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 What is religion?

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PostSubject: What is religion?   Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:59 am

A) Being morally partial to an institutionalized good, a legal-aesthetics, be it in ideology alone or also in worldly form. Religion and institution are very closely related definitions, in strong institutions there is something irrational, a hope to be greater than the sum of the parts --

B) The sense of being united with the universe, a feeling of all-power, experiencing oneself as a necessity in the form of psychological drama.

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:12 pm

In terms of (b), Freud hypothesized that the child, upon emerging from his mother, feels an oceanic sense of connectedness with all things; indeed, he knows no separation between his ego and the world -- he is the world. This stems from the feeling of being-in-womb, of being completely connected to your world, your confines, your source of nourishment, sense-perception: everything is one for the fetus. The feeling lingers until the child learns to differentiate between self and world. Of course, sometimes this feeling remains, and we see this in those misguided believers who claim that they sense the presence of the divine in all things, that they have a sense of inter-connectedness and that therefore there must be a God. Freud will call these believers children who have yet to properly develop. But isn't there something more going on here? Does the believer not yearn for the womb? This lack of differentiation between self and world seems to me to be a nostalgia, a longing for the conditions of being-in-womb. And perhaps this is what is achieved in the act of coitus, a striving for oneness, a penetration, a yearning for the womb: the ego is abolished in climax; two lovers become one. If the sexual impulse underlies all human drive, and underlying the sexual impulse is this ultimate desire for oneness, for being-in-womb, for reclaiming the oceanic sensation -- which is, in itself, a pure abolition of the ego -- then perhaps the ultimate aim of all human drive/desire is the abolition of the self. Religion is one means to such apprehending the object of such desire, for in faith, the believer feels connected to all things. But perhaps there is another, a stronger, a more value-able means...

Perhaps "experiencing oneself as a necessity" can be attained through positive valuation, through active willing, through ceaseless self-overcoming...

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:14 pm

Perhaps religion is just pre-philosophy...
A seeking for understanding and placing of what is seen.. a system for associating things in a manner that will best aid what is believed to be important... be that happiness/heaven... or survival

And these pre-philosophers...belived that there were oughts, and musts, and exactlies...and so came about laws of belief, of thinking.
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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:54 pm

Abstract wrote:
Perhaps religion is just pre-philosophy...
A seeking for understanding and placing of what is seen.. a system for associating things in a manner that will best aid what is believed to be important... be that happiness/heaven... or survival

Yes I think we can look at religion as an approach to problem solving as method. A key is that this method is embedded within and strongly hooked into the largest of social milieu, these functioning as strong determining influences on individual psychologies. We might see this in the sense of a certain feed-back loop wherein historical-social mores/memes feed and largely condition the psyche through the medium of institiutional religion. To the extent that the social-psyche interconnection, as system and propagation, orientes itself toward certain challenges and problems with which it or society at large are confronted, religion then serves in its function as an intermediary to provide a common ground from which solutions can spring. The consideration of the efficacy of these solutions might take a back-seat to larger concerns regarding the role of an established ground of commonality and the extent of this ground's influence upon and being influenced by - its porosity - with respect to those which it serves as media for.

Perhaps we have now supplanted the traditional images under which this medial ground finds expression - the religious and its logics and forms - with a newer medial space, e.g. philosophy or what might be thought of as a "pure disconnected logic" largely divorced from the larger images and meme-constructs which have traditionally given expression to this medial functionality. This then frees these logics "unto themselves" from the undo impositions and constraints of externally-imposed form.

Although this freeing has taken place since the time of the Greeks, the continued inertia and reproduction of past constraining forms and systems continues to play a central role in the (in)ability of this 'freed disconnected logic' to suffuse within the medial ground and enter into primary relations there; the "conservative bulwark", which can be understood as the inability of the present to orient toward itself and toward its future without respect to undo constraining factors arising from the inertia/s of the past, represents an upper limit to the efficacy and power of this new "post-religious" philosophical potentiality.

Quote :
And these pre-philosophers...belived that there were oughts, and musts, and exactlies...and so came about laws of belief, of thinking.

Yes this is an interesting direction, to explore the commonalities and possible derivations with respect to these various logics. I would like to devote more time to this direction of exploration.

