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 Is Religion Ingrained In Us?

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Aaron
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PostSubject: Is Religion Ingrained In Us?   Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:31 pm

The following is from an article in 'What Is Enlightenment magazine'.

Quote :
“God is dead. And we have killed him,” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche in his most famous work, Thus Spake Zarathustra. That statement coincided with the beginning of a century of religious upheaval unprecedented in human history. Only three generations after those words were published, the religious make-up of Western culture is almost unrecognizable from the way it looked when Nietzsche penned his declaration. In Europe, traditional forms of Christianity have plummeted in popularity, and many churches and synagogues are becoming monuments to a bygone age. And in the United States, a rapid decrease in adherence to Catholicism and traditional Protestant denominations combined with a rapid rise in nontraditional forms of Christianity, particularly Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism, has left social scientists struggling to keep up with the changes. Moreover, there has been an explosion in nontraditional forms of spirituality. New religious movements, New Age philosophies, and transplanted Eastern religions have all attracted millions and millions of the so-called spiritual but not religious contingent of the Western population.

So after a century of change, hindsight has proven Nietzsche's words both prescient and premature. Religion has not died, it would seem, so much as utterly transformed itself. Even highly respected secular intellectuals like biologist E.O. Wilson have come to the conclusion that religion is, as Wilson puts it, “an ineradicable part of human nature.” And despite recent polemical books by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, it nevertheless seems that the mainstream opinion is more reflected in science writer Connie Barlow's statement that “smug disregard of the religious impulse has recently fallen out of fashion.”

So what do you think, is there any escaping religion?

http://www.wie.org/j38/marion.asp

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Uriah

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PostSubject: Re: Is Religion Ingrained In Us?   Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:14 pm

I don't think there is, and that's not a bad thing per se. Individual religions are simply extension of the cultures which create them. If a religion can be portrayed in a negative light, that doesn't speak ill on religion, but rather the authoring culture. What that means, on the flip side, is that there can be completely healthy, vibrant, purposeful religions as well - we just have to create them.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Religion Ingrained In Us?   Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:27 am

First off, I like to differentiate between religions and the sacred.

To me religion is an expression of the sacred.

But not the other way around (i.e., the sacred is not an expression of religions).

In other words I use the term sacred as elemental.

So I always view it as to how good and effective religions personify the truth of the sacred.

I think, by far, the biggest handicap the three western relgions have is that they froze themselves in time. What I mean, and I don't know how to explain this with university terms, but that not only do they not change, but they triumph in not changing.

In reality, though the eternal truth never changes.

But our perception and our subjective truths change.

What I think has happened, then, is this. The three western religions, a lot of their adherents, claim that their religion is the OBJECTIVE (God's) truth.

As deists, of course, religion, by definition, would always have to be a subjective truth (that is, man's perception). So as a deist, I would believe that all religions, including the three western religions, fall under the category of a subjective truth.

Therefore, by definition, they can't be eternal and never changing. According to my definition, that's what objective truth is, not subjective truth (which is our perception of the objective truth).

Subjective truth should always be changing as we become more aware and conscious of the world around us.

So the problem I believe, if my metaphor holds, is that the three western religions, which are subjective searches for the truth, in some bygone era, before science was really invented, somehow got stuck in a formula in which they defined themsleves as the unalterable objective truth.

Their subjective truth, which they thought was objective, was unable to change with the times, frozen in time, as it were.

And that, I believe, is the root of today's spiritual crises.

With the three western religions we, technically, have a frozen subjective truth, unable to change with the times. And the reason there's such a crises of the sacred in this day and age is precisely because there's been so much change with the scientific era, I mean think of the scientific curve in the last hundred or so years. And yet the three religions, which staked their claim to being THE objective truth (and not subjective truth) could not change.
One could argue the unyeilding church institutuions were somewhat of a rock in the middle ages and their consistency and dependability an asset to a struggling civilization.
But when this nascent western civilization flourished and its knowledge grew exponentially, the church was forever frozen in time, believing its subjective truth to be objective.

The solution, of course, is to accept the church not as Objective (God's) truth, but as subjective (man's).

No other determinatin can be made today.

Because no other determinination could stand up to simple science.
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Schizophretard

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PostSubject: Re: Is Religion Ingrained In Us?   Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:37 am

No, I think we will always have religions. I think they evolve through time and eventually they may evolve into a world wide religion that also will evolve.
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: Is Religion Ingrained In Us?   Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:13 pm

Helium wrote:
What I think has happened, then, is this. The three western religions, a lot of their adherents, claim that their religion is the OBJECTIVE (God's) truth.

As deists, of course, religion, by definition, would always have to be a subjective truth (that is, man's perception). So as a deist, I would believe that all religions, including the three western religions, fall under the category of a subjective truth.

Therefore, by definition, they can't be eternal and never changing. According to my definition, that's what objective truth is, not subjective truth (which is our perception of the objective truth).

Subjective truth should always be changing as we become more aware and conscious of the world around us.

Good points.

I would just add that most religious traditions have developed from mythic/ethnocentric levels of understanding. At the mythic level of understanding the difference between subjective, objective and intersubjective truths haven't been fully differentiated yet. Therefore intersubjective and subjective truths are often misunderstood or mistaken for objective TRUTH. Once people begin to develop the capacity for third person perspectives and the ability to see things in a truly objective fashion (which is a shockingly small percentage of people in this country) then it becomes possible to see the difference between objective truth and subjective truth.

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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Is Religion Ingrained In Us?   Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:17 pm

Aaron wrote:


So what do you think, is there any escaping religion?


We can no more escape religion than we can live without human culture. What we now call "religion" is merely a formalized segment of culture-in-general. Tribal cultures made little distinction between religion and politics and economics. But as civilizations grew and absorbed other cultures, distinct lines had to be drawn between mundane politics and sublime religion, between worldly concerns and other-worldly interests.

In order to live together peacefully, humans must share some fundamental beliefs about human nature and the natural world, including Divine-nature. Otherwise communication would break-down due to conflicting axioms. A modern secular society can tolerate some inconsistency in religious belief only because some common political and economic beliefs counterbalance the religious conflicts. But it's a tenuous balance.

Some scholars have suggested that Western societies have informally adopted a Civic Religion in addition to whatever traditional religions the people hold to. That Civic Religion is usually defined as Secular Humanism, but it also seems to have a lot in common with Deism, in the sense that most secularists still hold on to some watered-down concept of a generic Deity. Is it possible that the recent Deist resurgence is a movement in the direction of a world religion? Secular and divine recombined into a worldwide culture for a reunited Human Tribe?

Nah! Forget it. Don't be silly. Wink
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