Designing a New Religion

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by TealLeaf, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Messages:
    5,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    First, with an apology for not doing so first post, may I bid you warm welcome to this forum :)

    This is at least the third time here I have seen this phrase used in this context. Humanity is no longer a baby. Or need not be. The time of being content with goo-goo's and gaa-gaa's has surely past. In light of the radical changes that have expanded human knowledge in the last two centuries, and the exponential growth that has marked that trend being set to continue, our collective whole has to reach a new consensus. Hanging on the word of a collection of factious desert leaders and renegades lost in the mists of time is no longer good enough in my opinion. There never was a baby in the bathtub.

    What on Earth is a sacred text? What causes more faction than this need of people to self appoint themselves to (a) define sacred and (b) have it defined as some personal redefinition? Seems like navel gazing to me, with a borrowed, ancient and withered navel.

    To what benefit though? If these texts have any benefit at all they are as a model for a collective morality. But in religious texts that message is confused and biased by countless contradictions and narratives that render it too corrupted to be fit for purpose. We do not need religion to teach us to love and think beyond our personal desires. All other content has about as much meaning today as any badly written, otherwise unpublishable novel. Should we construct temples to worship every ancient writing?

    You could join a scrabble club! Make note of every word in your games and fit them into verses!! They would then have a conversational merit at least comparable to the desert texts. Great idea yeah? You can thank me later ;)

    I think my meaning here was clear and needs no expansion. As you can see.... I just do not see any benefit in continuing to invest in any way in such tenuously relevant texts. They are a part of the problem and the past, not the cure nor the future. Or so I hope.
     
  2. TealLeaf

    TealLeaf Soul Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
    In my humble opinion this is quite a bit of an over statement. I hardly think that the quantum nature of the Universe is "plainly and clearly observable". In fact in this regard I would say that are minds are structured such as to make this aspect of the nature of the Universe hard to fathom even when it is observed. Microscopic aspects of the Universe aside there are also truths of life that emerge out of complex dynamics that most people would definitely not characterize as plainly and clearly observable. This is especially true in the case of evolutionary biology as applied to the social science.

    Never say never.

    I think you're right we should focus on inculcating the truth and avoid unnecessary superstition. However in my experience some superstitions aren't necessarily a bad thing. Specifically I am thinking about the concept of an afterlife (e.g. reincarnation, heaven and hell, etc.) On a very base level I find that belief in a just afterlife can get people to behave less criminally than they would otherwise. Also belief in an afterlife can help us deal better with feelings of loss that might otherwise manifest themselves in negative ways such as depression and thoughts of revenge.

    Looked at from a practical standpoint many of the things that seem like superstition in old religious books can be seen as metaphors and analogies that bear actual or real knowledge. Just as one could look at the story of Noah's arc to be not so much about animals but about people one could look at the after life to be not so much about one's own self but about one's legacy and thus one's kin and kind. To speak the whole reality of these things outright to all people would probably generally cause more harm than good in terms of causing people to compete with each other in an overall degrading manner.

    Much of what old religions deal with in terms metaphor seems to me to have to do with some of the harsher aspects of evolutionary biology as applied to human beings which is often exactly why it is shrouded in metaphor.

    One can look shallowly at the theory of evolution and take from it that our goal should be individually defined in that we want to have as many children as possible and invest in each one of them as much as possible with no qualms of doing any of this at the expense others as much as we can get away with it. On the other hand one can look more deeply at human evolution with a consideration for inclusive fitness and realize that in general what is good for the goose must also be good for the gander. Unfortunately however the concept of inclusive fitness involves calculus that many people cannot understand.

    Writing a religion seems to me to be very much a game of percentages. What percentage of people can handle the whole truth on a given subject and how can we get that information to them without corrupting those who cannot understand or handle it. Also there is the notion of inculcation. How much to we inculcate or repeat one concept versus another such that in the majority of people's minds we are generally focused on the things that are good for us as a whole.

