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Religion

 
  

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All Acting Regiment
19:53 / 04.06.03
This is my first post.

I've been thinking recently about religion. It seems a terrible shame that no one can agree on it. I'm an aetheist, but if people want to join a group of some kind with some common interest which gives them strength, I say good for them.

However, one thing that I've noticed is that people seem to push their religions on other people. I think this is bad. What do you think?
 
 
We're The Great Old Ones Now
20:12 / 04.06.03
I'm curious as to how, as an atheist, you back up the term 'wrong'. One of the most useful things about religion is that it gives you a backbone for moral discussion.

That is, of course, one of the reasons why people seek to push their religions on others...

Another thought: atheism is a curious position. It behaves like a theology - you assert the non-existence of any God, yet you cannot possibly have evidence to support the assertion. All you can do is point to the contentious evidence for the existence of God, and observe that it is unsatisfactory.

Isn't agnosticism a more reasonable view?
 
 
Jack Fear
20:25 / 04.06.03
Well, I don't disagree.

But the thing about religion is that (a) it encourages the faithful to love all people, and (b) it tends to be based on a worldview that divides people into the Saved and the Unsaved—that is, those who will enjoy the rewards of Heaven, and those who will suffer the torments of the Other Place.

The logic, given these two premises, is easy to follow: if I, Jack, love you, Chris—as my religion implores me to do—then I desire a good outcome for you. Obviously, your spending eternity writhing in flames is not a good outcome: therefore, I am compelled to try to get you to join the ranks of the Saved.

It's the same logic that would lead you to intervene with a friend who, say, had a drug problem: he's made a self-destructive lifestyle choice, and he needs your help. The two situations are absolutely equivalent, in the eyes of the person seeking to convert another to his religion.

And let's face it, most religions, at their simplest level—that is, the folk version of the religion, as practiced by the common people rather than by professional theologians—have built into them the notion of exclusivity (i.e., that Religion X is the one and only true path to salvation).

What sort of atheist are you, Chris? (There's all kinds, y'know.) Have you studied different religions and rejected them on their individual merits? Have you never had much use for religion? Do you know much about any faiths, or is this all terra incognita to you? Are folks in your social/family circle generally religious? Is your atheism rebellious? Scandalous? Accepted? Expected?
 
 
All Acting Regiment
20:41 / 04.06.03
Those are both interesting points. My response is:

I beleive that "wrong" is something that could possibly hurt someone. I like the idea of a contiued evolution of the species.

I think that everyone thinking the same thing is wrong (for me) because those in power who decide what is beleived often are in it for their own good and end up hurting people.

I beleive in the "big plate of gumbo soup" world view as opposed to the "preacarious pile of crackers with those nearer the top having more butter than those at the bottom" world view.

I thank you, Jack, for your affection- I love you, and everyone else, because we are all human. I would not wish to assert my realities onto you.

I mean personal atheism. Things may be different for you than they are to me. This is good. I respect your views. i even respect the views which are forced on me but it doesn't mean i have to beleive them.
 
 
—| x |—
23:08 / 04.06.03
I think that Nick makes an interesting point about atheism being itself an essentially religious view--"behaving like a theology." As well, taking an agnostic stance is also equally a sort of theology or a stance towards the possibility of religion. I think that this is echoing Jung's thoughts that there is a religious dimension to humans that is as essential to their existence as, say, the "herd instinct" is.
 
 
grant
23:17 / 04.06.03
Hey, if it makes you feel good, and it's basically about being nice, then you wanna share.

Pity it so often translates into sanctimonious twerps awkwardly going door to door.
 
 
All Acting Regiment
20:58 / 05.06.03
This is what i'm getting at. Can i remind everyone of jungs theory of syncronicity whereby everything is related? So everyuthing "fits", sort of.
 
 
Lurid Archive
23:25 / 05.06.03
I'm curious as to how, as an atheist, you back up the term 'wrong'. One of the most useful things about religion is that it gives you a backbone for moral discussion. - Nick

There are lots of ways an atheist can construct a morality, surely. There are even good reasons to suppose that some basic morality is "natural" (though I realise that this will be argued down pretty hard). Cheating, murder, stealing tend to be regarded as wrong by most people and there are good evolutionary reasons to suppose humans have some morality. That said, I wouldn't base my morality on "naturality" unless I were to call it "self evident" and bring it in by the back door. There are lots of other ways to imagine morality, however.


