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What is a religion?

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What is a religion?
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MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post What is a religion?

I'll begin by noting that all religions are founded on a belief in an order that is not signed or legislated by humans or any animate beings, this being called a super-human order.
Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:57 am
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3485Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

AronRa wrote:Religion: A doctrine of ritual traditions, ceremonies, mythology, and associated dogma of a faith-based belief system which posits a posthumous promise, that some element of ‘self’ (be it a soul, consciousness, or memories, etc.) may, in some sense, continue beyond the death of the physical being.
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Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:06 am
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MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Is any belief in super-human order implied in that definition?
Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:46 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:Is any belief in super-human order implied in that definition?



Aron Ra's definition is a very good one from any academic perspective and covers all bases both for extent religions and for proto-religions such as animism. Personally, I'd add in a few more components such as symbols, origin narratives, conceptual divisions of sacred and profane etc. but he's nailed the core parts.

No super-human is required for a religion. Not even supernatural need be appealed to.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:52 pm
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

I actually said 'super-human order' not just 'super-human', that is an order not signed or legislated by humans, or for that matter, any flesh-and-blood beings.

This is why sports don't count as religions. Each sport game has many laws, rights and rituals and a lot of emotions are involved in professional sport. But how it differs from a religion is that it is always acknowledged, even among the most die-hard fans, that flesh-and-blood beings, in this case, humans, invented every sport.
And the rules of each official sport can be changed at any time by some international association. For example, the FIFA has the power to change the rules at any time, such as the size of the goal or the offside rule. It's obvious enough that people invented each sport game and can change the rules as they like, it's not a religion.

If you look Christianity, Judaism or Islam, they are all founded on a belief in a superhuman order, this being an order created by the common god in which they all believe. But Buddhism, in its purest form, is a religion without a god, or at least one where that gives gods little importance.
Buddhists believe in a superhuman order of natural laws that apply everywhere at all times. For example, craving always leads to suffering just as in physics, object A exerting a force on object B always leads to object B exerting an equal and opposite force on object A.
Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:14 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:I actually said 'super-human order' not just 'super-human', that is an order not signed or legislated by humans, or for that matter, any flesh-and-blood beings.


I appreciate that but the concept of a 'super-human order' is necessarily predicated on 'super-human' - some agency greater than humans generating order - so if there's none of the latter, then there can be none of the former.

If you treat 'super-human order' to be anything external to human capacity or human agency (i.e chemistry) rather than entailing a being generating that order, then you basically start down the path towards atheism, materialism, science as a religion, because all accept that there is an order to things which humans didn't create but which humans are subject to.

That's why I don't think it's a good definition because it doesn't actually result in any explanatory specificity and contradicts its own remit.

I think one cannot define a religion wholly in abstract, conceptual terms - it must contain the practices associated with religions too.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:50 pm
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Sparhafoc wrote:I appreciate that but the concept of a 'super-human order' is necessarily predicated on 'super-human' - some agency greater than humans generating order - so if there's none of the latter, then there can be none of the former.

As I said above, superhuman simply means not signed or legislated by humans, or any other flesh-and-blood beings, you know, like the law of god, or natural laws.
Also, I didn't actually define religion, I said that all religions are founded on a belief in a superhuman order, hoping that any definition given would include being founded on a belief in such an order.

Sparhafoc wrote:If you treat 'super-human order' to be anything external to human capacity or human agency (i.e chemistry) rather than entailing a being generating that order, then you basically start down the path towards atheism, materialism, science as a religion, because all accept that there is an order to things which humans didn't create but which humans are subject to.

Yes, indeed laws of science are superhuman, because no flesh-and-blood beings can change them, no such beings created them, even machines can't change them. More below.

Sparhafoc wrote:That's why I don't think it's a good definition because it doesn't actually result in any explanatory specificity and contradicts its own remit.

I think one cannot define a religion wholly in abstract, conceptual terms - it must contain the practices associated with religions too.

This is why no theorem or scientific theory is a religion, mathematicians and scientists may believe them, and have very good reasons to believe them, but no practices of the sort associated with religions are derived from them. No doctrine of rules, values, rituals or ceremonies are based on those natural laws.

