UnderGround Forums
 

HolyGround >> The Future of Religion in a Secular World


9/27/10 7:39 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
martial_shadow
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 9753
 
I've given up on the supersitions of my ancestors. I've given up on superstition all together. Between my scientific analysis and stoic morality, things have been great. I still fulfil the practices of my ancestors (yes, I shook some leaves in a hut and ate in said hut last week). Jewish atheism actually has a long history and since faith is actually a minimal requirement in Judaism while the commandments are much larger, no major problem occurs (I realize this would be different for Christians and Muslims).

But it feels odd. Ok, I'll let a few months go by. Nope, still feels odd. Hmm... surely the soft atheists, hard atheists, agnostics, brights and humanists have dealt with this... not really. Ok, that's moderately strange. Well, the solution must lie within identification with the hero myth and identification with the community at large. When a guy dresses asa hunter and recreates the great hunt, or 2 guys dress up as Jedi and recreate Phantom Menace- the same need is being fulfiled. Whether we remember how we came out of Egypt and were sustained by G-d on manna or that the Fremen were exiled to Dune and were sustained by Shai-Hulud, what difference is there?

Further, neuroscience, social psychology and physiology have all demonstrated that in general, those with faith, who pray and have fatih community have healtheir and happier lives, so one needs to find a way to retain the baby when throwing out hte bathwater.

And, in my research of top performing atheists, an interesting phenomena has turned up. Hillary Clinton asks Ben Franklin to go over her speeches with her. Napolean Hill used to consult with Pres. Lincoln before major decisions. In fact, many leaders in their fields consult with an authority figure that they generate within their mind to better themselves. However, they never insist that this authority exists outside their own mind nor that others must acknoledge this authority. Therefore, in 5 weeks, when my current rotation ends, I will begin sitting at a table with G-d and having a serious discussion (interstingly- before they taught me how to pray, this was basically what I was doing, except instead of a desk it was a jungle gym). This type of meditation-prayer is used by the Breslov group of Jews. Of course they also insist that G-d is real and keeps promises.

I think the future of religion among the larger secular world may be for its communal and physiological effects (btw- the mind is a manifestation of the body, I can manipulate it quite easily with chemicals just like I can manipulate your body, the entire notion that the mind exists seperately and extrinsically to the body is a bizarre notion given neuroscience). So we'll see what happens when you sit across from 'that which can not be named' and 'that which laid forth the laws by which the quantum nothing became the All'. Maybe this will work, maybe this won't. Its simply a way of addressing the emptiness.

thoughts are welcome (as long as they are somewhat more sophisticated then 'run back to you G-d').

MS
9/27/10 8:01 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
4 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 20234
Sounds like you are well on your way to an incredibly cynical existence as a post-modern nihilist. 
9/27/10 9:44 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
martial_shadow
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 9754
stoicism is very comptible with nihilism, so that's not much of suprise. I am not a cynic however, I am a scientific skeptic.

given that the majority of people in the G20 are moving towards secularism, I thought that some on this forum would be curious to see how religious practice and doctrine are fulfiled on the other side of the fence. If there is not interest, I can move on.
9/28/10 12:33 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
4 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 20251
martial_shadow - stoicism is very comptible with nihilism, so that's not much of suprise. I am not a cynic however, I am a scientific skeptic.

given that the majority of people in the G20 are moving towards secularism, I thought that some on this forum would be curious to see how religious practice and doctrine are fulfiled on the other side of the fence. If there is not interest, I can move on.

 Yes I agree that stoicism is not incompatible with nihilism.  What I find cynical is the notion that you can just practice a religion for its apparent psychological benefits while assuming it is all an elaborate human farce.  I am thinking that your ancestors had the uniquely different perspective of actually believing there was a real God at the other end of the line and I also think that makes all the difference.  I personally would rather live according to what I believed was true even if it made me miserable and stripped me of most of the benefits of religion.

I am not sure what you mean by the other side of the fence.  I think store front religion is pretty normal these days (at least in the US).  A person finds what is personally attractive and sets aside any concern with the truth.  It is an ethic that they would never entertain in approaching science.  

Not that I think the world is in general moving towards secularism.  The opposite appears to be true actually.  It is a trend in the West, but the West is working very hard on its own extinction at the same time.  
9/28/10 1:12 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Grakman
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/21/08
Posts: 3081
Ridgeback - Not that I think the world is in general moving towards secularism.  The opposite appears to be true actually.  It is a trend in the West, but the West is working very hard on its own extinction at the same time.  
If anything the world is becoming more religious, not less.  Not to mention that science fetishism is practically a religion in it's own right.  You can even be excommunicated. ;)
9/28/10 9:42 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Robert Wynne
87 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6320
 Napoleon Hill (October 26, 1883 – November 8, 1970) was an American author who was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal-success literature. His most famous work, Think and Grow Rich, is one of the best-selling books of all time. Hill's works examined the power of personal beliefs, and the role they play in personal success. He successfully became the presidential advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933-36. "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve" is one of Hill's hallmark expressions. How achievement actually occurs, and a formula for it that puts success in reach for the average person, are the focal points of Hill's books.
9/28/10 9:53 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Robert Wynne
87 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6321
martial_shadow - stoicism is very comptible with nihilism, so that's not much of suprise. I am not a cynic however, I am a scientific skeptic.

given that the majority of people in the G20 are moving towards secularism, I thought that some on this forum would be curious to see how religious practice and doctrine are fulfiled

 religous practice-----right there is the problem, we turned away from the source of power and turn instead to man's controllative creation, known as religion.

