion “the way it is” serving its function now? No, according to Reich, it has evolved into totalitarianism, which is destroying the limited free-will aspects of our existence.
Notice this is organized religion I am taking about, not “religion” itself.
Does the need for “organized religion” still exist? Does the need for a unified world-view among humans as a basis for unified action still exist? If it does, what would that world-view and action be? How we would achieve them?
If the need doesn't exist, all bets are off, and it is a whole new universe where anything could happen.
Likewise, I am not 100% certain of any of the above, but they are my operating premises, based on the evidence.
Tangent. I recently read The First Word: The Origins of Language, and I am possibly coming to a new world-view.
I was once a Platonist, and believed in ideals, then I was a strict nominalist, then a Xian Platonist mystic with personal experience of der Teufal im Himmel, then we parted ways and I threw out Plato with the Baptist bath water, but now, I am again coming to the conclusion that information may be noumenally real.
Specifically, there are two domains of life on this planet, the organic, based on genes, and the informational, based on memes. Humans are symbiotes, chimpanzees with a meme based consciousness. Our mimetic consciousness is one cell in a language species, which is subdivided in ways we do not yet understand into institutions. As an agnostic I believe we cannot know wether these are noumenal, or merely phenomenal relations.. And I am not by any means claiming this is “truth” , much less “proven” but I think it is plausible, and it feels right to my right-brain and autonomic nervous system, or, colloquially, it feels right in my heart.
So, what should we do about “organized religion the way it is”?
"What's so Funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding?"
Organized religion "the way it is" is meant to mean just that. Have a look around society and see the churches, the groups, etc. and how they shape our society. It's not meant to be too technical of a question.
Didn't Hitler try to replace all organized religion with himself?
I don't know about all that, but the view from his Eagle's Nest retreat cottage in Bavaria is to die for!
Yeah, Prof, I suspect you, with your quite acceptible self-evident defintion, the article I referred to, and I all have, as you said, the same basic perception of "organized religion 'the way it is'" . Just wanted to make sure we were on the wavelength, and let outsiders know what our beef is.
Ninja Puppy, its my impression that it was Himmler's scheme to make Hitler God and himself the Pope. Hitler is a mystery, wrapped with enigmas, and covered with blood. He is the most important moral examplar we have. It is a hell of a lot easier to not act like Hitler than to act like Christ, and I I think the world would be a pleasanter place is people just tried not to act like Hitler, than have 90% of the human race hopelessly depressed at their failure to live up to the Christian myth.
I offend a lot of people with that comment. No offense meant. I am mitochondrially Jewish enough for the ovens, and I loathe Hitler about as much as I loathe any human being alive or dead. Having trained myself in Martian attitudes and ahimsa, I could even say I feel mild distatse for Hitler. He certainly doesn't bappeal to my aesthetic sense.
"What's so Funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding?"
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