"Religion" is a form of cultural identity. It is, like the Law, Architecture, Table manners, Arts, Literature, Fashion and Scientific Method a formalization of the way a culture expresses itself. Religion is one facet of that expression.
The difficulty in a rapidly diminishing world of ever increasing populations which are mixing is that the types of cultural identifyers that sustained us in the past may be no-longer applicable. Where there are steadfastly beligerent groups seeking to maintain that cultural identity then we will see expressions of 'religion' in one form or another and to varying degrees of purpose.
Clearly, 'religion' is of great assistance to various members of the community and particularly those on the edge of that community.
The confusion about 'religion' as such, is that it seems to some members of the community to be a form of Divine communication. Some Religions might involve this, but Religion of itself is a cultural identifier.
At this time in our cultural development, we need to seek to she the aspects of our selves that are merely superstitious and based merely upon "belief" rather than understanding, just as (many of us) have out-grown Father Christmas.
For many people, "religion" appears to be inextricably bound up with a belief in God and his Words and commands. I think we have out-grown all of that and can seek to rely upon our own integrity and awareness - something, perhaps, approaching a Buddhist way of life, I suppose (although I am not a Buddist...).
The blatant present-day manifestation of "Religion" represents brutality and intollerance on a terrifying scale where horrific and bizzare minds seek to control others due to absurd and ancient prophesy. Like Daniel Dennett, I believe such groups need to be quarantined. This is not to say, though, that the beauty of 16th Century Motets, for example, need not be appreciated even though they were made as a Religious devotion.
Perhaps we need to get focused like a sun ray hitting a magnifying glass. With modern day distractions tempered by old time religion, we bounce from work-to-sleep-to-food-to-church like hapless frogs leaping from lily pad to lily pad on an endless lake.
We have always needed the basics: food, water, shelter, community, warmth from the cold. This has never changed. But, we yearn for more. What lies beyond the shore of the lake? How do the eagles fly across the lake and how do the fish swim in the depths? Why does any of this happen?
In this fleeting moment of time we choose...to do good or bad or nothing at all. How do you feel about your actions? Can you change? Can you improve?
Of course, the 'realists' will argue that we are confined on this planet/island and must abide by the rules of survival of the fittest. Must make money to buy food and shelter. Must mate and perpetuate. Must root for your team because your team is better than their team. No chance for growth or enlightenment - why waste your time, foolish frog.
The path to enlightenment may be overgrown and difficult to find, but don't be afraid to take the first step. Fleeting or no, passing to and fro, into the void you go. Happy trails!
Logic would tell you that an Aboriginal Austrailian living in the desert who has never known Christian thought or dogma, could be just as 'religious' as the pope. Just like perception tells your eyes that the color on the leaf of the bush is green, because you were told this when you were young, religion tends to be believed because that is what you were told.
Now, you wake up. You have experience. You have seen goodness and you have experienced hate. What is at the core of religion? Why has religion persisted since the first cavewomen looked up at the cosmos and perclaimed: I cannot be, without something else that made me. Chicken or the egg?
You struggle. You stomp your feet when your mad. Nothing changes, but everything remains the same. plu sa shazh, plu say la mem shoz. If God is eternal, then you must be eternal too. If God does not exist, then you only exist for a mind's eye. Do you really think that your dog Salbo is alive for 12 years, dies, and turns to dust? Did Salbo think while she was running across the prairie? Do her thoughts matter? What about the crummy little rose bush in your front yard? Did the rose bush wake up, start drinking water droplets from the moist coastal air, plant its roots, flower for 25 years, then perish in a final sunset as the T-cells progenerating its life were finally exhausted?
And please tell me why the blue dodge rambler that your parents drove to the drive-in has any pertinence to your current situation?
So, it would appear that you believe in a Creator? or am I misreading it? We create our own realities and life is an illusion. I see no reason to project a modern proposition as to what aboriginies or the first cave man might have thought. We don't know. Our own awe at the sight of such vistas as the Cosmos is extremely couloured by the fact that we believe we have 'tamed' nature - we do see it as benign yet there is no reason to suppose that ancient consciousness would have perceived it in any particular way at all.
If, as I suppose, the universe is all of the same 'fabric' (and I use that word guardedly and simply to imply a textured unity not unlike a woven fabric - and, also being aware that the word etymologically imples creation and I do not wish to have that implied here) then our consciousness is related and is, actually, making the universe as we perceive it, for consciousness must be seen as a Dimension along with space and time... That the Universe may be conscious and we all being part of that does not imply a God or a creator. Our energy is all part of one field of vibrations (perhaps that is a better way of describing it that "fabric", but "fabric" I think is easier...