9/28/10 5:04 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Joe Ray
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 8/24/00
Posts: 56568
Please elaborate more on your Stoic morality.

What does it mean to how you live and be?
9/28/10 7:17 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
martial_shadow
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 9760

 Ridge- I am practicing the elements (eg: sitting in a hut, celebrating new year's, not eating pork or shellfish, etc.) because that is what my ancestors did. I identify ethnically as a Jew (and that will likely not change) and acknowledge my lineage. As to my planned mental experiment, that is pretty nihilistic. It is not without presidence. When one assumes that we are simply genes, biochemicals and cells interacting- then really, there is no inherent purpose. The purpose I have chosen to adopt is to try to advance myself towards enlightenment and make people in society as healthy as possible (omg! I had a guy in the hospital today, *double face palm*). I actually think my mental plan is not radically different from what many Buddhists who are open on the question of Deity do when they use mental exercises to get into interesting mental spaces.

As to other side of the fence- in my experience, most people I've met who don't come south of the Mason-Dixie line (really, this is my experience) are agonistic, atheist or that new fuzzy loving G-d. In my masters class (just as an example), 1 regular 'church'goer, 4 holiday 'church'goer, the rest go for weddings, funerals, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, etc. On my current hospital team- 1 person goes regularly, 2 ppl go on holidays- no one else goes. This is my eperience.

Grakman- Yes, sadly the G20 have stopped making babies and we should return to a growth rate of 2.2. And I do agree that there are people who have turned science into a religion and do bizare things. The real test is does it have a falsifiable hypothesis.

Robert- I'd think the part where he was a business leader and worked with Pres. Roosevelt would outshine his founding the self-help book field.

Religion is the mechanism by which we explore this mental space. We can call it spiritual, meditation, whatever the label is irrelevant. The practice has been shown to make people healthier and happier. For that reason alone, an investigation into these practices for agnostics, atheists, secular humanists, brights, etc. should take place.

Joe- A summary of Roman Stoic philosophy (or any philosophy) is an exercise is absurdity, that said: Stoics believe in Pantheism (one of the reasons I began exploring stoicism a few years back was this was more identifiable than theism). Stoics believe in some degree of fate/determinism. Stoics believe that all good arises from right reason and all sin from wrong reason. Right reason is derived from the virtues of Wisdom (acording to natural process), Courage (to maintain civilization), Justice (to maintain civilization), and Moderation (for nothing should be taken too far). Stoicism acknowledges that all civilization is unnatural but that within this unnatural world, we should live in a natural fashion. In terms of responsibility: Epictetus' Enchirdiron 1:1 1.

Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.

Aurelius 2:1 Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil. But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, not only of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him, For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.

This relates a lot to my everyday experience in hospitals, clinics, gyms, etc. EVERYDAY!

9/28/10 9:57 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
4 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 20263
 MS,

Fair enough.  I am touchy about religious tourism so I probably responded unfairly.

Have you ever read any of Victor Frankl's works?  He has Man's Search for Meaning, which is a fine book, but not really scholarly.  His The Unconscious God is a much better analysis of religious experience and the psychology of existential meaning.  

I have always loved Marcus Aurelius. I was reading his Meditations way back in my teen years and still love them today.  I think there is a lot to be admired in the Stoicism of his day, and he was generally held in high regard by Christians.  
9/28/10 10:52 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
martial_shadow
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 9763
I read Man's Search for Meaning in high school, years ago. I should probably pick it up again.

Aurelius was well loves by all, he was the best Emperor Rome ever had. His defining moment, IMO, was when the he ran out of money for the legions. When the senate reported this, he reportedly walked to his wife's chamber and asked "How many dresses do you have?" "47 my lord." "Tomorrow we will sell 23." After auctioning 23 dresses, he then levied a tax on the people to make up the difference; but for an Emperor, at that time, to ask his wife to give up half her wardrobe was unheard of. Selling your stuff to feed soldiers?!

I've always been more partial to Seneca since Epictitus was a liberated slave and Aurelius was an Emperor (which is slave-like in a way). Seneca was from a well born family but chose to go into politics when he had the option of business or the military. He also wrote numerous plays and letters to express his understanding of stoicism. I do love Epictitus though when he points out that we all die, but ot all of us must die bawling. It is up to us to control out minds and our reactions to our given circumstance. Everyday, I am confronted with people who, if 10 years ago had made basic choices, would had 4 conditions, not 14. But I can't control it- so I chose not to get angry. Most ppl don't realize that at its height Stoicism made up 25% of the Roman Empire, primarily among the military and noble families in politics (it wouldn't benefit those in business).
9/29/10 4:48 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Joe Ray
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 8/24/00
Posts: 56569
MS, Thanks for the summary.

10/1/10 1:11 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Robert Wynne
87 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6326
 "Religion is the mechanism by which we explore this mental space. We can call it spiritual, meditation, whatever the label is irrelevant. The practice has been shown to make people healthier and happier. For that reason alone, an investigation into these practices for agnostics, atheists, secular humanists, brights, etc. should take place."





Religion is showing to be a bad mechanism for exploring the power, not mental space, that we all are driven to search for, This power can build men to greatness. It's success stories are too many to mention.

lumping meditation in with religion, is just wishing to pass it along as the same , in order to avoid admitting it's proven success stories.

The future of religion in our world is the removal of religion from our world,

It would be the one thing that might truly save mankind from himself.



10/1/10 1:37 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Robert Wynne
87 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6327
 .
10/1/10 7:26 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ramses II
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/7/08
Posts: 99
"Its simply a way of addressing the emptiness."

I agree, and I do not see this catching on.

Reply Post

You must log in to post a reply. Click here to login.