Another thought: atheism is a curious position. It behaves like a theology - you assert the non-existence of any God, yet you cannot possibly have evidence to support the assertion. All you can do is point to the contentious evidence for the existence of God, and observe that it is unsatisfactory.

There is a difference between weak atheism (which is closer to agnosticism) and strong atheism. The former is closer to agnosticism and, in some sense, makes a distinction between a disbelief and a denial.

Also, it is worth noting that we generally have no problem in asserting the non-existence of things for which we have no evidence. You've heard it before, no doubt, but most of us wouldn't describe ourselves as undecided on the question of existence of invisible pink unicorns, despite our lack of evidence.
 
 
We're The Great Old Ones Now
23:48 / 05.06.03
Well, yes (by the way, how can an invisible object be pink?) except that no one makes a philosophical position out of the non-existence of pink invisible unicorns. No one goes out of their way to assert their presencem either, so it's sort of null.

On the other hand, people do assert the presence of God.

I'm now seriously considering a cult of the invisible pink unicorn just to validate your point. But if I did, and then someone denied their existence, and someone else asserted it, would that prove mine?

Disaster...
 
 
Strange Machine Vs The Virus with Shoes
00:55 / 06.06.03
I have absolutely no religious tolerance whatsoever. Christianity, Islam they all want you to respect their slavery. They lack independent thinking processes. If morality is based on thought out principals or even common unity and collective development then I can accept this. But religion seems so much like selfish saviourism, so what if you’re kind to others! It’s only to “save” yourselves, to look better in the eyes of god. In the modern society of control, religion is as redundant as ever. But don’t worry, god has left his mark, the cameras keep an omnipotent gaze on us all. To sum up, religion can be slave ideology, just because your slave masters are less powerful than those of corporation capitalism doesn’t mean you can claim any special treatment.
 
 
Seth
01:26 / 06.06.03
Panarchy: I agree that religion sometimes seems to be controlling for the individual. Is that always the case, though? Can you think of any aspects of religion that you broadly agree with? Do you agree that terms such as *religion,* *Christianity* and *Islam* are all fairly enormous generalisations in themselves?
 
 
Strange Machine Vs The Virus with Shoes
02:29 / 06.06.03
Reflect, my main objection is to why religion needs special privileges? Why should it be exempt from everyday human life? The christian religion has appropriated many aspects of pagan religion. Christianity itself is divided between catholic and protestant viewpoints. Personally I believe in the maxim of “it is not what you say but what you do” that counts. This phrase discounts most religious doctrine as it preaches one thing while practicing another. I don’t know much about Islamic religion but I do know that I would not want me and my wife to live in an Islamic state, or a Christian one for that matter. I personally see religion as an infestation of society, which is hopefully diminishing. Religion seems to operate via a system of threats implicitly or explicitly. And while it can be argued that the society of control does the same, there is no need for two masters. Or two forces to fight.
 
 
nowthink
04:12 / 06.06.03
Religion is useful for those who seek discipline and order in life.
It is a system of control and therefore if one is 'out of control'
you might say they're 'losing their religion.'
of course-it has even more to do with routine ergo the term:
'doing something religiously'.
Ultimately religion can only help the person seeking it-as god does not and will not force anyone towards worship, but reward those who do.
 
 
Quantum
11:05 / 06.06.03
Religion fulfils an essential social role- as someone once said "If God did not exist we would have to invent him"

It also does a lot of good- free medicine, homeless shelters, grief counselling, think of mother theresa for a minute. Even if shes misguided and a horrible person, she's responsible for helping loads of people.

Religion used to be the opiate of the masses, now TV is the opiate of the masses. It could be argued that the decline in people going to church and the rise in the amount of TV people watch are related.

So it comes down to this- if Religion goes away, what will replace it? Will it be better? I personally don't think so.
 
 
Lurid Archive
11:07 / 06.06.03
Well, yes (by the way, how can an invisible object be pink?)

Its mysterious, innit.

except that no one makes a philosophical position out of the non-existence of pink invisible unicorns. No one goes out of their way to assert their presencem either, so it's sort of null.

On the other hand, people do assert the presence of God.


This is a fair argument. The first point is a very good one and is why atheists often say that they have the default position. Suppose that you do start a cult of the invisible pink unicorn. Does my position of non-belief (in pink unicorns) now become a stronger assertion than before? I don't think so. To an atheist, existence needs more than assertion.

Moreover, I'd say that although popularity is justification for attention, it doesn't serve to underpin an argument for existence. Trends, even historically supported ones, cannot be the basis of an argument to my mind. (Of course, I am applying a loose epistemology here, though I'd claim it is a fairly reasonable one when examined outside of contentious issues like religion.)

