Post Reply
Page 1 of 6  •  1 2 3 4 5 6 Next
Switch to Forum Live View Embracing uncertainty
2 years ago  ::  May 16, 2012 - 1:13PM #1
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,748
On the "What is the purpose of religion" thread (and thanks to all who participated there), several posters mentioned helping people deal with death (death of a loved one, our own inevitable deaths) as an important purpose of religion. Wavering (and maybe others) also pointed out that one of the original purposes of religion was to explain things in the natural world. Today science focuses on finding explanations for how the natural world works. Commonly there have been discussions on this board revolving around reliance on doctrine and dogma to get answers vs. personal practice, study, individual conscience, and so on. And, of course, the conflicts between science religion come up frequently as well.

So yesterday when I read this brief essay, I thought it addressed some of the things that have been discussed here. Comments welcome.
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 16, 2012 - 1:32PM #2
mokantx
Posts: 3,824

May 16, 2012 -- 1:13PM, newsjunkie wrote:

On the "What is the purpose of religion" thread (and thanks to all who participated there), several posters mentioned helping people deal with death (death of a loved one, our own inevitable deaths) as an important purpose of religion. Wavering (and maybe others) also pointed out that one of the original purposes of religion was to explain things in the natural world. Today science focuses on finding explanations for how the natural world works. Commonly there have been discussions on this board revolving around reliance on doctrine and dogma to get answers vs. personal practice, study, individual conscience, and so on. And, of course, the conflicts between science religion come up frequently as well.

So yesterday when I read this brief essay, I thought it addressed some of the things that have been discussed here. Comments welcome.



News


Thanks for the link to the essay.  I liked it (no surprise there).  Two thoughts popped to mind.


First, is that spirituality strikes me as a journey, and as such, it is and MUST be a journey wherein we grapple with the constant change of what we understand, and how to apply it.  I liked the concept of mystery, and I think the author did that well.  Where religion (in my opinion) often breaks down, is that it tries to codify what it declares as truths. The minute you do that, you've dropped an anchor, and made what is effectively a statement that you are unwilling to accept change on that topic.  While I certainly understand the allure of that, I also think it is a mistake.  This is why I continue to call for a constant reevaluation of everything the church teaches, in light of what we know today (versus when this truth was declared...)  The church has a mechanism for this (typically calls it something aking to "reaching a deeper understanding"), but it is highly selective as to when this will and will not be allowed.  A classic example of this is the RCC's teaching on abc, wherein the vast majority of the laity has said "no" to the church's formal teaching, yet those at the top refuse to take another look.  That rigidity has cost the church on many levels.


The second thought, as I read this, is that I think there is room for science AND theology.  I think religions have severely stymied theological growth in recent centuries, which might explain why science and scientific method has all but eclipsed much of religion among the educated.  But it need not be that way.  I think cutting theologians loose, to go where their minds may take them, and putting that stuff out on the web for discussion, has the potential to draw, within a decade or less, much of the same kind of energy and intellectual excitement that science enjoys today.  In an ideal world, I'd LOVE to see that happen, because we'd all gain.  Let the theologians figure out how to work what science learns, into an evolving understanding of God, and I think we'd surprise ourselves as to just how far this could go. 



Again, thanks: enjoyed the article.


mo

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 16, 2012 - 2:04PM #3
Buggsy
Posts: 4,731

Good article - seems to support what I was trying to get at in post #6 in What is the Purpose of Religion


Mo


I like mystery as well.  But not when one mystery is used to explain another mystery.  It tends to confuse an already confusing or mysterious notion.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 16, 2012 - 2:15PM #4
mokantx
Posts: 3,824

May 16, 2012 -- 2:04PM, Buggsy wrote:


Good article - seems to support what I was trying to get at in post #6 in What is the Purpose of Religion


Mo


I like mystery as well.  But not when one mystery is used to explain another mystery.  It tends to confuse an already confusing or mysterious notion.




Buggs



cute!


I think all too often, the term "mystery" becomes a blanket under which folks like to sweep inconvenient truths or suspicions, and to kill all further discussion on the matter.  Because I don't know how the laptop I'm using works as I type this, does not really make this a true "mystery."  It more than likely means I've just not done the leg work to find out.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 16, 2012 - 2:18PM #5
StephenK.Adams
Posts: 1,946

On this particular topic, my point of view is simply this:


Each succeeding generation builds a platform of new knowledge upon which those who are young, or are yet to be born, must attempt to construct even higher platforms of knowledge.   The more one tends to understand about life in general, the more one becomes convinced that the unknown is even greater than what one's previous level of knowledge seemed to imply.


Rather than become depressed or disillusioned with the unending requirements for more knowledge, I think if you really dissect this problem correctly, you come to the unmistakable conclusion that life indeed is a glorious adventure and seeking more knowledge provides it's own, --- more than adequate reward.  