    All that being said it seems clear to me that due to advances in human culture and especially in science religion needs to be more transparent that is less metaphorical than ever before lest it is regarded as a bunch of nonsense and discarded but too many of humanities brightest individuals. Even in regards to what is inculcated it seems that there good cause to make adjustments here. One only needs to look at the Middle East to see that with the advent of modern weaponry and warfare the inculcation of violence in the Koran and Old Testament is too much. I would also say that in terms of diet that it would serve the gander well to inculcate our new scientific knowledge of nutrition in the voice of authoritative wisdom. Even if that authority is only the authority of the Gander and not God it will be better received and implemented nonetheless than if it is inculcated in purely secular arenas.

    PS - Hopefully, I didn't bite off too much to talk about here. If there are grammatical or style errors bear with me I will re-read and correct this rant over the next day or two.
     
  3. atypican

    atypican New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    "First, with an apology for not doing so first post, may I bid you warm welcome to this forum :)"

    Thanks. I am here to debate or otherwise contrast my ideas against other's.

    "This is at least the third time here I have seen this phrase used in this context."

    I am sorry for using that metaphor. Especially since you appear to not have understood it the way I meant it. I argue that there are religious traditions that have been, and continue to be of great value. The critical thinker will criticize their inheritance as opposed to condemning it.

    "Humanity is no longer a baby. Or need not be. The time of being content with goo-goo's and gaa-gaa's has surely past."

    Whatever that means....?

    "In light of the radical changes that have expanded human knowledge in the last two centuries, and the exponential growth that has marked that trend being set to continue, our collective whole has to reach a new consensus."

    I agree with the spirit of what you typed there. I am compelled however to comment about how worship need not involve a deity or a book to cause some rather profound problems.

    "Hanging on the word of a collection of factious desert leaders and renegades lost in the mists of time is no longer good enough in my opinion. There never was a baby in the bathtub."

    You are arguing with me as if I was a Bible worshiper or even one to favor Abrahamic religious institutions. I am neither, however that is not to say I find the traditions unworthy of moderate respect and honor.

    "What on Earth is a sacred text?"

    Something you would encourage your kids to read.

    "What causes more faction than this need of people to self appoint themselves to (a) define sacred and (b) have it defined as some personal redefinition?"

    Is there something wrong with faction? I am aware that you consider it imperative that we "reach a new consensus" but I am confident that you have your own particular brand of intolerance as well.

    I don't see anything wrong with defining sacred or religion for that matter in non-theistic terms.

    "Seems like navel gazing to me, with a borrowed, ancient and withered navel."

    Cute! Comparing texts to navels. I think our textual tradition is rich. Now I am not one to dwell on ancient texts to the exclusion of the modern, but I am inspired by symbolic language's ever improving usefulness for establishing and working out non-worshiping identities and value systems.

    "To what benefit though? If these texts have any benefit at all they are as a model for a collective morality."

    Thats it? good thing I don't overvalue (worship) your opinion.

    "But in religious texts"

    Which ones?

    "that message is confused and biased"

    I wonder if any message of could be articulated that wouldn't be confusing to some. I think trying to be unbiased is an unrealistic aim.

    "by countless contradictions and narratives that render it too corrupted to be fit for purpose."

    You offer criticism but no alternative. I am interested in discussing what we should do if we are dissatisfied with our collection.

    "We do not need religion to teach us to love and think beyond our personal desires."

    We do not NEED text to communicate either, it just helps us do it better.

    "All other content has about as much meaning today as any badly written, otherwise unpublishable novel."

    I see that, like the traditions you profess opposition to, that you are a fan of overly broad sweeping generalizations.

    "Should we construct temples to worship every ancient writing?"

    I am not an advocate of worship.

    "You could join a scrabble club! Make note of every word in your games and fit them into verses!! They would then have a conversational merit at least comparable to the desert texts. Great idea yeah? You can thank me later ;)"

    The idea is not appealing enough to me, but I won't condemn the idea. I suspect that playing scrabble would spawn some interesting conversations.

    "I think my meaning here was clear and needs no expansion."

    But I just jumped right in and interjected anyway. :)

    "As you can see.... I just do not see any benefit in continuing to invest in any way in such tenuously relevant texts. They are a part of the problem and the past, not the cure nor the future. Or so I hope."