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:59 pm

Capable wrote:
Abstract wrote:
Perhaps religion is just pre-philosophy...
A seeking for understanding and placing of what is seen.. a system for associating things in a manner that will best aid what is believed to be important... be that happiness/heaven... or survival

Yes I think we can look at religion as an approach to problem solving as method. A key is that this method is embedded within and strongly hooked into the largest of social milieu, these functioning as strong determining influences on individual psychologies.
Because it is a survival mechanism...or was... but perhaps we will find better survival mechanisms as time goes by...

Quote :


Perhaps we have now supplanted the traditional images under which this medial ground finds expression - the religious and its logics and forms - with a newer medial space, e.g. philosophy or what might be thought of as a "pure disconnected logic" largely divorced from the larger images and meme-constructs which have traditionally given expression to this medial functionality. This then frees these logics "unto themselves" from the undo impositions and constraints of externally-imposed form.
Thing is most religions were "pure disconnected logic" when they were created... what we know has changed what we see as logical... perhaps that is the primary failure cause of present day created religions... because they are not logical in relation to the times.

Quote :

Although this freeing has taken place since the time of the Greeks, the continued inertia and reproduction of past constraining forms and systems continues to play a central role in the (in)ability of this 'freed disconnected logic' to suffuse within the medial ground and enter into primary relations there; the "conservative bulwark", which can be understood as the inability of the present to orient toward itself and toward its future without respect to undo constraining factors arising from the inertia/s of the past, represents an upper limit to the efficacy and power of this new "post-religious" philosophical potentiality.
Indeed...

Quote :

Quote :
And these pre-philosophers...belived that there were oughts, and musts, and exactlies...and so came about laws of belief, of thinking.

Yes this is an interesting direction, to explore the commonalities and possible derivations with respect to these various logics. I would like to devote more time to this direction of exploration.
We face in this age the relaxing of the ought-mentality... but we can't forget that to survive there are things we ought do... oughts exist but in relativity to what your goal is. If you want to live you ought to not jump of the cliff... there are perhaps some beliefs that would be reasonable for humanity not to pursue, as it could lead to its quicker death, or worse...longer life with less enjoyment...
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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:02 pm

....If you want nothing, there is nothing that you ought to do...

desireless you are free, yet perhaps such freedom is death... complete freedom is or becomes complete absence (except absence itself)
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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:08 pm

Except that many "ought to do" 's come from a place other than our desires/wants, from a place more appropriately called instinct or drive or impulse or reflex, or even need.

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:15 pm

Capable wrote:
Except that many "ought to do" 's come from a place other than our desires/wants, from a place more appropriately called instinct or drive or impulse or reflex, or even need.
Indeed...and instinct often becomes outdated before the instinct itself evolves...
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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:52 am

Capable wrote:
Except that many "ought to do" 's come from a place other than our desires/wants, from a place more appropriately called instinct or drive or impulse or reflex, or even need.
But aren't all of those things part of our instincts?

The 'ought to do's' come from social conditioning, from a sense of, at times, mis-guided duty, from the instinct to follow the herd, instead of one's own code of justice and fairness.

The 'ought to do[ers] are bound up 'religiously' with what they 'believe' they are supposed to do - instead of acting/responding discriminately from an intuitive knowing.


 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:34 pm

VaerosTanarg wrote:
Capable wrote:
Except that many "ought to do" 's come from a place other than our desires/wants, from a place more appropriately called instinct or drive or impulse or reflex, or even need.
But aren't all of those things part of our instincts?

The 'ought to do's' come from social conditioning, from a sense of, at times, mis-guided duty, from the instinct to follow the herd, instead of one's own code of justice and fairness.

The 'ought to do[ers] are bound up 'religiously' with what they 'believe' they are supposed to do - instead of acting/responding discriminately from an intuitive knowing.


I would agree that at least for the most part the ought to do's come from social conditioning. yet social conditioning comes of the populace fitting to its non-social habitat...
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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:13 am

Abstract wrote:
I would agree that at least for the most part the ought to do's come from social conditioning. yet social conditioning comes of the populace fitting to its non-social habitat...
Actually they don't really come merely from social conditioning. The thought that they do is what comes from social conditioning. They came from experience.
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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:32 am

Religion, (although not rightfully put as just that, a less amalgamated concept is almost required) seeks to bring people a joy and a peace that they cant find anywhere else. For some people drugs and alcohol do the trick, others its a competition, still others self glorification and pleasure. Religion is another form of these, and i think it is wicked to deprave anyone of the peace and comfort it can induce. Marx was dead on when he said it is the opium of the people, and as a believer I particularly enjoy this side benefit. Religion offers an escape from the social norms, the postmodern lifestyle, and the happy-go-lucky neighbor who insists on going on a walk through the park with you. A relaxant of the broadest means, it gives you a chance to get away, to take a step back and look at the world as a whole, to catch the whole of it at a glace and understand life, liberty, and your ideal pursuit to happiness. I highly recommend it, as it has done wonders to me. Although not without its faults, it reaps more benefits than the standard philosopher will credit it for.