On the other hand, the question of why so many people are religious demands an explanation (and I have my own atheistic position on this), but it is a different question.
 
 
Lurid Archive
11:22 / 06.06.03
I have absolutely no religious tolerance whatsoever. Christianity, Islam they all want you to respect their slavery. - Panarchy

I know where you are coming from, but what is the point in mirroring the thing you object to? Religions and religious people have done lots of good as well as harm, just as in any human activity. (Arguing that the balance is one way or the other is probably a waste of time, IMO.) However, I would say that the worst aspects of religion are intolerance, if and when they arise. Surely you want a position that is better than that?
 
 
Seth
11:46 / 06.06.03
Panarchy: Do you think that the individual's personal spiritual path is also a system of control (even if it unique to them, arrived at through their own work and research)? Or do you think that the controlling starts when a group of people latch on to a system and make it rigid and dogmatic? Does the control start with the personal experiences, the system or the people?
 
 
Strange Machine Vs The Virus with Shoes
12:33 / 06.06.03
Your right Lurid, it’s not like I am actively intolerant of religion. I give the subject little thought unless it is raised, at which point my heckles raise and the red mist descends. I don’t really have any problem with people worshiping religion. I think that there is a distinction between good religious practice and bad religious practice. I also think that the less power a religion has, the better, more benign it is. I would say that Christianity is becoming more benign as it is being removed from the functioning of the state (in Europe anyway). A fundamentalist religious order devoted to controlling the state is extremely dangerous in my view, as is the possibility of having a head of state that has an apocalyptic view of the world and a belief that the world is divided into good and evil people. The moderate Christian democratic party in Germany seemed relatively benign, it will be interesting to see if the moderate Islamic party in power in Turkey is equally so. But I disagree that religion has a monopoly on goodness or morality.

As for control, religion can be used as a form of personal control. Religion played a part in the system of control by punishment; the industrial state/factory system formed the basis of disciplinary control in the modernist age. Religion is a very poor form of control given choice to remove oneself from it. From a Foucualtian perspective the industrial state forms a sense of enclosure that is very difficult to extricate oneself from. Gilles Deleuze posits that the next form of control will be based on corporate principles of continual assessment. Unless there is a new dark age where knowledge and ideology is wiped out other than religious ideology, a large scale social structure based on religious principles will cease to exist. Islamic societies seem particularly volatile, especially from outside influences. As people may be becomeing more similar to pieces of technology, this form of social organisation may proliferate just as forms of technology proliferate society. If you take this view then religion seems redundant other than maybe a way for people to have a sense of “meaning” in there lives enabling them to function more effectively.
 
 
Quantum
12:58 / 06.06.03
I think there should be a distinction drawn between 'Religion' and 'The Church' if you see what I mean. I am pro-religion (I think everyone should follow a spiritual path of some sort) but anti-church (an institution of control that twists the message of the enlightened person who started the religion).
For example I think Jesus was incredible and agree with his message (love people etc) but don't agree with (for example) the Jehovah's Witnesses, a church based on his teachings (AFAIK). Ditto Mohamed, Siddartha etc. etc. listen to what they said, not what others say about them.
 
 
ONLY NICE THINGS
12:59 / 06.06.03
Can i remind everyone of jungs theory of syncronicity whereby everything is related?

Well, you can..... but I for one am just going to look confused. Are we talking about archetypal symbology? Is that a refutation of a single religion or an argument against evangelism?
 
 
—| x |—
11:15 / 07.06.03
Well Haus, I felt that Chris was playing the concept of synchronicity off grant’s “…it makes you feel good, and it's basically about being nice…” and perhaps not so much in answer to the ‘if…then…&’ part of grant’s post—perhaps that’s an odd way to read it? I guess I can’t really speak for Chris though, but that’s how I read it anyway…
 
 
Dances with Gophers
02:13 / 08.06.03
Religion something I've given a lot of thought to over the years and here are some of the things I'd like to throw into the discussion.

Firstly there is a subtle divide between spirituality and religion, I'm trying to think of how to explain this. Religion has a spiritual element but it also has an embedded political system or a template for society. If you look at the various parts of religions in there original contexts. For instance the Islamic ban on alcohol, if you spend your life in a hot desert environment where the next water hole is days away, alcohol is a bad idea.
Could it be that religion isn't so important today because Parliament and lawyers have taken over that role?