A religion must believe in a superhuman order, but must be more than just belief in that order.
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:32 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatar
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Post Re: What is a religion?

Greetings,

Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:If you treat 'super-human order' to be anything external to human capacity or human agency (i.e chemistry) rather than entailing a being generating that order, then you basically start down the path towards atheism, materialism, science as a religion, because all accept that there is an order to things which humans didn't create but which humans are subject to.

Yes, indeed laws of science are superhuman, because no flesh-and-blood beings can change them, no such beings created them, even machines can't change them. More below.

This doesn't make sense.

"Laws of science" are not superhuman, since humans decide what is a scientific "law": we infer relationships in Nature, which are then called "laws". They are not necessarily absolute - they are merely based on current evidence. If further evidence shows that the relationship is not as it appears, then the "law" is no longer considered to be such.

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:03 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:I appreciate that but the concept of a 'super-human order' is necessarily predicated on 'super-human' - some agency greater than humans generating order - so if there's none of the latter, then there can be none of the former.


As I said above, superhuman simply means not signed or legislated by humans, or any other flesh-and-blood beings, you know, like the law of god, or natural laws.


So then Chemistry could be considered a religion?

As I said, that then is not a useful definition of a religion in any way I can see as it lacks the exclusivity you've awarded it.


Myrtonos wrote: Also, I didn't actually define religion, I said that all religions are founded on a belief in a superhuman order, hoping that any definition given would include being founded on a belief in such an order.


Still presents problems for me regarding your definitional question of the thread, firstly because the vast majority of things in the universe are 'superhuman' according to what you've said, but they're not religions meaning it's hard to employ this to get at what a religion actually is. I get what you're trying to say, though, but as I mentioned - I don't think religions can be defined purely in terms of concept - they are practices.



Myrtonos wrote:Yes, indeed laws of science are superhuman, because no flesh-and-blood beings can change them, no such beings created them, even machines can't change them. More below.


If you don't mind me saying, I think this is a fundamental misunderstanding. Scientific laws are wholly designed, created, and produced by humans. The forces of nature aren't. Scientific laws are collated observations & descriptions of forces of nature under specific and usually limited circumstances. The natural forces are the terrain, and the laws made up by humans are maps attempting to define those forces. Thus laws can change in an instant simply by observing some event that doesn't conform to the descriptive statement of that law.


Myrtonos wrote:This is why no theorem or scientific theory is a religion, mathematicians and scientists may believe them, and have very good reasons to believe them, but no practices of the sort associated with religions are derived from them. No doctrine of rules, values, rituals or ceremonies are based on those natural laws.


Well, from another perspective literally all human rules, rituals and ceremonies are constrained by those natural laws implicitly and can never exceed them. All human practices are bounded by them. One can decree on threat of death that all humans must fly, but humans cannot fly regardless of any such rule.

A scientist must believe (albeit only for the practice of science) that there are only natural mechanisms at play, and that those mechanisms create a specific order so that particular effects necessarily follow particular causes. Thus any and all resulting practices would be obligated to be derived from them.

Of course, I am not arguing that science etc. are religions, but rather that your definition seems to fit in with an oft-repeated refrain that science/atheism/materialism are about belief in a non-divine order and consequently are equally religious in format, just without a god. I'd say there is clearly more to a religion than this.

I won't get started on mathematics as I am sure to make any mathematicians here groan! :lol: Suffice it to say, I consider it wholly man-made, and it's axiomatic meaning it requires no external reference to justify it.


Myrtonos wrote:A religion must believe in a superhuman order, but must be more than just belief in that order.


Not keen. I'd go with a 'system of belief that attempts to order the universe and events therein within a narrative construct, often centred on humanity' but I am not getting a handle on your concept of super-human, and it doesn't seem to offer much utility towards defining a religion for me personally.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:28 pm
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Sparhafoc wrote:So then Chemistry could be considered a religion?

See below.

Sparhafoc wrote:As I said, that then is not a useful definition of a religion in any way I can see as it lacks the exclusivity you've awarded it.

But it is not a definition of a religion, the definition must include being founded on a belief in a superhuman order.