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:24 pm

James S Saint wrote:
Abstract wrote:
I would agree that at least for the most part the ought to do's come from social conditioning. yet social conditioning comes of the populace fitting to its non-social habitat...
Actually they don't really come merely from social conditioning. The thought that they do is what comes from social conditioning. They came from experience.
Yes but for the most part?

 

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"Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God." -Cicero
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without necessarily believing it." -Aristotle
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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:29 pm

rossneir wrote:
Religion, (although not rightfully put as just that, a less amalgamated concept is almost required) seeks to bring people a joy and a peace that they cant find anywhere else. For some people drugs and alcohol do the trick, others its a competition, still others self glorification and pleasure. Religion is another form of these, and i think it is wicked to deprave anyone of the peace and comfort it can induce. Marx was dead on when he said it is the opium of the people, and as a believer I particularly enjoy this side benefit. Religion offers an escape from the social norms, the postmodern lifestyle, and the happy-go-lucky neighbor who insists on going on a walk through the park with you. A relaxant of the broadest means, it gives you a chance to get away, to take a step back and look at the world as a whole, to catch the whole of it at a glace and understand life, liberty, and your ideal pursuit to happiness. I highly recommend it, as it has done wonders to me. Although not without its faults, it reaps more benefits than the standard philosopher will credit it for.
I think the problems people identify as being religion is rather with types of religion. For example I particularly find religions that do not allow modification and improvement upon the ideas of that religion as anti-evolutionary and thus more subject to corruption and eventual negativity. Such I would think is as well an aspect of religion that forbids questioning. Without acceptance of the nature of humans to question things there can not be established better understandings to fit to the evolution of the human mind out side of the bindings of the given religion.

 

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"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without necessarily believing it." -Aristotle
"I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law." -Aristotle
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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:35 pm

But isnt a religion that evolves and shapes itself into "whatever" ness really nothing more than a personal superstition? The strange thing is, religions that hold too firmly to tradition all end up decayed and a lesser version of themselves. A gentle balance is almost required, yet so few have actually found that perfect medium between evolution and stagnancy. This middle level also has an included ability to reason and ask questions, but not step out of the parameters it entails. Questioning should be, and mostly is, allowed, but it is not helpful when taken to the level of questioning the basic ideas of the religion. I question things all the time, and i seek out answers. Nothing is thrown at me, to shut me up, to stop dissension from the basic realities of the belief system itself. The more questions asked, however, the more inconsistently the leaders are able to uphold the medium of change.

Take for example the Catholic church. When someone dissented from their tradition, they went out and fought a war to kill all the "heretics" they could find (Although most would never fight back, when the Hussites revolted it brought and end to this, but only through more bloodshed and death?). If you never questioned it, you became a number in the crowd, a statistic only to be herded into the dark until you die. However, the Protestant Reformation allowed so much more flexability than you could ever imagine. Through ideas like freedom of conscience they allowed people to gradually shift their (the reformers) belief system into a close, yet slightly different copy of the original. A gradual evolution, that over time will surely resemble nothing of the original, but yet for the moment it is close enough for people to find it valid.

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:38 pm

rossneir: consider the "joy and peace" in religion in terms of the interpretation I offered above. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:06 pm

I think Freud's horrendous stabs at philosophy were his own personal justification for rejection of a God (although this is quite biased, as i think almost all of Freud's work is nonsense). The way that you describe religion, faith, god, and spirituality leads me to believe that there is, in your perception, a form of a divine in everything, for all religions, yet this appears to be extremely pantheist ( or rather, panentheist) in its thinking. I am still baffled by your (or freud's, be it whomevers) analogy of a religious person to a baby, and therin the baby to an act of sex. Yes, we all yearn for something, we all strive to achieve, but a reunion with our original self, i think, is not it.