We have nothing to fear except our lack of understanding of fear itself.
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 16, 2012 - 3:15PM #6
Buggsy
Posts: 4,731

May 16, 2012 -- 2:18PM, StephenK.Adams wrote:


life indeed is a glorious adventure and seeking more knowledge provides it's own, --- more than adequate reward.  




Steve


At the risk of sounding like I disagree with you because in many respects I agree with the above . . it sounds very elitist and something reserved only for the philosopher kings of Plato's Republic. The great hoards of minions and peons below the pinnacle of the pyramid have very little time for that, given that they / we are preoccupied with labouring and producing profits for the few who have the leisure to pursue knowledge for its own sake.


The great bulk of humanity, at any given moment in time (past, present and likely the future), live in poverty and starvation where the pursuit of knowledge is little more than wondering where their next meal will come from - if it comes at all . . .  or how long they have to live - if they're lucky enough even to wonder.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 16, 2012 - 3:46PM #7
Buggsy
Posts: 4,731

May 16, 2012 -- 2:15PM, mokantx wrote:


I think all too often, the term "mystery" becomes a blanket under which folks like to sweep inconvenient truths or suspicions, and to kill all further discussion on the matter.




Take for instance the great pyramids of ancient Egypt.  The simplest explanation, that the ancients had the wisdom and technology to build these tombs and that the understanding has been forgotten and lost in a great cataclysm or upheavel, has been replaced with theories of space alien builders of particle beam weapons or a star-gate or a great energy factory, or underground civilisations, etc - the list is endless.  Orthodox Egyptology continues to publish in academic journals and produce explanations consistent with reason and evidence. 


Yet large segments of the reading public seem to be attracted to the mysterious explanation and more so to mysteries that explain the mysteries.


Mystery, mysticism, superstition and irrationalism always wins out over reason.  Or so it seems.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 16, 2012 - 4:09PM #8
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,748

Thanks for the comments.


I really struggle when I teach about science to get students to see that scientific understandings or explanations are always tentative. The students are used to having it presented as all facts. This is the Bible Belt, and many of the students from fundamentalist backgrounds upon hearing about uncertainties say, well, I know the Truth, so what good is science? I've had one student, in writing an essay about evolution, say that his religion tells him he can't even consider the notion that evolution might have occurred, that simply entertaining the notion is an indication of a grievous lack of faith.


Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 16, 2012 - 4:17PM #9
Buggsy
Posts: 4,731

May 16, 2012 -- 4:09PM, newsjunkie wrote:


The students are used to having it presented as all facts. . . .  I've had one student, in writing an essay about evolution, say that his religion tells him he can't even consider the notion that evolution might have occurred, that simply entertaining the notion is an indication of a grievous lack of faith.




Here's a good example of just what you're saying: www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4Ald5f_nao


O_o


(I get the feeling O'Reilly is trying to make Christians look stupid.  I know lots of people who believe in creative design that don't go on like this bozo)

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 12:45PM #10
StephenK.Adams
Posts: 1,946

May 16, 2012 -- 3:15PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 16, 2012 -- 2:18PM, StephenK.Adams wrote:


life indeed is a glorious adventure and seeking more knowledge provides it's own, --- more than adequate reward.  




Steve


At the risk of sounding like I disagree with you because in many respects I agree with the above . . it sounds very elitist and something reserved only for the philosopher kings of Plato's Republic. The great hoards of minions and peons below the pinnacle of the pyramid have very little time for that, given that they / we are preoccupied with labouring and producing profits for the few who have the leisure to pursue knowledge for its own sake.


The great bulk of humanity, at any given moment in time (past, present and likely the future), live in poverty and starvation where the pursuit of knowledge is little more than wondering where their next meal will come from - if it comes at all . . .  or how long they have to live - if they're lucky enough even to wonder.




Thanks for your valuable comments Buggsy.  I suppose my ability to communicate my thoughts lucidly are not as clear as I perceived them to be.  I am not talking about "pie in the sky" knowledge, but rather the kind of knowledge that would make the common pursuits that all of us must embrace that much easier to be successful at.


With 7 billion people on the face of the earth, there are countless. or even endless, acheivements that must be successfully embraced to feed and cloth them.  We must learn to  provide a decent level of interpersonal relationships with each other.  Undoubtedly, we are not currently providing the harmony between all peoples, that we are capable of achieving.   As I said in the book that I sent you, we must increase our knowledge so that the symphony of life will not contain so many unbearable sounds.


You are absolutely right about the billionaires in our midst.   Unchecked capitalism is slowly put surely bringing us back to the conditions prevalent in the French revolution where the peasants slaughtered the nobles.  Let's hope history does not repeat itself in the not too distant future.


 





We have nothing to fear except our lack of understanding of fear itself.
Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 1 of 6  •  1 2 3 4 5 6 Next
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook