The Role of Religion | INFJ Forum

The Role of Religion

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by The_Mysterious_Stranger, Nov 18, 2019.

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  1. The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    With all the criticism of religion from people like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Bill Nye, could not one argue that people still value religion and that it plays a role/function in society? One argue that religion sometimes makes people less empathetic like during mass shootings in recent times, with evangelical Christian organizations supporting Trump. Religion evolved as a way for Homo sapiens to have a hopeful vision as team players to build a meaningful life against the horrors of the unknown, dark, wild, immoral world. However, religions like Christianity teach people ethics, philosophy, and music in a simple way for people to understand. The Catholic Church developed large part of the tradition of education to what it is today. Peaceful religions like Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Taoism, and Shinto teach people disciplined routine, a "battle rhythm."

    Could one argue that religion makes humans more aware to set higher standards of a culture of morality, sophistication and dignity rather than toxic, hedonistic things like antisocial behavior/crime (like "me too" situations, mass shootings theft), some Pop music, porn, junk food, drugs, promiscuity, and alcohol? Also, the impulsive war mongering politicians that initiate wars like Vietnam and Iraq. Why does western civilization leave elderly and other family members alone and in East Asian countries the family stays together? People are likely to be vulnerable to these things with how loosely public education is with all the breaks, etc. I turn on the TV since the early 2000s and I see all these dumb shows related to "pop" culture like MTV show like Teen Mom, reality TV like Jersey Shore, TMZ following celebrities acting stupid. I frankly find it disturbing how popular porn has evolved on the internet, taking advantage of perhaps low/average agreeable IQ people (listed on the most visited sites on the internet, like this toxic slime seeping secretly underneath society) I know sites were created by some geek behind a computer to make fun of religion, but it is disturbing how people make themselves vulnerable to the world, like a virus that has spread? I find myself lucky that I wasn't pressured into any of those toxic situations to make me vulnerable like that, to perhaps PTSD.

    It seems that religion plays a role for people to search for meaning, be a conscientious, dignified person, and set goals. Finally, if religion inspired much of past architecture, music, art, science, and education, couldn't we acknowledge the role all religions play in civilization, to distinguish humans from savage animals? Religion has made the average person aware of ethics, dignity of human life, and the value of science and to follow gifted people in the leadership they provide to research and development.
     
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    #1 The_Mysterious_Stranger, Nov 18, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
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  2. Hostarius

    Hostarius τέλος

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    Yes, of course.

    I would say that this categorically isn't true. Rather, religion seemed to play a pivotal role in giving early communities of Homo sapiens the shared vision to out-compete Homo neanderthalensis in Europe, for instance; at least that's the current line in anthropology. Religion made us better team players; it bonded us and gave us hope with meaning, in addition to making us more psychologically robust against the existential horrors of mortality. The power that attached to witch doctors and holy men was more a bi-product rather than a root cause of religion.

    This is true, at least in the West.

    This is not true. If you mean by 'church' the place of worship, then 'churches' predate capitalism by a long margin; if you mean 'Church' in the ecclesiological sense of the somewhat organised body of the faithful, then this too predated capitalism. Churches did not co-evolve with capitalism.

    Almost anything could give someone more dignity than the things you listed; washing the pots, for instance, or polishing a nice pair of boots. Could you refine this point?

    I'm not sure I share a lot of your fears here, but I think it's true that modern Western culture lacks appropriately formal or sacral spaces within which to convey moral teaching - whatever your belief system, human beings remain finely attuned to the 'sacred' and more modern attempts to produce a secular version of this fall somewhat flat. Dawkins himself came close with his awestruck sense of nature's 'grandeur', but unless this can be more explicitly tied to human meaning, it does not reproduce the role of religion. The fact is that we need the sacred in our lives; we need the sacrosanct and the grave and the dignified, so religion will continue to play a role until we can come up with an adequate secular formulation of the same.
     
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  3. OP
    The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    Not so much a fear, just an observation. Should free countries aspire to create a civilization of higher standards of work ethic, meaning, and culture? Do all the religions play apart in that? Though at the end of the day, to each their own when it comes to the individual.
     
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    The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    Negative aspects of religion include: divisiveness, extremism, dogma, control, lack of empathy, shaming people when people make mistakes, prejudice of LGBTQ
     
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  5. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    Religion maintains stability, however, not in the absence of a state.
     