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:16 pm

Keep in mind, of course, that this is Freud's response to a friend of his who turned to religion because he was struck with an oceanic feeling of connectedness in and with everything. He felt this connectedness to be divine and on this basis converted to Christianity. I think, personally, that Freud's response is rather apt. Freud's primary theory for the turn to belief in God is the yearning for a father figure that cannot be present after childhood.

On your interpretation, if I can say so, religious belief becomes even more childish. You claim religion gives the believer a chance to relax and withdraw from the world, it provides him a joy and a peace. But at what expense? It is psychological weakness that drives the man weary with the world to withdraw from it, to find repose in believing in a higher purpose and a greater plan. The great man tarries with the difficulties of the world, he pushes through them -- he does not retreat to his church and to his false beliefs. The only brand of religious belief I can respect exists in an active engagement with the world, a recognition and an affirmation of the fundamental absurdity of one's belief, a belief that makes one stronger, not weaker or tired. I think the Freudian interpretation interesting as it seeks to get at the heart of human motivation: the libidinal impulse underlain by the impulse to nihilate the separation between ego and world. But this is, of course, my interpretation of Freud's interpretation. So perhaps I'm being too charitable.

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:15 pm

rossneir wrote:
I think Freud's horrendous stabs at philosophy were his own personal justification for rejection of a God (although this is quite biased, as i think almost all of Freud's work is nonsense). The way that you describe religion, faith, god, and spirituality leads me to believe that there is, in your perception, a form of a divine in everything, for all religions, yet this appears to be extremely pantheist ( or rather, panentheist) in its thinking. I am still baffled by your (or freud's, be it whomevers) analogy of a religious person to a baby, and therin the baby to an act of sex. Yes, we all yearn for something, we all strive to achieve, but a reunion with our original self, i think, is not it.
I tend not think their are beginings... and thus that there is not an original self. the self simply is, it is a changing thing... perhaps how one self is deferentiated from another is not by specific characteristics, rather we all have the same characteristics at some time along our life, or lives... rather the self my be defined in terms of something like frequency or amplituded by the nature of the way it changes rather then something else...(though perhaps that changes as well)...


 

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"Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God." -Cicero
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without necessarily believing it." -Aristotle
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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:22 pm

rossneir wrote:
But isnt a religion that evolves and shapes itself into "whatever" ness really nothing more than a personal superstition? The strange thing is, religions that hold too firmly to tradition all end up decayed and a lesser version of themselves. A gentle balance is almost required, yet so few have actually found that perfect medium between evolution and stagnancy. This middle level also has an included ability to reason and ask questions, but not step out of the parameters it entails. Questioning should be, and mostly is, allowed, but it is not helpful when taken to the level of questioning the basic ideas of the religion. I question things all the time, and i seek out answers. Nothing is thrown at me, to shut me up, to stop dissension from the basic realities of the belief system itself. The more questions asked, however, the more inconsistently the leaders are able to uphold the medium of change.

Take for example the Catholic church. When someone dissented from their tradition, they went out and fought a war to kill all the "heretics" they could find (Although most would never fight back, when the Hussites revolted it brought and end to this, but only through more bloodshed and death?). If you never questioned it, you became a number in the crowd, a statistic only to be herded into the dark until you die. However, the Protestant Reformation allowed so much more flexability than you could ever imagine. Through ideas like freedom of conscience they allowed people to gradually shift their (the reformers) belief system into a close, yet slightly different copy of the original. A gradual evolution, that over time will surely resemble nothing of the original, but yet for the moment it is close enough for people to find it valid.
I would not call a religion that evolves a superstition... I would think perhaps the evolution is more of evolving such as to express the same ideals or ideas to the evolving minds of men. One of the primary assumptions of religions seems to be that there is a truth... if there is a truth through questioning though we may be lead away from it for a time i would think that eventually we are lead back to that truth... what needs evolving is perhaps more the things deduced from truths and of course an openness to the changing when it is realized that something is not a truth... one can think of a religion as maybe an operating system or maybe some sort of program... as the computer (the human) updates it is eventually necessary for the software to update... you are right there is balance need between evolution and stasis... perhaps the key to that is similar to what is often considered the key to consciousness, self awareness. the religions need to become aware of the effect on the minds they have, what they do, and up most the nature of the evolution of religion, such as then to by some degree influence its own evolution consciously...