    Then invest your effort towards texts you do consider relevant (which is what I typed about). Just remember that you cannot escape the influence of a prevailing ideology.


    regards
    atypican
     
  4. atypican

    atypican New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    So TealLeaf, you think some superstitions are necessary? Wow.

    You especially call to attention religious "afterlife" teachings, saying that people who believe them are more likely to be better behaved. Also that grief can be better managed by way of these "beneficial superstitions" I am inclined to believe differently.

    For example, if I truly believed such teachings I don't think I would concern myself as much with *this* life. I think superstitious afterlife beliefs have the effect of devaluing the only life we are certain exists.

    As to superstitions being helpful in dealing with loss I suspect that their may be some truth to that. My suspicion though, is not strong enough for me to do any inculcating.

    That I reserve for only my strong convictions.

    "Looked at from a practical standpoint many of the things that seem like superstition in old religious books can be seen as metaphors and analogies that bear actual or real knowledge."

    I make a distinction between stories (fiction or non-fiction status being irrelevant) meant to convey concepts, and superstitions. The problem I see is when collections of such stories are widely regarded as absolutely authoritative and perfect.

    "Just as one could look at the story of Noah's arc to be not so much about animals but about people one could look at the after life to be not so much about one's own self but about one's legacy and thus one's kin and kind."

    This freedom of interpretation you allude to is something I consider a vital component to the healthy development of religious belief and maturing past superstitions. I see the roadblock as being worship or unthinking respect for authority.

    "To speak the whole reality of these things outright to all people would probably generally cause more harm than good in terms of causing people to compete with each other in an overall degrading manner."

    How did you come to believe that?

    "Much of what old religions deal with in terms metaphor seems to me to have to do with some of the harsher aspects of evolutionary biology as applied to human beings which is often exactly why it is shrouded in metaphor."

    Even If these things were presented in as plainspoken a manner as possible, I doubt that people who are "not ready for it" would suffer unless they are given information that they didn't request. Anyone who is curious about the matter is in my opinion ready.

    The rub for me is that these matters are generally not left alone to wait for a students curiosity but instead are indoctrinated into them at a very early age before critical thinking skills are developed.

    "One can look shallowly at the theory of evolution and take from it that our goal should be individually defined in that we want to have as many children as possible and invest in each one of them as much as possible with no qualms of doing any of this at the expense others as much as we can get away with it. On the other hand one can look more deeply at human evolution with a consideration for inclusive fitness and realize that in general what is good for the goose must also be good for the gander. Unfortunately however the concept of inclusive fitness involves calculus that many people cannot understand."

    I don't think the concept is anywhere near as hard to explain as calculus. If we are unconcerned for the welfare of others, we establish a precedent that will reach back to us. A child can understand the why of the golden rule.

    "Writing a religion seems to me to be very much a game of percentages. What percentage of people can handle the whole truth on a given subject and how can we get that information to them without corrupting those who cannot understand or handle it."

    Again, (i am inculcating here LOL) I think the thing that causes the sort of corruption you refer to is when the information is presented regardless of whether the student is inquisitive about it or not.

    "Also there is the notion of inculcation. How much to we inculcate or repeat one concept versus another such that in the majority of people's minds we are generally focused on the things that are good for us as a whole."

    An important question. I agree

    "All that being said it seems clear to me that due to advances in human culture and especially in science religion needs to be more transparent that is less metaphorical than ever before lest it is regarded as a bunch of nonsense and discarded but too many of humanities brightest individuals."

    I am with you there

    "Even in regards to what is inculcated it seems that there good cause to make adjustments here. One only needs to look at the Middle East to see that with the advent of modern weaponry and warfare the inculcation of violence in the Koran and Old Testament is too much."

    Any inculcation of violence is too much.

    "I would also say that in terms of diet that it would serve the gander well to inculcate our new scientific knowledge of nutrition in the voice of authoritative wisdom. Even if that authority is only the authority of the Gander and not God it will be better received and implemented nonetheless than if it is inculcated in purely secular arenas."

    Yes. I think religious groups need to reevaluate. Stop claiming possession of perfect truth. Be more honest about things we wish we understood better.

    "PS - Hopefully, I didn't bite off too much to talk about here. If there are grammatical or style errors bear with me I will re-read and correct this rant over the next day or two."

