Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Religion"?

If Dawkins et al insist with their zeal to promote evolutionary theory as an inherently atheistic doctrine - which could be construed as a matter of faith - he may well be handing a rope to the creationist brigades. The US First Amendment forbids the teaching of faith in schools and it would be at least ironical if the creationists could use that to evict Darwin from the classroom.
I've only just noticed that ironic spectre, which appeared at the close of Tristan's Religion advances despite science (and thanks to Dawkins) (13/9/2007, Science), and which raises the question, what is religion? Defining religion (8/7/2007, Religious Tolerance) is surprisingly difficult (it's fortunately clearer that evolutionary theory is just applied maths:) but as Kile says:
For Schleiermacher the sine qua non of religion was experience; a vibrant, deep, and transcendent feeling of the divine which caused him to define religion as "absolute dependence". This feeling of dependence is what Schleiermacher sees in all of the world religions as the tremendous sensation invoked at the thought of standing before what is Supreme in the universe.
What I especially like about that definition is that it excludes the socio-political aspects of organised religions, except insofar as they are media for numinous experiences (since that was always a good distinction to draw:)
......Ironically, the etymology of "religion" suggests that the sciences—the study of Creation if we've a Creator, and if not then the study of what is Supreme in the universe—might be counted amongst the religions (even though they aren't inherently atheistic, and atheism isn't a religion, although it is a belief that isn't empirically justified); as Jung says:

Religion appears to me to be a peculiar attitude of the mind which could be formulated in accordance with the original use of the word religio, which means a careful consideration and observation of certain dynamic factors that are conceived as "powers": spirits, demons, gods, laws, ideas, ideals, or whatever name man has given to such factors in his world as he has found powerful, dangerous, or helpful enough to be taken into careful consideration, or grand, beautiful, and meaningful enough to be devoutly worshiped and loved.

2 comments:

Todd said...

http://www.nycskeptics.org/node/57

Should be of interest....

Enigman said...

Yesterday's post by John Wilkins was much more interesting.