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What is religion

Good4Nothin

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The word "religion" is often used to refer to the major organized Western religions. Is that really an accurate or useful way of defining religion?

Most of us here probably belong to Western civilization, and therefore we might forget that our species evolved for a very long time before Western civilization existed. And religious practices have probably been around as long as our species.

I would define religion as all practices involving interaction with the spirit (super-physical) worlds. That would include prayer and meditation in all its aspects (trance states, visions, chanting, dancing, drumming, etc.). And it would include rituals (magic).

If you believe there are super-physical worlds, and beings, above or beyond the world of our senses, then I would say you are religious.

The word "religion" means to "reconnect" or "retie." The assumption is that we experience some kind of disconnection in our earthly life.

I often hear people say they are not religious, but they are "spiritual." What I think they actually mean is that they are religious, but they don't follow any of the major Western religions.
 

ipsofacto

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"If you believe there are super-physical worlds, and beings, above or beyond the world of our senses, then I would say you are religious."

I tend to believe there is no purely physical world and no purely mental or intellectual world.
 

Good4Nothin

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"If you believe there are super-physical worlds, and beings, above or beyond the world of our senses, then I would say you are religious."

I tend to believe there is no purely physical world and no purely mental or intellectual world.

"Physical" would have to be defined. I define it as the world perceived by our senses. And our instruments.

I believe the "physical" world is made out of information, and information is what intelligence is made of.

According to some modern physicists, our "physical" world unfolds from the "higher" super-physical levels.
 

ipsofacto

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"Physical" would have to be defined. I define it as the world perceived by our senses. And our instruments.

I believe the "physical" world is made out of information, and information is what intelligence is made of.

According to some modern physicists, our "physical" world unfolds from the "higher" super-physical levels.



What physicist talks of "super-physical levels?"
 

stevecanuck

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The word "religion" is often used to refer to the major organized Western religions. Is that really an accurate or useful way of defining religion?

Most of us here probably belong to Western civilization, and therefore we might forget that our species evolved for a very long time before Western civilization existed. And religious practices have probably been around as long as our species.

I would define religion as all practices involving interaction with the spirit (super-physical) worlds. That would include prayer and meditation in all its aspects (trance states, visions, chanting, dancing, drumming, etc.). And it would include rituals (magic).

If you believe there are super-physical worlds, and beings, above or beyond the world of our senses, then I would say you are religious.

The word "religion" means to "reconnect" or "retie." The assumption is that we experience some kind of disconnection in our earthly life.

I often hear people say they are not religious, but they are "spiritual." What I think they actually mean is that they are religious, but they don't follow any of the major Western religions.

Yup, I agree with everything you said. I would go one step further and label all religious belief superstition.
 

Angel

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The word "religion" is often used to refer to the major organized Western religions. Is that really an accurate or useful way of defining religion?

Most of us here probably belong to Western civilization, and therefore we might forget that our species evolved for a very long time before Western civilization existed. And religious practices have probably been around as long as our species.

I would define religion as all practices involving interaction with the spirit (super-physical) worlds. That would include prayer and meditation in all its aspects (trance states, visions, chanting, dancing, drumming, etc.). And it would include rituals (magic).

If you believe there are super-physical worlds, and beings, above or beyond the world of our senses, then I would say you are religious.

The word "religion" means to "reconnect" or "retie." The assumption is that we experience some kind of disconnection in our earthly life.

I often hear people say they are not religious, but they are "spiritual." What I think they actually mean is that they are religious, but they don't follow any of the major Western religions.
I not only agree with every word of your wonderful post, but I applaud it heartily, the post as a whole, as a welcome breath of fresh air amid the stale miasma of New Atheist simplisms and stultifying disinformation -- a breath of rationality amid the irrational bigotry of beliefs borrowed from a cowardly reaction to religion on the part of educated men who should know better and their minions who don't know any better.

Welcome to DP!
 

zyzygy

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A crutch for people who cannot cope with reality.
 

Good4Nothin

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And what is this reality of which you speak and with which I, according to you, cannot cope?

