Author Topic: Any relevance for religion?  (Read 15728 times)

MMIX

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #75 on: March 17, 2012, 01:02:48 pm »
I think religion, organized religion fills in a couple areas... SOME of those areas could be filled by scientific/ethical solutions not rooted in religion. However, there are aspects to religion which cannot be replaced by 'the facts'. Metaphor, illustration, parable, stories designed to pull specific triggers inside the psychology of the individual are important considerations. While we can speak to observed phenomena in science, we do so in a precise, factual way. Religion, on the other hand, is a mystical, metaphoric sort of thing.

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many religious people experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the rhetoric from the pulpit is particularly enchanting is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things are satisfied through religion.

For individuals that have had the necessary life experiences, education and mindset to revel in science, a scientific lecture can engage the 'bliss'. For the average Joe that didn't excel in science, doesn't know a hypothesis from a theory and can't even begin to grasp the mathematics involved in describing even basic physics (let alone quantum physics)... the words are uninspiring. Humans, ultimately want to feel good. They want to feel knowledgeable, they want to feel like they are connected to something larger than themselves. Religion fulfills that need, science doesn't (for most people).

It's one of the things I came to appreciate when I was reading Antero, Hine, etc. Their systems of 'magic' (their word not mine), are designed to give the participant access to 'bliss' without the necessity of a dogmatic belief system. If science and ritual found a common ground, perhaps 'religion' wouldn't be necessary. However, most scientificly inclined individuals eschew ritual, myth and 'bliss', in favor of directness, proof and clarity.
my emphasis

I get what you are saying Ratatosk but I think your last two sentences say it all really. And I think that people who don't get their fix of whatever it is that some people get from religion probably get it some other way. To illustrate that point please excuse me while I paraphrase a bit of your post

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many soccer fans experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the chanting from the terraces is particularly mesmeric is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things can be satisfied through being a soccer fan.


I don't think that religion has any affect on people which cannot be satisfied in some other way. ie it is not a necessary part of human existence, we need to breathe, we need to eat, etc etc, we don't need to have or practice a religion. That so many people do and have practiced one doesn't indicate the necessity of religion but the power that stories and storytelling have over a language oriented species.
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Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #76 on: March 17, 2012, 01:35:43 pm »
I think religion, organized religion fills in a couple areas... SOME of those areas could be filled by scientific/ethical solutions not rooted in religion. However, there are aspects to religion which cannot be replaced by 'the facts'. Metaphor, illustration, parable, stories designed to pull specific triggers inside the psychology of the individual are important considerations. While we can speak to observed phenomena in science, we do so in a precise, factual way. Religion, on the other hand, is a mystical, metaphoric sort of thing.

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many religious people experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the rhetoric from the pulpit is particularly enchanting is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things are satisfied through religion.

For individuals that have had the necessary life experiences, education and mindset to revel in science, a scientific lecture can engage the 'bliss'. For the average Joe that didn't excel in science, doesn't know a hypothesis from a theory and can't even begin to grasp the mathematics involved in describing even basic physics (let alone quantum physics)... the words are uninspiring. Humans, ultimately want to feel good. They want to feel knowledgeable, they want to feel like they are connected to something larger than themselves. Religion fulfills that need, science doesn't (for most people).

It's one of the things I came to appreciate when I was reading Antero, Hine, etc. Their systems of 'magic' (their word not mine), are designed to give the participant access to 'bliss' without the necessity of a dogmatic belief system. If science and ritual found a common ground, perhaps 'religion' wouldn't be necessary. However, most scientificly inclined individuals eschew ritual, myth and 'bliss', in favor of directness, proof and clarity.
my emphasis

I get what you are saying Ratatosk but I think your last two sentences say it all really. And I think that people who don't get their fix of whatever it is that some people get from religion probably get it some other way. To illustrate that point please excuse me while I paraphrase a bit of your post

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many soccer fans experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the chanting from the terraces is particularly mesmeric is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things can be satisfied through being a soccer fan.


I don't think that religion has any affect on people which cannot be satisfied in some other way. ie it is not a necessary part of human existence, we need to breathe, we need to eat, etc etc, we don't need to have or practice a religion. That so many people do and have practiced one doesn't indicate the necessity of religion but the power that stories and storytelling have over a language oriented species.


I disagree, while the soccer fan experiences tribal ritual, it is not the same kind of tribal ritual. The war ritual does not replace the religious/spiritual ritual. These both use a similar effect to affect different parts of the psychology.

IF however, we combine ritual and science, we might get something like the early Freemasons. Their liberal thinking, tied together with powerful ritual seems to have provided an environment where many could free themselves of religious trappings.

Antero Alli uses 'paratheatrics' in a similar way. Its designed to engage the ecstatic experience that affects the same psychological handles that religion does.