Morals, these are not static they differ between societies and generations. Some cultures it is perfectly ok to walk around half naked, to some having your head uncovered is immoral. A couple of centuries ago bear baiting was seen as ok, now it's immoral. Some morals stem from religous dogma, some from societies current view of whats right or wrong, some from plain common sense. (btw I'm not an advocate of bear baiting).

I can see how religion does help in charity work, but I think it's a sad reflection on society if they are only charitable to win brownie points. But I also think there will always be the Dr Barnardos and Mother Theresas, with or with out religion.

You don't need to follow a religion to be a moral person or to lead a spiritual life. You can read the Bible, the Koran, Torah or the Mabinogion and make of it what you will. Personally I go with what feels right. I wonder if this is what Alistair Crowley meant by "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of law." I'd like to think so!
 
 
alas
03:41 / 09.06.03
there's a kind of salad bar approach to religion that i am sometimes wary of adopting--a little i ching, a little buddha, a little christ . . . I do read all of those, but there's something consumerist, mall-like about browsing the major religions and picking what works--something that lacks pain and time and alienation and misery. but that may be my own religious masochistic background looking for another sadistic system to tie me up and whip me with a cat o nine tails...
 
 
SMS
20:44 / 09.06.03
I would like to address the matter about religious love, and, I guess, good deeds, being just an act to please God and get some reward out of it. A number of folks in my church don't care for the idea, because it seems too much like goodness through bribery.

I think that I do get something out of good deeds or love or sacrifice or whatever it is. I would not do any of that if I didn't think there was some value in it. The benefits are tangled together: love brings us closer to God, makes us more spiritually enlightened, and has inherent value.

If it were a business-like transaction---you help 300 people in big ways in your life and you can get a seat in heaven, you help 500 and you can get the really good seats---I would find this distasteful as well. It never is that simple, though. Even Muslims who believe that two angels with log books are keeping track of your every act and then weigh it on a big scale when you die have more complexity in their religious morality than that.
 
 
Scrambled Password Bogus Email
23:51 / 09.06.03
This is a great forum to while away the hours on discussing this sort of thing...Taking nothing away from Barbelith, which is also a lovely big huggle of a forum

There are some truly devoted God-botherers with many hours of spare time and an Apologetics Encyclopaedia to hand arguing the toss with some Logic and Philosophy professors all over the place.

Be sure to have a wall nearby for banging your head against.
 
 
Scrambled Password Bogus Email
23:56 / 09.06.03
Sorry, that link was duff...This one should work though
 
 
Mirror
02:07 / 11.06.03
I used to be an atheist. A staunch, rather argumentative one at that. Then I did a whole bunch of acid.

All silliness aside, the places that religions hold in our respective psyches are largely dependent upon our experiences and perceptions of the world. It wasn't until experimenting with drugs that I came to realize how precarious my perceptions are. Just because my default observational state doesn't indicate that there's anything supernatural going on doesn't mean I'm correct. I'm only correct insofar as my observations are reliable.

That being said, it's not like I'm at all religious now. I think that my current state is formally called strong agnosticism - I don't believe that objective truth is knowable, and I'm not at all certain that it even exists. Heisenberg supports me on this one, I think - the act of observing alters the observed.

In a practical sense, these beliefs make things very simple because they legitimize acting as if my perceptions are correct, and altering my actions as my perceptions change. I perceive that universal kindness provides the maximum goodness for the maximum number of people, so I try and follow that idea. I've been reading a lot about Buddhism recently and it seems like a great system if you ignore all of the mysticism and faulty metaphors that it employs to try and explain its ideas.

The same can probably be said about just about any religion - metaphors get in the way of what is trying to be taught if they are taken literally. That narrow literalism is also pretty characteristic of the more pushy religious types.
 
 
grim reader
03:32 / 12.06.03
So it comes down to this- if Religion goes away, what will replace it? Will it be better? I personally don't think so.

While I think all arguments against religion and it's excesses are important, i don't think there's any getting away from it, it will never cease to exist. I think William Blake says something about religion and it's churches and art and stuff being an outward sign of the divinity inside the creator of those works; he also warns that these objects become tyrannous, demand tribute from worshippers, which is the point at which idolatry comes in. TV happens to be the latest form of idolatry. So, I think that anytime a human etches a design from his head onto something external to him, he's practicing religion, whether typing a message on this board or crafting raw materials into supermarket plastic bags. People have forgotten their own divinity, which is why they service the gods of Asda, Nike, Marvel, whatever. Amongst the earliest religious acts was the first painting of a bison on a cave wall; well before the distinction between religion and magic had been made, of course, and their both essentially different threads of the same thing.

