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Switch to Forum Live View What is the purpose of religion?
2 years ago  ::  May 11, 2012 - 8:02PM #51
Seefan
Posts: 3,632

May 11, 2012 -- 3:13PM, Buggsy wrote:

  That's my understanding of what you're saying - in street language





May 11, 2012 -- 3:10PM, Seefan wrote:

Sorry I didn’t notice post #47!  Other than the shit hits the fan, I think you got it -- in street language. The problem with street language it leaves out the details which makes it more accurate leading to deeper understanding. However, sorry if it seemed pretentious.  I certainly wasn’t trying to be.  To clarify when to highlighted in red see the following  ...


Manifestation of God – The bible called Jesus the Perfect Man!  He was what my Faith calls a Manifestation of God because He showed perfectly those qualities of God that God wanted us to know for that time.  No human being can ever become equal to or greater then Jesus unless He is a Manifestation of God.  Such Holy Souls appear every 1000 years or so at what can be called the beginning of a new age in human history and development where God deems it necessary for spiritual growth.  Jesus’ appearance was such a time.


Divine Religion – When Jesus appeared he brought a message called a Revelation from God which contained all of what God wanted mankind to know and develop.  These principles or teachings and their application is called divine religion.


Progressive Revelation – A terms signifying the idea that whenever a revelation is revealed it is done so in a progressive manner in that the teachings or themes are developed to a greater extent then the previous message was given.  Jesus’ message was more developed or changed in some areas than Moses’ message revealed.


Spiritual Power – Whenever the teachings are revealed there is a spiritual energy or power released into the world that when tapped into, by design or by accident, causes humanity to grow in knowledge.  Nothing develops or grows in creation without God’s energy being the underlying cause! 


Dross of Time – After the revealed revelation or teachings reach a period of time its original meaning become foggy because of the different ideas that filters in.


Disharmony and disunity – When time causes the divine teachings (scriptures) to lose its original meaning what happens is that the once clear direction is lost and arguments becomes the norm.  We see this in Christianity with their 350+ different sects all claiming to know the truth.


I hope this makes my post more understandable ...

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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2 years ago  ::  May 11, 2012 - 8:16PM #52
Seefan
Posts: 3,632

May 11, 2012 -- 3:35PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 11, 2012 -- 3:10PM, Seefan wrote:


If what is in red is considered as jargon then I guess you really must have problems with most of the bible.



It's not the bible I have problems with - just high sounding 'theology' that really says nothing at all when you get into it, in my view. Sorry I was criticizing you!


Your signature says:


The sciences of this world are droplets of reality; if then they lead not to reality, what fruit can come of illusion? By the one true God! If learning be not a means of access to Him, the Most Manifest, it is nothing but evident loss. (Baha'i Faith)


What does that mean?




This is my own interpretation from what is written directly and what I’ve been taught – It means that science is not the only reality but it does help explain our physical world.  If it is not pointing to a actual reality that is real it is illusion, superstition and is useless.  The evident loss of course is the study of something that is not real/reality.  It gives us noting of value.  But ultimately science teaches us about God by giving us an ever deeper understanding of His creation – the universe.  My Faith says that ultimately science and religion are the two wings of one bird in the sense that both are needed for a well balanced understanding of life!  One cannot exist without the other and if an imbalance occurs in its promotion it causes disunity and negative consequences. 


If I’ve used jargon or what I’ve posted is not understandable please let me know ...


 

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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2 years ago  ::  May 12, 2012 - 11:56AM #53
Buggsy
Posts: 4,630

May 11, 2012 -- 8:16PM, Seefan wrote:


This is my own interpretation from what is written directly and what I’ve been taught – It means that science is not the only reality but it does help explain our physical world...... But ultimately science teaches us about God by giving us an ever deeper understanding of His creation – the universe . .  ultimately science and religion  . . . cannot exist without the other and if an imbalance occurs in its promotion it causes disunity and negative consequences.



Okay I think I understand.  But it assumes that science is a system of beliefs.  Science is nothing at all like religion.  It's a methodology of enquiry into the real world.  It doesn't make assumptions about a deity or a supernatural realm.  So whatever science investigates and uncovers are simply facts in and about the world.  Science isn't a reality unto itself but a reasoned approach to objects in the external world and the connection (sometimes) between facts and objects.


Religion (generally speaking) on the other hand assumes all sorts of things and requires faith in those things - such as deities, afterlives, malevolence etc.  Science requires no faith in objects - just an understanding, in my view.

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2 years ago  ::  May 12, 2012 - 12:44PM #54
StephenK.Adams
Posts: 1,472

May 12, 2012 -- 11:56AM, Buggsy wrote:


--- Religion (generally speaking) on the other hand assumes all sorts of things and requires faith in those things - such as deities, afterlives, malevolence etc.  Science requires no faith in objects - just an understanding, in my view.