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  6. Cornerstone

    Cornerstone Well-known member

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    There's a couple of post-Jungian books I like on this topic. The New God Image and, I think, The Creation of Consciousness, both by Edward Edinger.

    It might be Ego and Archetype or Anatomy of the Psyche though. They're also by him but I'm never sure which one this particular bit is from.

    The essential point comes down to whether you're talking about dogmatic religion or religious experience. The former prevents the latter and the latter elucidates the former. It also ties in nicely with the two main etymologies of the word 'religion'. One means 'to bind', the other means 'to pay attention to...spiritual things'. I can't remember exactly how he puts it but in essence, it is the phenomena that are experienced as originating on the periphery of, or outside, 'normal' conscious awareness.
     
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  7. Aneirin

    Aneirin AKA, David. . feel free to use it, I do
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    Then there is faith, and discipleship. .religion is a whole different animal. If you are into Christian traditions, I would direct you to the writings of Keith Giles. . on how "the church" has misdirected the faithful and twisted the truth of God to suit other agendas. . of how the bible is a book, not "God's word", but a book. Religion has brought great evil to the world, and is used today to forward political ideas that have nothing to do with faith. Religion is so often used to oppress, and justify that oppression.. The bible is used to promote topics that are not even mentioned in it's pages.
     
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  8. java

    java Community Member

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    Not sure I agree with your conclusion. I grew up in a completly secular family and a relatively secular society, and I've often felt that it was the other way around. That through the centuries and generational cycles, human nature and morality gave standards to religion, and that it was religion who had to adapt and change. Or maybe religion is an expression of it, like a mold where human nature, at a given time, leaves its print.

    Some extreme people say, "if we had no religion, then we would steal everything, kill all people who get in our way and just do whatever we want". Really? Give it a shot, there are countless features of your being that might surprise you, deeper and older than language, than whatever goes on in your conscious, intellectual experience.

    It's not religion that defines morality, it's the millions of years of primate history, of being a fragile, slow and strange mammal who had no choice but to be a team player and be aware of the sufferings of others.
     
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    The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    Another negative aspect of religion: reduces curiosity
     
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  10. Jonah Caan

    Jonah Caan Community Member

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    For me, religion is like a mirror; people take and receive what they're drawn to from it. On some it reflects good and others, evil.

    I think blaming religion is masking the problem; people are the problem.
     
  11. java

    java Community Member

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    Yes, very well said!
     
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    The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    Oh did I mention, last negative thing: predator priests. But now there are "checks and balances" to avoid that.
     
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    The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    The biggest role of religion seems to be Mindfulness Meditation and Philosophy
     
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  14. just me

    just me GONE

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    Dignity. Explain dignity in the NT.
     
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  15. just me

    just me GONE

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    People, in general, are not the problem. Sin, in and of itself, is not the problem. Sin is a stepping stone for some folk, and a stone around the neck for others. People can be wonderful or be horrible; some, just sitting on the fence.
     
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  16. Fuyuko

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    I tend to think of religion in positive terms. I think it's an expression of the human mind in that the creation of it was to answer questions beyond the scope of reason or science; and also to provide a general worldview that made life relatively easy to swallow and digest as a whole. Whether such a thing is necessary or unnecessary is ultimately irrelevant for me. It provides a more or less complete picture of reality, whereas reason and science can only provide a spotty and incomprehensibly complex mess of a puzzle. The effect of religion on the mind is infinitely superior to the effect of reason and science on the mind because of this.
     
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  17. Hostarius

    Hostarius τέλος

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    Strong post.
     
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  18. Fuyuko

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    Thanks. I do my best.
     
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  19. Zola

    Zola Regular Poster

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    Many people need institutions to standardize and perpetuate sets of belief and behavior. Religion does so by providing dogma, ritual, and community. I'd like to think that we can move beyond the need for institutions by choosing a lifestyle that incorporates love and respect in lieu of "having a religion."

    For me, the shortcoming of modern religion has been its "human-centric" focus. Most religions value people over all else. What about plants, animals, land, sky, and water? Look at the mess people have made of the Earth. I'm not advocating a return to primitive superstitions, though. Religion needs to evolve. I'd rather see science and spirituality prove each other some day.

    Meanwhile, I'm done with financially supporting institutions and adhering to dogmas. My spiritual quest has become individual at this point.
     
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  20. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    Would you not say that, rather than superior, it is fundamentally of a different nature?

    How would you measure the effect of religion on the mind versus the effect of science? It seems to me an impossible endeavour.
     
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