    Thought provoking post there TeaLeaf..............Thanks

    atypican
     
  5. TealLeaf

    TealLeaf Soul Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
    Unfortunately this forum doesn't allow you to correct your typos and such more than minutes after you wrote it :(

    Balancing the interests of clarity and non-redundancy I am posting a corrected version of my last two paragraphs below;

    Writing a religion seems to me to be very much a game of percentages. What percentage of people can handle the whole truth on a given subject and how can we get that information to them without corrupting those who cannot handle it? Also there is the notion of inculcation. How much do we inculcate or repeat one concept versus another such that in the majority of people's minds we are generally focused on the things that are good for us as a whole.

    All that being said it seems clear to me that due to advances in human culture, and especially in science, religion needs to be more transparent. That religion needs to be less cryptically metaphorical than ever before lest it is regarded as a bunch of nonsense and discarded by too many of humanities brightest individuals. Even in regards to what is inculcated in religion it seems that there good cause to make adjustments here as well. One only needs to look at the Middle East to see that with the advent of modern weaponry and warfare the inculcation of violence in the Koran and Old Testament is way overdone. I would also say that in terms of diet and medicine that it would serve the gander well to inculcate our new scientific knowledge of nutrition and well being in the voice of authoritative wisdom. I believe that even if that authority is only the authority of a Gander and not God it will be better received and implemented nonetheless than if it is inculcated in purely secular arenas.
     
  6. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    8
    Apologies, atypican - your post got caught in the anti-spam filter - now released. :)
     
  7. TealLeaf

    TealLeaf Soul Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
    Any thoughts on the rationing of truths through the use of metaphor in religion or on the appropriate amount of inculcation as mentioned just recently in this thread?
     
  8. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,525
    Likes Received:
    0
    cultural concepts, religious, secular, political, sexual etc, extremely hard to dislodge [give me a child...] but not impossible with good education, which is not inculcation or indoctrination, but a drawing out of each potential intellect within a child to achieve a critical understanding of self and others.

    but what educational system provides such objective and unbiased principles?

    though both athiests and theists can converge in advocating now more or less universally accepted moral values advantageous to humankind and the environment, the sticking point will be issues of power, authority and an exclusive attitude previously religious and now politically, nationally.

    not contemplating a one world government though!

    think that religious leaders should have humility at the top of their agenda and promote interfaith dialogue with assistance from all governments; though maybe we do want to be different rather than similar?
     
  9. Dream

    Dream New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,677
    Likes Received:
    1
    Its cool to try and understand religion but you don't want to start writing religions. What you want is just to get along with other people. As for the fabled Illuminati, they probably don't exist.

    Thoughts of rationing truth through the use of metaphor? Metaphor is intended to be enriching, like the story of Paul Bunyan. Like if I tell a joke, I want you to get the joke but sometimes not right away. Yes, it can be misused. Would you ration truth?
     
  10. TealLeaf

    TealLeaf Soul Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think that I do ration truth with people quite frequently as part of my daily life. I even do this with people that I love like my parents and my children. There are certain realities that it just won't benefit them to learn about. In fact quite the opposite awareness of some realities can actually be harmful to them.

    As for writing a religion I would be inclined to reveal all truths and then inculcate explanation to mitigate the effects of, for lack of a better word, more harmful truths thus creating a healthy and effective mindset in individuals and within the collective consciousness.
     
  11. Dream

    Dream New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,677
    Likes Received:
    1
    I honestly, do not believe that such a thing is possible. The combination of traits necessary for you to do what you are talking about probably could not exist within a person. I cannot list the religion starters (and don't want to name them) all from the top of my head, but those who start religions are crazy at the end if not from the beginning. Personal observation. Just talking about this is a little bit unbalancing. Its ridiculous.
     
  12. TealLeaf

    TealLeaf Soul Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't agree with your characterization that all "religion starters" were "crazy".

    If this topic of conversation is effecting you that negatively perhaps you shouldn't partake in it. You shouldn't feel compelled to discuss something that upsets you to that degree. There are plenty of other sub-forums and threads to participate in.
     

Share This Page