Religion For The Modern Era?

What do they believe? What do you think? Talk about religion as it exists today.
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Religion For The Modern Era?

Post by yakovzutolmai »

From time to time, people whose opinions are interesting to me, and seem well-informed, discuss the inevitability of new religious movements by the end of the 21st. I don't disagree, and I worry many will be reiterations of Hare Krishna like manias. Moonies and what have you. Yet, we see these didn't hold. What would hold? Perhaps something truly crazy. Perhaps something sane.

I don't think old religion will hold. It can resurge, look at the Taliban. But after the Taliban and Amish "win" the breeding wars, and the gentiles are gone, will the children of these groups really maintain the systems. It's fine if you're on a barren mountaintop. The fertile lands don't seem like they'd support old religion.

Then there's the bogeyman of "Luciferian Universal Religion". The planned Aquarian faith known for thousands of years, biding its time. Honestly, what could it possibly be that's novel? Say what you will about Christianity, for example, but it was the culmination of trends, not a diversion from them. Maybe Neoplatonic free love can rise again, but I doubt it will last.

Maybe we are in the "End of History" and consumerist agnosticism really is where it all ends. Tinder until wrinkles. Then a partner to have one point four kids with. Craven self-doubt for the remaining decades.

As for me, I have been developing a religious system that makes sense to me. It was born of American Unitarianism, but I can't suffer the bible as true, and wouldn't say therefore that I know a Jesus even as a philosophical abstraction. Maybe, maybe as that.

What I have concluded, two keystones of my ongoing quest for faith, are:
  • Thomas Reid of Common Sense Realism was the most correct about epistemology
  • Nihilism is correct, and meaning lies beyond it. Yes, this is very Daoist but sans the superstition that ruins Eastern thought
Reid, by solving Hume's problem through rejecting Locke's Platonism, describes an epistemology that is quite reminiscent of modern neural networks. When you have a set of similar patterns, and some features of those patterns repeat more commonly, and others more rarely, then you get a hierarchy which can make sense of chaos. Philosophy tries to build identity into reality, but reality doesn't provide that notion. Reality is a live feed of chaotic data. From that data, some patterns are more common, some are less. The ordering of these probabilities is the basis for knowledge. The philosopher is left to accept that reality is real, and that forms are not essential, but they can be useful. There is a hint of higher forms, but they are not part of the reality itself. In certain ways, reality contradicts them. Kurt Godel proved that even logic cannot suffer pure identity. We're slaves of the livestream. We will never be gods over reality.

As for Nihilism, one conclusion of human life is that a firm and final purpose of life cannot be identified. We cannot, logically or empirically, derive a "reason to live".

We should all subscribe to a service that will painlessly and unexpectedly kill us at a surprise moment starting from 5 years from now and extending to 15 years. We remove the dread and pain from death, and we find that we can't really argue for life. Treasures on earth turning to rust and all.

And yet, with no reason to live, we find an equality of souls. No one can argue for the importance of their life over another's. And if we choose to live, perhaps we are permitted to do so as an arbitrary gesture. There's no reason we can't. Logically, as long as equal weight is given to our assertion of our life's value as compared to the assertion of another to their life, then there's no problem. Here we have the beginnings of a moral science.

Yet, spiritually, why live? Instinct? So we can still apply reason, choose how much instinct means to us. Contextualize it scientifically.

Some treat emotionality as spirit. Nothing annoys me more. We all have emotions. They are tied to animal instincts. To be unaware that certain triggers and environments provoke emotion is held by most cultures to be childish. To exalt emotion as spirit is to reject man for the animal. Spirit is something else.

Is the desire to live emotional? Do emotions integrate instinct with a knowledge of meaning?

Consciousness is not explained by science. And science, per Common Sense Realism, cannot explain how or why reality exists. Other philosophies fall in on themselves by trying.

So, the possession of an awareness of the realness of life, the possession of a desire to live, is this not - if instinct and other context is accounted for - in and of itself a hint at greater meaning.

The evidence of faith. "I do not know why I want to live, but I do know that I want to live. I can explain why an animal would possess a desire to live, but I cannot explain how that desire and the world in which it exists could possibly be real." Thus, wanting to live must be an exercise of faith. And this faith is evidence of higher meaning.

If we understand meaning in this way, and attach inappropriate hopes and dreams - gods and ideas - to it, we err. It would be like idolatry.

However, if we embrace reason and science, reject rationalism and ego, perhaps there's a straightforward (if not challenging) middle ground.

Maybe religion is here.

And why couldn't Christ be an abstract token?

If meaning is the impossible factor, then how does nature react to it? How do our psyches react? And out of this reaction, is our spiritual philosophy. The structure of it. Abstractions can be given names, and these stories. Religion.

Maybe we need to open the books. Tao. Buddhism. Philo. Neoplatonism. Stoics. Shamans. Compare the notes. Get rid of the superstition and mental illness. Find the essential and common parts of the system. Make new names and stories. Something like that.

Then again, other efforts (Baha'i and the bizarre Uratu) have tried to be all things to all people. Maybe we need a simple "Neo-Unitarian" Christianity. Embrace the colonialist motifs. Gently commit to them, losing our shame that others can't because of their birth.

In any event, I wonder how the world's story will unfold.
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Re: Religion For The Modern Era?

Post by lpetrich »

SF in pseudoscience
SCIENCE FICTION AND RELIGION: It's not often appreciated how great an impact early science fiction has had on some well-known religions that developed in the past two centuries. Among them are Mormonism (circa 1830), Theosophy (1875) and Scientology (1950). It's well-known that the Book of Mormon incorporates an unpublished science-fantasy manuscript by Solomon Spalding. Madame H. P. Blavatski incorporated almost all the science-fictional themes current in 1875 into her wild synthesis of Theosophy. And L. Ron Hubbard was an established writer of pulp science fiction and fantasy when he put fiction aside to invent Dianetics and Scientology.
Looking over the sequence Mormonism - Theosophy - Scientology, the science-fiction content increases with time.

The Book of Mormon reads like some extra book of the Bible, but according to Mormon beliefs, if you are a very good Mormon, you may become a god of your own planet. You will have to create that planet, but once you do so, it's all yours.

Theosophy is more science-fictiony, even though HPB plagiarized Eastern religious texts very heavily.

Scientology is obviously very science-fictiony.
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Re: Religion For The Modern Era?

Post by billd89 »

Though Covid restrictions recently cut its membership in half, Alcoholics Anonymous is one cult/religion that pretends it's not.

Wonder where that came from ;)

Werner Jaeger taught at Harvard 1939-61, but he had trained Ludwig Edelstein at Berlin c.1923-5. If we want more insight on the 'music of the spheres' we must also consider Erich Frank and Karl Jaspers at Heidelberg c.1925-9.

It would be very useful to know who else Emma Jeanette Levy (Edelstein) studied under at Heidelberg (and wherever else) c.1925-30, since she was very interested in mystical Judaism and Hellenistic healing cults.
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Re: Religion For The Modern Era?

Post by Thomas R »

The Modern era already has a religion: Consumerism.


The New Age Oprah religion is the mystical/esoteric form of Consumerism.
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