I'm interested in the pink unicorn thing; about a year back i encountered an invisible electric unicorn, a lovely white pony wearing a bizzarre blue armour made of fibreglass or something. I know this unicorn exists, but i make no arguments on the nature of that existence. I also know God exists, despite 20 odd years of the catholic church convincing me she was something entirely different. Unfortunately, i can't ever provide evidence for God's existence, because it only ever exists in your own state of consciousness. All one can do is try and make people realise that god is there, and it's the most important part of their own being. Thats not something you'll ever prove through reason or logic, but you might get it from art, literature, train spotting, whatever is your thing.

Hope this was of value to somebody.
 
 
Quantum
13:42 / 12.06.03
Mirror read my mind, bastard, I was going to write almost exactly that. Humph.
 
 
Tom Coates
00:26 / 13.07.03
Nick - I'd like to take issue with your two points from very early on in the thread.

First you asked what 'wrong' would mean if we didn't have a concept of religion to measure it against. As far as I can say, religion has fundamentally no concept of why 'right' is 'right' or 'wrong' is 'wrong' at all. All most religions do is to eschew responsibility for those kind of value judgments to someone else - some kind of 'god' decides what's right and wrong. This seems to me to be a highly questionable basis for deciding appropriate behaviour. And in fact there are many other criteria that we could use for the determination of 'right' and 'wrong' and blunt Darwinism provides as good a place to start as any. Our need for a right and wrong can be asserted easily in terms of personal survival, the survival of our genome and pacts made between individuals which sacrifice certain degrees of freedom in order to gain (amonst other things) greater reproductive success. There are clear indications that altruism in a society can increase reproductive success for all, availability of food and the like. And there's equal evidence that individuals will try and break that pact in order to gain advantages for themselves. You could make a simple - unglamourous and unromantic - view of good and evil which settled on the difference between behaving altruistically and thus maintaining the pact that provides significant survival and reproductive advantages for almost all individuals within it and overtly trying to break up that pact for ones own specific purposes.

In terms of pushing ones religion being a bad thing, I could make an argument that said that finding ways to encourage people to have more accurate views of their place in the world and the relationships within it would encourage better altruistic models and that proselytising religion directly interferes with that process. Now I realise that this demotes morality to a place where it's roughly of a par with taste and smell as aesthetic judgements we have evolved in order to deal with particular damaging / positive experiences, but I don't really have too much of a problem with that. I'd rather believe that morality was something flexible but real that was core to the experience of being human beings than I would that it was something imposed from without.

Second you asserted the impossibility of proving the non-existence of god as a sufficient reason for agnosticism. I know you and I have had this argument before, but I think fundamentally agnosticism is too grand and respectful a name for your position here.

Let's put it this way - it's a fundamental principle of philosophy and logic that you can't prove the non-existence of something in the general case. You cannot prove that there isn't a parrot behind your wall. You cannot prove that the universe is an illusion. You cannot prove that your brother isn't a rabbit in a man costume. You cannot prove that all your cans of beans are filled up by pixies seconds before you open them.

The fact is that there are (or perhaps I should say there are not) an infinity of things in the universe that we cannot prove are not happening. It would be facile to say that we should keep an open mind about all of them - because we don't. And more practically and logically, assuming that there's no evidence for any of these things and there are an infinity of potential possibilities of things that we cannot prove do not exist (badgers with green hair, badgers with mostly green hair, badgers with partly green hair - before we even get to the shades of green and their religious beliefs) there's practically no chance that any of them are true.

We are able - essentially - as human beings to declare the vast majority of ludicrous things that could exist so unlikely as to be not worth even considering the possibility of their existence. The concept of 'god' is no more and no less ridiculous than invisible unobservable chickens, and yet simply because we cannot demonstrate it to be specifically less likely to exist than said chickens we have to consider ourselves 'agnostic'?! This seems beyond absurd, as absurd as saying that we cannot assert with any real confidence that our minds aren't broadcast over radio waves from Milton Keynes in Dimension X.

This need for "Agnosticism" is really odd to me. At heart all I can think is that it's crediting religious attitudes an undue importance that means that we don't have to as intellectually critical about them as we do about everything else. And I wonder at heart whether or not its takeup as a concept has been founded on a desire by religious people to make the only two possible alternatives with regard to religion a 'definite yes' or a 'probable yes'. I'm going to take the third option, thank you very much, and declare a definite no on the grounds of ludicrously absurd improbability.
 