Religion 'could' be replaced, if the void was filled with something else. That thing would have to be very accessible to all levels of education, require little independent thought on the part of the individual, provide the ecstatic/bliss experience, provide a sense of belonging and provide simple answers to the scary questions that are common among most people.

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MMIX

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #77 on: March 17, 2012, 08:17:52 pm »
I don't need ecstasy/bliss in my life - I'm sorry but I really just don't.  Maybe I'm defective but I don't feel the need for transcendental experience, mind expanding substances, enchanting sermons, or hypnotic trance dancing. Its just not my bag; yanno? And I would bet quite a lot on the fact that I'm by no means unique. And its not that I'm not familiar with the background theory, I have studied the anthropology and psychology of religion along with performance theory and  aspects of the numinous, its fascinating, but I keep coming around to the same point - religion is not now, nor has it ever been necessary.
It may be important, not to say vital to how some people perceive themselves but, since it is not a key part of everyone's self-perception, it cannot be a necessary part of human existence. If you get a blast from it then hey that's cool but I would strongly suggest that you appreciate that aspect of the numinous because you have learned to, and not because it is an inherent part of the human condition.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #78 on: March 17, 2012, 09:05:04 pm »
Religion 'could' be replaced, if the void was filled with something else. That thing would have to be very accessible to all levels of education, require little independent thought on the part of the individual, provide the ecstatic/bliss experience, provide a sense of belonging and provide simple answers to the scary questions that are common among most people.

Let's see if I'm understanding you.

Religion is a common way of filling certain parts of human existence. Most people could do without, but it's something they would have to replace with something else.

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #79 on: March 18, 2012, 02:26:25 am »
I think religion, organized religion fills in a couple areas... SOME of those areas could be filled by scientific/ethical solutions not rooted in religion. However, there are aspects to religion which cannot be replaced by 'the facts'. Metaphor, illustration, parable, stories designed to pull specific triggers inside the psychology of the individual are important considerations. While we can speak to observed phenomena in science, we do so in a precise, factual way. Religion, on the other hand, is a mystical, metaphoric sort of thing.

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many religious people experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the rhetoric from the pulpit is particularly enchanting is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things are satisfied through religion.

For individuals that have had the necessary life experiences, education and mindset to revel in science, a scientific lecture can engage the 'bliss'. For the average Joe that didn't excel in science, doesn't know a hypothesis from a theory and can't even begin to grasp the mathematics involved in describing even basic physics (let alone quantum physics)... the words are uninspiring. Humans, ultimately want to feel good. They want to feel knowledgeable, they want to feel like they are connected to something larger than themselves. Religion fulfills that need, science doesn't (for most people).

It's one of the things I came to appreciate when I was reading Antero, Hine, etc. Their systems of 'magic' (their word not mine), are designed to give the participant access to 'bliss' without the necessity of a dogmatic belief system. If science and ritual found a common ground, perhaps 'religion' wouldn't be necessary. However, most scientificly inclined individuals eschew ritual, myth and 'bliss', in favor of directness, proof and clarity.

Bullshit. Anyone can listen to Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about the origin of our atoms, understand it, and feel inspiration from it. The concepts are easy; it's how we came to those that is difficult.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #80 on: March 18, 2012, 06:30:31 pm »
I do regularly feel a sense of awe when thinking about the Universe from a scientific perspective (it's why I like looking at the night sky or hearing about human evolution). Though I'm not sure how that is similar or different from the impetus for religious experience. At least on my end. Maybe for other people it fulfills that sort of feeling. I dunno.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #81 on: March 18, 2012, 08:35:11 pm »
I think religion, organized religion fills in a couple areas... SOME of those areas could be filled by scientific/ethical solutions not rooted in religion. However, there are aspects to religion which cannot be replaced by 'the facts'. Metaphor, illustration, parable, stories designed to pull specific triggers inside the psychology of the individual are important considerations. While we can speak to observed phenomena in science, we do so in a precise, factual way. Religion, on the other hand, is a mystical, metaphoric sort of thing.

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many religious people experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the rhetoric from the pulpit is particularly enchanting is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things are satisfied through religion.

For individuals that have had the necessary life experiences, education and mindset to revel in science, a scientific lecture can engage the 'bliss'. For the average Joe that didn't excel in science, doesn't know a hypothesis from a theory and can't even begin to grasp the mathematics involved in describing even basic physics (let alone quantum physics)... the words are uninspiring. Humans, ultimately want to feel good. They want to feel knowledgeable, they want to feel like they are connected to something larger than themselves. Religion fulfills that need, science doesn't (for most people).