Sparhafoc wrote:Still presents problems for me regarding your definitional question of the thread, firstly because the vast majority of things in the universe are 'superhuman' according to what you've said, but they're not religions meaning it's hard to employ this to get at what a religion actually is. I get what you're trying to say, though, but as I mentioned - I don't think religions can be defined purely in terms of concept - they are practices.

Yes, superhuman doesn't mean religious in meaning, something superhuman is religious in meaning if, say, a doctrine like Aron Ra defines as religion can be derived from it.

Sparhafoc wrote:If you don't mind me saying, I think this is a fundamental misunderstanding. Scientific laws are wholly designed, created, and produced by humans. The forces of nature aren't. Scientific laws are collated observations & descriptions of forces of nature under specific and usually limited circumstances. The natural forces are the terrain, and the laws made up by humans are maps attempting to define those forces. Thus laws can change in an instant simply by observing some event that doesn't conform to the descriptive statement of that law.

It's the understanding of the laws, not the laws themselves, that change if some event that doesn't conform with that statement is observed.

Sparhafoc wrote:Well, from another perspective literally all human rules, rituals and ceremonies are constrained by those natural laws implicitly and can never exceed them. All human practices are bounded by them. One can decree on threat of death that all humans must fly, but humans cannot fly regardless of any such rule.

Well, yes, and for that reason, no religious belief requires humans to fly. Yes, all human rules, rituals and ceremonies are constrained by them, but religious ones are founded on belief in superhuman order, such as the law of god (Abrahamic religions) or natural law, like in Buddhism.

By the way, the inability of humans to fly isn't simply because we don't have wings. Even if we did, we wouldn't because we are already too heavy to fly, given the square-cube law, itself superhuman given the reasons to believe it, it is even mathematically provable, but as long as no rules, right, rituals or ceremonies are founded on belief in it, it's not religious in meaning.

Sparhafoc wrote:A scientist must believe (albeit only for the practice of science) that there are only natural mechanisms at play, and that those mechanisms create a specific order so that particular effects necessarily follow particular causes. Thus any and all resulting practices would be obligated to be derived from them.

Once again, I didn't define religions as belief in a superhuman order, but said that any definition given must include being founded on belief in such an order.

Sparhafoc wrote:Of course, I am not arguing that science etc. are religions, but rather that your definition seems to fit in with an oft-repeated refrain that science/atheism/materialism are about belief in a non-divine order and consequently are equally religious in format, just without a god. I'd say there is clearly more to a religion than this.

Of course there is more to a religion than belief in a superhuman order, but all religions are founded on a belief in a superhuman order, this is what sets every professional sport apart from religions.
Take Buddhism, in it's purest form, it is a religion without a god. It is founded on the belief in the law of Karma, that suffering always arises from craving. Various rules, rituals and ceremonies of Buddhism are founded on this belief. Also, science is indeed about something superhuman, but no rules, rituals or ceremonies are founded on belief in laws of science, therefore it's not a religion.

Religion helps place at least some fundamental laws of society beyond challenge, as to ensure social stability.
Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:04 am
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:But it is not a definition of a religion, the definition must include being founded on a belief in a superhuman order.


Why 'must'?

Are you not proposing this rather than saying it is accepted fact? I believe it's the former, and I've explained why I don't think it can be promoted to the latter. From my understanding, you're extrapolating from the better known monotheisms whereas they were quite distinct from the many forms of religion which predated them. Perhaps the stronger, better ideas (in fitness terms) posit a fully ordered system which is why they've tended to fare better historically.


Myrtonos wrote:Yes, superhuman doesn't mean religious in meaning, something superhuman is religious in meaning if, say, a doctrine like Aron Ra defines as religion can be derived from it.


I fear we're going round in circles here! I don't agree with your rendition for the reasons I've shared, and you disagree with mine for the reasons you've shared, but I think we both understand each other, so I will leave this point now rather than have us repeat ourselves at each other.


Myrtonos wrote:It's the understanding of the laws, not the laws themselves, that change if some event that doesn't conform with that statement is observed.


This, though, is a different point. It's unquestionably the laws that change - plenty of historical examples - because the laws themselves do not exist outside of human comprehension (assuming no intelligent aliens came up with the same descriptions); they are not quantities hanging around in Platonic space waiting to be discovered; they are invented in the same way all descriptions are.