Apparently the first words in the Koran are:  "The words in this book are not to be doubted."  Such a start, in my not so humble opinion, renders the remainder of the book not worth reading.  I am sure that there are some good ideas in the book but to pretend that the words in any book are absolute truths that should never be examined or critiqued is to defy reality.  Christianity is probably a little more subtle than the Koran but in this area, it makes a similar injunction, namely;  "Not one word, no not even one jot in this book should be changed."  The subtlety rests in the fact that the Bible doesn't put these words at the very start of the book.  Some difference!!  Some stupidity!!!       




We have nothing to fear except our lack of understanding of fear itself.
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2 years ago  ::  May 12, 2012 - 12:59PM #55
Seefan
Posts: 3,632

May 12, 2012 -- 11:56AM, Buggsy wrote:

 

May 11, 2012 -- 8:16PM, Seefan wrote:


This is my own interpretation from what is written directly and what I’ve been taught – It means that science is not the only reality but it does help explain our physical world...... But ultimately science teaches us about God by giving us an ever deeper understanding of His creation – the universe . .  ultimately science and religion  . . . cannot exist without the other and if an imbalance occurs in its promotion it causes disunity and negative consequences.



Okay I think I understand.  But it assumes that science is a system of beliefs.  Science is nothing at all like religion.  It's a methodology of enquiry into the real world.  It doesn't make assumptions about a deity or a supernatural realm.  So whatever science investigates and uncovers are simply facts in and about the world.  Science isn't a reality unto itself but a reasoned approach to objects in the external world and the connection (sometimes) between facts and objects.


Religion (generally speaking) on the other hand assumes all sorts of things and requires faith in those things - such as deities, afterlives, malevolence etc.  Science requires no faith in objects - just an understanding, in my view. 



I have little disagreements with the overall content of your post.  I guess when I say science and religion are the two wings of one bird (humanity) each is similarity is in its overall purpose - to educate humanity.  We could argue about both being based upon faith and belief until it is proven to the individual's satisfaction but that would not be of much value here so I'll leave it.  There is a vast difference between the approach of each in the acquired access of pertainent knowledge for the advancement of civilization of which is both its goals - imho ...



 

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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2 years ago  ::  May 12, 2012 - 1:32PM #56
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,657

May 4, 2012 -- 10:56AM, newsjunkie wrote:


May 4, 2012 -- 10:49AM, LittleLes wrote:


The religious corporation keeps a lot of clergy empolyed who might otherwise be unemployable?Undecided




True! And my cynical side would say that religion is also a useful way for a few people to control many people. 




I think large organised religions are for just that. Power and control. A good way to control the masses of people through fear. Fear of death, fear of after life, fear period.

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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2 years ago  ::  May 12, 2012 - 1:44PM #57
Buggsy
Posts: 4,630

May 12, 2012 -- 12:59PM, Seefan wrote:


We could argue about both being based upon faith and belief until it is proven to the individual's satisfaction but that would not be of much value here so I'll leave it.  There is a vast difference between the approach of each in the acquired access of pertainent knowledge for the advancement of civilization of which is both its goals - imho ...




Yes I think some people tend to view the findings of scientific enquiry as objects of faith, or more accurately some scientific theories.  The theory of human evolution - which is backed by observation and the fossil record - has become in many resepcts our modern myth of creation.  And there are many who believe in the theory of evolution rather than understand the body of evidence, while withholding the same view for other theories - such as gravity. But this is not the sheer facts themselves only the perception that some have concerning them.


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2 years ago  ::  May 12, 2012 - 2:04PM #58
Buggsy
Posts: 4,630

May 12, 2012 -- 12:44PM, StephenK.Adams wrote:

"Not one word, no not even one jot in this book should be changed." 



Matthew 5:18


For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.


This refers to the Law of Moses, not to the Bible as we know it today.  The reason the comment was made was to impress on the Pharisees that the Law stood as written and would not be changed or altered to fit the Pharisaic system of religion - the 'traditions of the elders' (i.e. the Babylonian Talmud in oral form at the time) which was a major departure from the Mosaic religion. Jesus raged against Pharisaic religion in many parts of the gospels.


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2 years ago  ::  May 15, 2012 - 3:47PM #59
StephenK.Adams
Posts: 1,472

Thank you Buggsy for putting the quote that I used in its proper context.  Even though I did not choose a good example to indicate that the Bible rejects change and acts like the words therein described are absolute truths; the mythical aspects of the religion that I was attempting to describe are liberally dispersed throughout the entire book.


I like the following example to illustrate my point.  It would be a picture of a person in space returning from a trip to the moon and while looking out of the space craft window at the planet earth he makes the following statement:  "I still believe that the earth is flat."