It's one of the things I came to appreciate when I was reading Antero, Hine, etc. Their systems of 'magic' (their word not mine), are designed to give the participant access to 'bliss' without the necessity of a dogmatic belief system. If science and ritual found a common ground, perhaps 'religion' wouldn't be necessary. However, most scientificly inclined individuals eschew ritual, myth and 'bliss', in favor of directness, proof and clarity.

Bullshit. Anyone can listen to Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about the origin of our atoms, understand it, and feel inspiration from it. The concepts are easy; it's how we came to those that is difficult.

I disagree. I personally love the guy, but I'm pretty sure many of the people I grew up with would be mildly interested at best.

The 'need' that I'm talking aabout isn't a need for truth... it a need for an experience.

The quote I posted earlier by Max Steiner, I think addresses a key aspect... the religious/bliss/ecstatic experience doesn't require thinking. It's an experience. All that it requires if for you to be in an environment with your tribe processing a ritual that makes you feel, ummm, special? (I dunno if thats exactly the right word I'm looking for here). If you haven't watched "The Power of Myth" I highly recommend it. Its available on YouTube. Ironically, for me, listening to Joseph Campbell is as inspiring (maybe more for me personally) as Neil DeGrasse Tyson and far better than any religious sermon I've heard.

I'm not trying to argue that we need 'religion' as in a belief in a God... rather most (but not all) humans appear to have a need for X which religion fills (badly, but still better than most of the other options for those people). To be clear, I don't think there is some DNA hardwired requirement here. I think, were we to magically gain total control of all humans at the moment of birth and completely control their experiences from that point on, we could theoretically do away with that need in any human. However, that's highly unlikely and maybe kind of evil ;-)

Maybe, if we use the BiP metaphor, religion acts as the prison yard, the exercise room, the communal television or the library for all the poor schmucks that aren't busy trying to break out of their cell. Of course, for some people trying to escape, taking a break in the rec room is necessary as well.

Does that make any better sense, or am I blathering?

ETA: Also, when I say "bliss" I don't mean specifically dancing in the pews or speaking in tongues. For some people 'bliss' may be discussing scientific concepts, philosophical concepts *insert whatever gives people bliss here* or (least common denominator) religion. Scientific and philosophical concepts require deep thought, lots of reading, critical thinking and some level of education. Religious bliss, on the other hand, can be had by an illiterate person who has never had a deep thought on the subject. Its this 'least common denominator' that would have to be replaced.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 08:58:32 pm by Bebek Sincap Ratatosk »
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #82 on: March 19, 2012, 04:03:58 pm »
Quote from: La Wik
Bliss can be a state of profound satisfaction, happiness and joy, a constant state of mind, undisturbed by gain or loss.


This all reminds me of some of Pratchett's words from Unseen Academicals. The ritual of sporting events, and The Crowd, and how "football isn't just about football".
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #83 on: March 19, 2012, 04:32:23 pm »
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #84 on: March 19, 2012, 05:30:09 pm »
Because most humans are very disturbed when they can't figure out the what's,why's, and how's of the universe.

Religious beliefs fill in those gaps.

It's been that way forever. 

When we can't figure out why something is, we make up a story to explain it. 

I think if humans were more prone to feeling at ease with their inconsequential existence, there would be less need for religion. 
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #85 on: March 19, 2012, 06:13:42 pm »
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #86 on: March 19, 2012, 06:15:24 pm »
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Okay.  I'm just saying what IS going on. 

But since that seems to be unpopular, I will bow out.

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #87 on: March 19, 2012, 06:18:39 pm »
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Ok, first off... slaveryReally?

Secondly, your statement assumes that Religion (or the functional equivalent) actually is something people can live without (also implied - they can live without it and still be happy/fulfilled/complete/etc).

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #88 on: March 19, 2012, 06:38:05 pm »
Because most humans are very disturbed when they can't figure out the what's,why's, and how's of the universe.

Religious beliefs fill in those gaps.

It's been that way forever. 

When we can't figure out why something is, we make up a story to explain it. 

I think if humans were more prone to feeling at ease with their inconsequential existence, there would be less need for religion.

I hadn't seen anywhere else in this thread pointed out that Science doesn't really address the 'WHY', but only the 'what' and the 'how'....

Religion is what attempts to answer the 'WHY'.
Perhaps there are some outliers that simply do not care about this question.  they wouldn't need religion.
Perhaps most have a burning desire that a dangling 'WHY' be addressed, and since the only thing that seems to fill that gap is the story that their folks raised them up with, they stick with it.  they need the question answered, and the religion fits the bill.
Perhaps some see the answer given by that story as False, and either fall into some other religion, or they find a way to live with a dangling 'WHY' without much grief.  they wouldn't need religion, either. (but i miss it sometimes)

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #89 on: March 19, 2012, 06:41:59 pm »
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Religion's more like beer. You don't need it and some people are better off without it, but try convincing people that pint on the table isn't relevant.
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