As I explained, laws are there to describe forces. The forces are independent of the laws and are in no way contingent upon them, whereas it is exactly the opposite vice-versa. I would explain it as misidentifying the map for the terrain.

A law, let us recall, is a simple assertion about a relationship between 2 phenomena in a given context, often a statement of cause and effect: IF - THEN, albeit most frequently outlined mathematically.

The most frequently cited examples of well established laws being shown wrong is of Newton's law of gravitation or of Mendel's Law of Independent Assortment but there are plenty of examples of laws changing based on further data showing that the set of observations (of the forces) were incomplete, and therefore the descriptive statement (the law) was incomplete or wrong. Early laws of gravitation break down at the sub-atomic level, for example, and are incomplete even in the middle world we inhabit which is why, in part, Einstein's relativity superseded Newton's; Mendel's law doesn't operate when genes on the same chromosome are located close to one another.

Laws can be shown wrong or incomplete and can evolve with new data - but the forces they're describing aren't changing, just the descriptions of them.

https://undsci.berkeley.edu/teaching/mi ... ons.php#a2

They (scientific laws) may have exceptions, and, like other scientific knowledge, may be modified or rejected based on new evidence and perspectives.


Within the paradigm you've employed, laws are 'human' whereas the forces and phenomena are 'super-human'.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:43 am
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Dragan Glas wrote:"Laws of science" are not superhuman, since humans decide what is a scientific "law": we infer relationships in Nature, which are then called "laws".



I concur with this, and it's less wordy than my rendition, so perhaps a clearer elucidation.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:45 am
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Sparhafoc wrote:Are you not proposing this rather than saying it is accepted fact? I believe it's the former, and I've explained why I don't think it can be promoted to the latter. From my understanding, you're extrapolating from the better known monotheisms whereas they were quite distinct from the many forms of religion which predated them. Perhaps the stronger, better ideas (in fitness terms) posit a fully ordered system which is why they've tended to fare better historically.

No, I did give an example of a religion without a God. Even Buddhism is founded on a belief in a superhuman order, in that case the law of karma.

Sparhafoc wrote:This, though, is a different point. It's unquestionably the laws that change - plenty of historical examples - because the laws themselves do not exist outside of human comprehension (assuming no intelligent aliens came up with the same descriptions); they are not quantities hanging around in Platonic space waiting to be discovered; they are invented in the same way all descriptions are.

Nope, our understanding improves. They are not invented in the way that the laws of a sport game are.

Sparhafoc wrote:As I explained, laws are there to describe forces. The forces are independent of the laws and are in no way contingent upon them, whereas it is exactly the opposite vice-versa. I would explain it as misidentifying the map for the terrain.

They don't just describe forces, they describe other natural phenomena.

Sparhafoc wrote:The most frequently cited examples of well established laws being shown wrong is of Newton's law of gravitation or of Mendel's Law of Independent Assortment but there are plenty of examples of laws changing based on further data showing that the set of observations (of the forces) were incomplete, and therefore the descriptive statement (the law) was incomplete or wrong. Early laws of gravitation break down at the sub-atomic level, for example, and are incomplete even in the middle world we inhabit which is why, in part, Einstein's relativity superseded Newton's; Mendel's law doesn't operate when genes on the same chromosome are located close to one another.

These are theories, not laws. How about Newton's laws of motion? And further data showing that the set of observations is incomplete doesn't change the laws themselves, just our understanding of them.

Sparhafoc wrote:Within the paradigm you've employed, laws are 'human' whereas the forces and phenomena are 'super-human'.

Laws of science are not constructed like the rules of a sport game.

If you can think of any religion not founded on belief in a superhuman order, then how come the Olympic games are not a religion?
Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:02 pm
*SD*User avatarPosts: 342Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Just wondering... what's the central point here? What are you actually arguing for? Or is this purely as per the thread title and you just want to discuss what constitutes a religion and what does not? Is there more to it? Where are you heading?
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Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:27 pm
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SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:No, I did give an example of a religion without a God. Even Buddhism is founded on a belief in a superhuman order, in that case the law of karma.