Maybe he is referring to the "reality" of dogmatic atheism.
 

stevecanuck

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And what is this reality of which you speak and with which I, according to you, cannot cope?

Allow me to interject. To me, the one reality that the religious can't cope with is certain mortality. The offer of eternal life on a different plane is just too tempting for most people to turn down. Islam REALLY pushes it. Our life on earth, hardly even a blip when compared to eternity, is just an audition for the "real" call-back known as Judgement Day.
 

Angel

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Allow me to interject. To me, the one reality that the religious can't cope with is certain mortality. The offer of eternal life on a different plane is just too tempting for most people to turn down. Islam REALLY pushes it. Our life on earth, hardly even a blip when compared to eternity, is just an audition for the "real" call-back known as Judgement Day.
Can't argue with death as a reality in which all living things are involved, but the fear of death is answered in vegetative life by tropisms and regeneration, in non-human living things by the survival instinct, and in human life by regeneration, instinct and rationality; and it is arguable that religion is the rational part of the answer for human life. To my mind these answers, at the vegetative, lower-animal, and human forms of life are just what zyzygy denies them to be, i.e., coping mechanisms. Religion, on this view, helps Man cope with reality.
 

stevecanuck

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Can't argue with death as a reality in which all living things are involved, but the fear of death is answered in vegetative life by tropisms and regeneration, in non-human living things by the survival instinct, and in human life by regeneration, instinct and rationality; and it is arguable that religion is the rational part of the answer for human life. To my mind these answers, at the vegetative, lower-animal, and human forms of life are just what zyzygy denies them to be, i.e., coping mechanisms. Religion, on this view, helps Man cope with reality.

I would say that religion does not help man to cope with reality (death being a return to pre-birth non-existence) but to deny it.
 

Good4Nothin

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Allow me to interject. To me, the one reality that the religious can't cope with is certain mortality. The offer of eternal life on a different plane is just too tempting for most people to turn down. Islam REALLY pushes it. Our life on earth, hardly even a blip when compared to eternity, is just an audition for the "real" call-back known as Judgement Day.

And I suppose people believe in Hell because they find the idea of eternal torture so comforting?
 

Dragonfly

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What is religion

Religion provides answers to every question that otherwise couldn't be answered.

Unfortunately religion also separates, denigrates, belittles, lies, and provides platforms for abuse, hatred, and in many cases throughout history, murder.
 

zyzygy

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Religion provides answers to every question that otherwise couldn't be answered.

Unfortunately religion also separates, denigrates, belittles, lies, and provides platforms for abuse, hatred, and in many cases throughout history, murder.

Alleged answers.
 

Angel

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I would say that religion does not help man to cope with reality (death being a return to pre-birth non-existence) but to deny it.
And I would say that that denial implies knowledge of that which is denied, as the unknown can hardly be sensibly denied, but beyond the cessation of a brief physical existence no one knows what death entails, whether it be a return, a translation, or oblivion, and so I would say that by and large religion doesn't deny the only thing known about death, namely, that it is the cessation of a brief physical existence, but rather helps doomed man to cope rationally with his undeniable fate by way of imagination and faith.
 

Angel

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Religion provides answers to every question that otherwise couldn't be answered.

Unfortunately religion also separates, denigrates, belittles, lies, and provides platforms for abuse, hatred, and in many cases throughout history, murder.
Unfortunately politics "also separates, denigrates, belittles, lies, and provides platforms for abuse, hatred, and in many cases throughout history, murder."
Unfortunately psychology "also separates, denigrates, belittles, lies, and provides platforms for abuse, hatred, and in many cases throughout history, murder."
Unfortunately ethnocentrism "also separates, denigrates, belittles, lies, and provides platforms for abuse, hatred, and in many cases throughout history, murder."
Unfortunately culture "also separates, denigrates, belittles, lies, and provides platforms for abuse, hatred, and in many cases throughout history, murder."

Hey, maybe it's human nature you should be grousing about!
 
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