We have nothing to fear except our lack of understanding of fear itself.
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2 years ago  ::  May 15, 2012 - 4:56PM #60
WaveringCC
Posts: 5,116

May 12, 2012 -- 1:32PM, mainecaptain wrote:


May 4, 2012 -- 10:56AM, newsjunkie wrote:


May 4, 2012 -- 10:49AM, LittleLes wrote:


The religious corporation keeps a lot of clergy empolyed who might otherwise be unemployable?Undecided




True! And my cynical side would say that religion is also a useful way for a few people to control many people. 




I think large organised religions are for just that. Power and control. A good way to control the masses of people through fear. Fear of death, fear of after life, fear period.




Organized religion often is misused as a tool to control people, and playing on normal human fear of the unknown, and fear of punishment (since we all know that we all do a lot of things in life that don't give us bragging rights) is often part of it.


But, control isn't the real "purpose" of religion IMO. That is an abuse of religion.  I  think of religion as being a response to universal human questions.  Ever since humans became self-aware back in the mists of pre-history their minds were engaged in trying to understand what they observed outside of them, in the physical world. and also in trying to understand what is in their minds.  Understanding thoughts, emotions, relationships, other people, and all that cannot be explained. Science answered/answers many questions about the physical world but until science developed to a certain point, humans grasped at understandings that were often supernatural or superstitious explanations for what they observed. Some of these attempts at explaining what they saw evolved into religious systems. And so the pagan religions worshipped the sun, or the wind, or the river gods, and created pantheons of deities representing different explanations for what they observed, especially in the physical world.  But, beyond the physical world they were also aware of an internal world, in their minds.  And this was just as mysterious as the external world and raises countless questions that cannot be answered easily, and especially not answered by scientific methods. Religion is an attempt to provide answers to the age old questions that human beings have asked for eons (literally) - where did the universe come from? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Who am "I'?  Is "I" only the physical body, or does  "I" include "soul" or "spirit"?  Where will "I" go after death? Or is physical death the end? These are the "what is the meaning of life" questions that college students discuss endlessly, but will discover cannot be answered. They haven't yet learned yet "to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves ,"as Rilke wrote, and that they may not ever "live into the answers", despite what Rilke wrote.


Religion provides some answers - maybe not answers that can be scientifically validated, but religious people know that what is outside and can be validated is only a small part of what we "know" and experience in life. The specific answers may differ from religion to religion, but there are many common themes. Those common themes often revolve around questions about how to live, how to treat other human beings.  The Golden Rule is found in all major religions. Religion can provide some useful tools to those who try to honestly follow what they teach - at least about the big stuff. It's when they get down to the detailed nitty-gritty that most religion goes way off course. Because then instead of trying to be guides in helping people deal with the unknowable and provide some guidelines for living, they try to be God.


So, the main purpose of religion may be to try to provide answers to that which can't really be answered. But the questions just don't go away, and a secondary purpose seems  to be to provide a  code, a structure of moral guidelines. Often this is very practical - it allows people whose interests are competing to somehow develop enough control to not always act in their own short-term, immediate self- interest. Thus exercising restraint in not stealing the neighbor's goat is a bit easier if its part of a code that all - or most- are following.  Besides, it prevents all kinds of murder and mayhem.


As thinking and reflective beings, we humans are frustrated when we don't understand something. We want to KNOW!  Just like we can often (but not always) KNOW scientific principles. Sometimes we think we KNOW scientific facts and then some bright scientist comes along and develops a new telescope or tries something new in a lab, and smashes a whole body of accepted science to smithereens. It happens. 


By definition, God is not knowable, nor understand-able.  But human beings aren't comfortable with that and so develop systems that are a way to try to answer the questions that can't be answered, and we call those systematic approaches to trying to understand the not-understandable religion. The best that can be done is probably to catch glimpses of understanding. The human mind and soul (I am among those who do believe in the soul/spirit) can often make great leaps of insight - but they are still mere glimpses.


So, religion is referred to in terms of "faith" - one may believe in God or not believe in God, but either way it cannot be proven through through scientific methods.  Even when there is agreement that there is a God, the details of various understandings of Who or What is God, what is God's nature, etc will keep human beings divided for probably whatever time is left in human history.  So, one accepts the tenets of Christianity or Islam or Hinduism or Judaism  the detailed answers provided by the great religions - on "faith" also.  Most of us "believe" the religion of the family and culture we are born into. The "true" Christians who "believe" that christianity is the "true" religion, would most likely be just as fervently convinced in the truth of Islam had they been born to a Muslim family in Morocco, and just as fervent in their devotions to the pantheon of Hindu deities,  just as faithful in completing pilgrimages to Hindu shrines and undertaking Hindu spiritual practices (or Buddhist or.....) if they had born to a Hindu family in Delhi or a Buddhist family in Viet Nam.

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