 

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"Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God." -Cicero
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without necessarily believing it." -Aristotle
"I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law." -Aristotle
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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:04 am

James S Saint wrote:
Abstract wrote:
I would agree that at least for the most part the ought to do's come from social conditioning. yet social conditioning comes of the populace fitting to its non-social habitat...
Actually they don't really come merely from social conditioning. The thought that they do is what comes from social conditioning. They came from experience.
One may also say that they come from a misinterpretation of their experience.
Many ought to doS and should doS come about as a result of not seeing as much of the picture as can be seen - and therefore applying duty or restrictions to unexamined, irrational thoughts or emotions.

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:40 am

We can now understand religion as a perversion of valuing, a perverse, pathological manner of valuing. Religions are systems of ideas, these then with certain implicit logics governing their possible relations. These possibilities play our in actual conditions to produce certain kinds of responses, behaviors. The form in which religious ideas are presented to man is the form of a given. Attempts to derive these systems' core elements -- to rationally ground these systems -- have always failed.

Religious systems operate by presenting man with a set of beliefs/ideas which operate in such a way so as to produce a mechanism for valuing -- they prescribe a manner of valuing, thereby leading eventually to a type of man, one whom has been cultivated underneath this religious imposition. This type, the religious type, values in a certain way, which is also to say thinks, feels, acts and speaks in a certain way. This is all pre-ordained by the religious system in which man is encased.

We might further claim that religion is an artificial construction, a technology of language: a "computer program" containing various "codes" which is inserted within man's consciousness where it acts to dictate certain aspects of this consciousness' organization/s and possibilities. Today the type of man which has been produced by this technology is everywhere, and we see the religious core and signature everywhere: in politics, in economics, in social interaction, in emotional production, as well as of course in the overt form of more or less concrete, named religions. Each of these phenomena can be traced back to the very same religious perversion and pathology; they are each various kinds of manifestations of the same basic system, the same error.

We might now also explore in one of two directions: what are the more far-reaching implications of the fact of the (so ubiquitous) religious type? Or, precisely how does the technology of religion actually function?


 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:14 am

In fact, certainly perverse, but not necessarily pathological: religion is almost an early attempt at thinking. It is like a pre-cursor left over from a prior age, an organic remnant and carry-over, like the appendix or the tailbone in humans. Though religious systems certainly attach in/to the pathological nexus, and appropriate some of their vitality therein, they are not strictly speaking pathological in essence. Religion is more like a very simple objectifying and subsequent organization of the cognitive-rational (linguistic, conceptual, imaginal) elements of consciousness, simply in many cases to the point of childishness. It is easy to see how this simplicity is self-reinforcing, since it acts both on the level of objectification (concept formation) and organization (conceptual relation/s and employment).

But whereas actual children grow whether they want to or not, whereas they are forced to grow and overcome themselves again and again even if they do not wish to, the adult "child" of the religious type has no such organic-physiological necessity. Man can remain child-like throughout his entire life, child-like when it comes to the character and quality of his consciousness. This lack of an impelling necessity for growth to continue outside of actual child-hood might be one of the severest problems we face as a species.

 

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PostSubject: Re: What is religion?   Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:07 am

Fixed Cross wrote:
A) Being morally partial to an institutionalized good, a legal-aesthetics, be it in ideology alone or also in worldly form. Religion and institution are very closely related definitions, in strong institutions there is something irrational, a hope to be greater than the sum of the parts --

B) The sense of being united with the universe, a feeling of all-power, experiencing oneself as a necessity in the form of psychological drama.

The above are two paragraphs which do define what religion is. The below defines in part what religion does.

Religare - to bind fast.
religo - be though bound fast!

But for me, the only true or 'real' religion is that which offers a perspective or a way of life in which we are free to always pursue what is truth...what is real. The Greek word, Aletheia, means to 'uncover' - and by pursuing truth, aletheia takes over and truth is uncovered.

Our personal religion binds us to seeking the truth - but at the same time, a religion which works, must be free to breathe, to fly free, to change its perspectives and beliefs when aletheia has spoken. And for me, that is always tied in with 'to do no harm'. It is finding that perfect balance between being bound fast, out of love, to paying attention and seeing what is actually there and not what we, in our desire to be comfortable, choose to see and maintain - and letting go at the same time. A personal or organized religion which does not serve these purposes, in my book, is futile and stifling...may destroy the human spirit, and leads nowhere insofar as discovering who we are as human beings and who we are as our very own selves.










 

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Each of our lives is a part of the lengthy process of the universe gradually waking up and becoming aware of itself.


Philosophy is the childhood of the intellect, and a culture that tries to skip it will never grow up."


"If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped."

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