 
Tom Coates
14:05 / 13.07.03
Apologies - I should have read Lurid's post before replying myself.
 
 
Lurid Archive
12:50 / 14.07.03
This need for "Agnosticism" is really odd to me. At heart all I can think is that it's crediting religious attitudes an undue importance that means that we don't have to as intellectually critical about them as we do about everything else. - Tom

I am interested in the way that people are presumed to have religion and the way that religion is almost equated to morality. The fact that so many people find theistic belief self evident means that it becomes the default position. Atheism is then regarded as questionable and ill founded because one cannot disprove theism. This manifests itself in many ways, IIRC, Bush I declared that atheists were not citizens. The following article by Daniel Dennett is also interesting. (Its a NY times article that requires a free registration to read.)

I recently took part in a conference in Seattle that brought together leading scientists, artists and authors to talk candidly and informally about their lives to a group of very smart high school students. Toward the end of my allotted 15 minutes, I tried a little experiment. I came out as a bright.

This is a new euphemism for atheism. Its silly, IMO.

Now, my identity would come as no surprise to anybody with the slightest knowledge of my work. Nevertheless, the result was electrifying.

Many students came up to me afterwards to thank me, with considerable passion, for "liberating" them. I hadn't realized how lonely and insecure these thoughtful teenagers felt. They'd never heard a respected adult say, in an entirely matter of fact way, that he didn't believe in God. I had calmly broken a taboo and shown how easy it was.
 
 
Quantum
16:45 / 14.07.03
The fact that so many people find theistic belief self evident means that it becomes the default position. Atheism is then regarded as questionable and ill founded because one cannot disprove theism.(Lurid)
In my experience it is the opposite nowadays, atheism is the default position and theists are considered loonies. Maybe that's less so in the US where the religious background radiation is higher, but here in the UK overtly religious people are in a diminishing minority.

Trivia- Marx wrote that religion was the opiate of the masses, but he went on less famously to say
"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of a soulless condition"
 
 
—| x |—
08:37 / 15.07.03
I gotta’ agree with Q, here: atheism seems much more the common “default” position in “The West” than does any specific belief structure. I mean, I think there are people who’ll give lip service to a specific religious institution, but they don’t believe it at the core of their being and instead will attend such and such a church for reasons not necessarily faith motivated. Of course, there certainly are those who are religious, and have a strong faith…

I am interested in the way that people are presumed to have religion and the way that religion is almost equated to morality.

Again, I think Jung was onto something reasonable when he argues that some sort of religion &/v spirituality is essential to human existence. Atheism is a religious position: it defines itself with reference to religious elements—there is no God. I find it difficult to conceive of a person who exists with no feelings or beliefs about religion—positive or negative. Thus, people do appear to have some sort of “presumed religion,” but as to what that will turn out to be we cannot necessarily assume.

Religion and morality can certainly go hand in hand, but the reasons for this are subtle, complex, and often relative to the specific religious structure. Take the Jewish faith, for example. Lots and lots of rule governed behaviour that is “justified” or “approved” by the Covenant: rules for behaviour laid out and preserved for a group of people qua their belief structure. Not all religions are as “law governed” as Judaism, but typically there will be shades of morality in any religious structure. This seems fairly clear as to its necessity: a religion operates in part by defining the sacred against the profane; therefore, rules for behaviour towards things from either categorization will naturally arise.

However, as Lurid points out, morality need not be connected to religion by necessity; that is, we can formulate codes of ethics without reference to any religious belief structures. Still, this does not negate the fact that we would still have a necessary religious component to our psyche, but merely that our specific religious stance is held, with respect to morality, as separate or at least subservient to the ethical codes we uphold. Put differently, our morality can lead our religion: there is no necessity for religion to lead morality (although it is frequently the case that it does).
 
 
Leap
00:30 / 16.07.03
Speaking as an RS graduate (which makes me an expert in nothing except how to present papers in a way that gets "interesting" as a comment!) I'd say religion is more being replaced by apathy and occasional bursts of panic, rather than atheism as such..............

............oh and religion is not needed to form a strong backbone to morality; figuring out that we are all competitive but also like company leads to good-sportsmanship as a moral norm without neading an amalgum of 2 sumerian deities (Where do you think the monotheistic YHVH came from? Y (pronounced Ea) and HVH (meaning "lady of life", the title of Ninhirsag (Ea's missus)) joined together to become one flesh (marriage) makes a monotheistic dual gendered deity called YHVH).

Oh.

Sorry.
 
  

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