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How religion works, or doesn't.

How religion works, or doesn't.
November 13, 2013, 06:27:30 PM
People consume religions, like they consume everything else. Expecting some return on their investment, or to otherwise profit from it.
Approaching religion, or any esoteric belief-system in this way, guarantees it will be a flop. It simply isn't how it works.
It is about service, not consumption. It is a way of life, not a product.

One must prostrate oneself, absolutely passively, before reality, and allow reality to be absorbed into oneself, in order for any of it to make any sense. One may, barely, be able to order oneself, but one's ability to impose order stops there. For as long as one considers life to be about oneself, one is going to continue pissing in the wind.

It is a subtle thing. The subtlest of things. One must become neutral and open, expecting no return. A tool, rather than the one wielding it. A willing minion, rather than a tin god.

One serves. It does not serve one.

And if one is able to become such a beast, then paradox asserts itself, and one is served, by It, in ways unimaginable to the one who expects to be served.

Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 15, 2013, 06:03:02 PM
Isn't it easier to say that religion is shared mystical experience. Theology codifies these into abstract theories. This is usually where people struggle with religion in understanding, application and relevance.

Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 15, 2013, 06:15:05 PM
Good point.
I was referring to religion as one's personal involvement with the Divine, as opposed to a bunch of people all chanting the same thing. I could have been clearer.
One size rarely fits all, and even if it does, it doesn't fit all at the same time.

I bought a foam-filled wheelbarrow tire recently, guaranteed to fit any wheelbarrow.
Of course, 'fit' is a relative term. The wheel now wobbles loosely upon its axle, and I imagine 'one size fits all' really means 'one size fits none', at least not very well


Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 15, 2013, 06:30:11 PM
This isnt really related, but I have never been given a satisfactory definition of religion. Any defintion must encompass the reality of history (religion precedes agriculture and all known society, all societies develop religion). Every non-religious approach at least sees religion at a level which I feel is far, far, far too superficial (old sneaky guyz want da powerz). The religious ones are too specific (Jesus is Lord). The mystical ones were decent, but fall short of every actual religion.

The answer is I think, in a synthesis. Religion is physically something, it is a property of the human consciousness. It is metaphysically something, it binds humans towards purposes beyond the individual. It is mystically something, it is a glimpse inwards yet everywhere. I think we will be able to make that synthesis once there is some ground broken on the physical side, because what I mentioned above is my personal view.

I disagree that people consume religions as described, at least in general. That is the behaviour of the religion-less who want religion (or some of it at least). They flit between beliefs as if they are shelf product. But people who are actually religious are not like this at all, hell, if they were like that they would probably be irreligious by definition.

Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 16, 2013, 12:33:50 AM
Create moral values, from a outside vision.

Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 16, 2013, 01:13:57 AM
Create moral values, from a outside vision.


That's a bit ambiguous. Outside of what? One's own idea of morality?
Certainly religion - among other things - supplies a validity to the morals it encourages.
Some people claim that religion is nothing to do with an individual having morals, but experience shows that this is probably not the case. At least, not for most.


Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 16, 2013, 03:10:09 AM
Without a belief in God, morality becomes meaningless.

Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 16, 2013, 03:36:59 AM
Good point.
I was referring to religion as one's personal involvement with the Divine, as opposed to a bunch of people all chanting the same thing. I could have been clearer.
One size rarely fits all, and even if it does, it doesn't fit all at the same time.

I bought a foam-filled wheelbarrow tire recently, guaranteed to fit any wheelbarrow.
Of course, 'fit' is a relative term. The wheel now wobbles loosely upon its axle, and I imagine 'one size fits all' really means 'one size fits none', at least not very well.

I would refer to what you describe as a spiritual experience, not to play semantics, but to distinguish between group and individual participation. My only true experience with the divine was entirely unprovoked, unsought. It simply happened. No chanting and no ritual. It was only after that experience that I began to see the value in the group experience we can call religion.

Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 16, 2013, 03:41:53 AM
Well, I had you figured for someone who had known some sort of profound spiritual experience.


Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 16, 2013, 04:02:52 AM
Unsurprisingly, it didn't teach me jack about morality.

Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 19, 2013, 04:25:20 AM
You cannot approach religion with the idea of building an account to please God, though God is pleased and loves effort and trying to do better.  All of our striving and good deeds while they may have an altruistic and collective benefit are for us (we who do them), but if the intention is wrong, it will instead lead to naught but despair and agony in the end.  Nevertheless, God is Merciful, hence a great man said "Our God is too generous to require an economy of salvation."

This is why we are both the vicegerent and the slave (collectively) to God.  The very essence of the whole of the universe in all its functions, laws, and contradictions to the laws, in its chaos, and its order, is its submission.  This submission is also its rejoicing and pride.  So are we called to always be in remembrance in The One.

It requires humility and the building of an inner fortitude: an amor fati we call sabr.

Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 19, 2013, 12:11:43 PM
My view is that religion requires two things: a lack of hubris and a sense of vir.

Hubris is where we place ourselves before reality. It's what most people do, to deny death and powerlessness.

Vir is a masculine warlike assertiveness toward a sense of order. This means, among other things, that religion and life must be synchronized. Religion is not separate from reality.

If one combines these two, humility and arrogance become a third thing that is in unison.

This is the eternal religion of all intelligent beings.

Re: How religion works, or doesn't.
November 21, 2013, 07:27:34 AM
My view is that religion requires two things: a lack of hubris and a sense of vir.

Hubris is where we place ourselves before reality. It's what most people do, to deny death and powerlessness.

Vir is a masculine warlike assertiveness toward a sense of order. This means, among other things, that religion and life must be synchronized. Religion is not separate from reality.

If one combines these two, humility and arrogance become a third thing that is in unison.

This is the eternal religion of all intelligent beings.

Right. You explain well the sense in which I thought Crow's original formulation of good religion was too passive, in a sense, without this anti-passiveness becoming ego worship: it must be directed to ends that are, in some sense, not your own.

Of course, this will be a matter of great interpretation for different people, hence some of the conflicts in history.

But there is a similar underlying theory, despite the differences, which you outline well.