For present day purposes and concepts, "Religion" is a cultural identifyer and has little to do with the mystical. As such, I do not and cannot admit Religion as a meaningful and presently positive addition to a contemplation of the Human Condition. It is a cultural identifyer and in that it is similar to the Architectural forms of a society; the Laws and Music of a society and the Language of a society. Religion emanates from the mutitude of people living together; that it purports to contemplate the holy and the mystical is entirely incidental.
Nicely stated. I like your musical inneundo about the entire interelationships we share with.....everything we perceive. And yes, going back in time to the first organism that swam in the ancestral oceans and who had the first awareness/perception of the world and cosmo doesn't have any impact on the 'now'. I would state, however, that we do not understand time - as we see it as an arrow always flying forward. Perhaps one day we will overcome this neandethral perception too. Perhaps one day we will equate religion with that of a person's favorite color?
Absolutely Tim, I think that it is such a mistake to see "time" as one dimentional or as a one-way event, usually propunded in the political sense as 'progress' and that our Time , being the latest (why I don't know...) is therefore, by the present paradigm definition, the most advanced and positive... Perhaps earl;y man and even earlier life forms had a more conbstructive or sympathetic relation with all of the rst of the world.
As to music (I was a musician - composer - once...) I do find interestic parallels between harmony or harmonizations and a general principal I am trying to formulate concerning how enerly itself operates. I see all of the universe as vibrations , and complexes thereof, just as harmonic proceses work, so too, other manifestations - perhaps everything is fractal in nature and all based upon some very simple and elegant fundamental...
I hope we keep in touch.
Chaos theory? Very interesting. In that regard, humans are an order within chaos that has manifested into what we are now. Ultimately, I believe we (humans) will outgrow our current pettiness and start really thinking. As the U.S.A. fully develops into a police-surveillance-industrial-military-political-corporate bank/state complex, I believe there will be mutations that will come forth and in a survival of the fittest mode, we will develop telepathy - to overcome the complex and move beyond the complex. A blue butterfly will flap its wings in Australia, and a child will be born in the U.S.A. that can read thoughts. No camera will be able to capture that on film.
My point about religion, having been raised under the jack boot of Catholicism, is that as a construct of perception we have invented this social medium to beg for forgiveness about our daily atrocitities that we continue to take part in with every other living thing on this planet. And I have always been bothered by the fact that while we are running around shooting at other humans for not believing in Big Oil, there are mice and mosquitos and marmots and moths and milk weed that simply want to exist. Drink clean water processed naturally. Breath clean air processed naturally. Eat food processed naturally. And, according to religion, all of those wonderful life forms simply blink into, and then out, of existence as if they were props in a movie. No heaven (or hell) for them. Nope. They just live, breath, breed, and die.
That's why I think the Buddists are on to something, conceptually. We are all One. Interconnected. Interdependent. Personnally, I think religion is a form of population control. Why do we fight over belief systems? Well, those who collect in a religious sect and find that they control the land under their feet ("the U.S.A. is a Christian founded nation" as some believe), feel the right to guard that dirt and kill those who step on that dirt. Haven't really gotten that far since caveman times, have we? Same water hole: same battle over water. More effective clubs, however, so we have progressed in that regard.
Isn’t this the case that all the great religions of the world are trying to answer all the great questions of life and provide the best solutions to the problems and challenges we experience? As I see things, they each offer some element of truth and value to mankind but none at this stage have succeeded in their goals. If any of the great religions had succeeded in their goals and served mankind well then I say we would not be in the predicament we are in today. Super-consciousness, integral “transpersonal” cosmic consciousness has been experienced by rare individuals and small groups for millennia, but never on a global scale, never to the extent that we need to experience if we are to avert a global catastrophe, as Dr Ervin Laszlo and others point out. I welcome all efforts at fostering global spiritual awakening, whether of this religious persuasion or another. But I would argue that some religious/spiritual insights and contributions are helping more than others. As I see things, some religious people or groups are as much a part of the problem as they are part of the solution. I would also go as far as saying that they are very rare, visionary individuals who adopted and perfected this quantum consciousness we talk about and were thus able to look into their future, were able to predict the coming crisis we are confronting today, and provided the solution to the crisis in advance. I would say those rare visionary individuals in the past who did that deserve our respect and attention. So the question to ask is this – which rare visionary individuals of the past were able to correctly foresee the problems we face and provide the solution?