Except, of course, you can be a Buddhist without believing in karma, and karma could anyway be seen within your paradigm of 'human' rather than 'super-human'. Be a dick, people dislike you and don't want to help you; be nice, and you'll be treated well in response. Nothing external to humans is required there.



Myrtonos wrote:Nope, our understanding improves. They are not invented in the way that the laws of a sport game are.


Map, not terrain.

It's the law that changes to accommodate our improved understanding, not the force.

Naturally, laws are not invented in the same way as the laws of sports are because the laws of a sport or any game are wholly arbitrary and contrived in the absence of anything external (aside from physical restrictions, of course), whereas laws are descriptions of natural forces and phenomena and so are obligated to correspond to something external which arbitrates the validity of that law.


Myrtonos wrote:They don't just describe forces, they describe other natural phenomena.


Well, they describe 'phenomena' but they are all ultimately derived from natural forces.


Myrtonos wrote:These are theories, not laws.


They're factually scientific laws.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27 ... ravitation

Newton's law of universal gravitation states that every particle attracts every other particle in the universe with a force which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers.[note 1] This is a general physical law derived from empirical observations by what Isaac Newton called inductive reasoning.[1] It is a part of classical mechanics and was formulated in Newton's work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("the Principia"), first published on 5 July 1686. When Newton's book was presented in 1686 to the Royal Society, Robert Hooke made a claim that Newton had obtained the inverse square law from him.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendelian ... ond_Law%22)

The Law of Independent Assortment states that alleles for separate traits are passed independently of one another.[6] That is, the biological selection of an allele for one trait has nothing to do with the selection of an allele for any other trait.


Theories describe how it works; laws just describe observed relationships without any explanation.


Myrtonos wrote: How about Newton's laws of motion? And further data showing that the set of observations is incomplete doesn't change the laws themselves, just our understanding of them.


Our understanding of them is exactly what a scientific law is. Laws, as I've explained, do not sit around in Platonic space waiting to be discovered. Laws, as I've explained, are formulations to describe the relationship between 2 quantities.


Myrtonos wrote:Laws of science are not constructed like the rules of a sport game.


Factually, they are wholly constructed by humans.

Are you under the impression that scientific laws are synonymous with laws in the system of rules sense of the word?


Myrtonos wrote:If you can think of any religion not founded on belief in a superhuman order, then how come the Olympic games are not a religion?


Well, my argument doesn't entail the Olympic Games being a religion, so I can't really reply to that.
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Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:38 pm
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Sparhafoc wrote:Except, of course, you can be a Buddhist without believing in karma, and karma could anyway be seen within your paradigm of 'human' rather than 'super-human'.-

I thought all Buddhists believed in karma. But Buddhism is one of those religions that maintains that the order governing the world is a product of natural laws, not of the wills or whims of any deities. Buddhism is founded on a belief in the law of karma, that is the four noble truths and the eight-fold path, yes, a superhuman legitimacy of all rules, rituals and ceremonies.

Sparhafoc wrote:It's the law that changes to accommodate our improved understanding, not the force.

See just below.

Sparhafoc wrote:Naturally, laws are not invented in the same way as the laws of sports are because the laws of a sport or any game are wholly arbitrary and contrived in the absence of anything external (aside from physical restrictions, of course), whereas laws are descriptions of natural forces and phenomena and so are obligated to correspond to something external which arbitrates the validity of that law.

So according to you, neither are superhuman. But surely you must admit there are very objective reasons for believing then, in other words, physical laws do have a superhuman legitimacy.

Sparhafoc wrote:Our understanding of them is exactly what a scientific law is. Laws, as I've explained, do not sit around in Platonic space waiting to be discovered. Laws, as I've explained, are formulations to describe the relationship between 2 quantities.

But the reasons for believing are indeed in the Platonic space waiting to be discovered. Humans cannot legitimately change these laws, unless an existing theory is falsified by observation and/or experiment, any changes would mean they do longer fully describe the observed natural forces and phenomena.

Sparhafoc wrote:Are you under the impression that scientific laws are synonymous with laws in the system of rules sense of the word?
It may depend on what that sense of the word is.

Sparhafoc wrote:Well, my argument doesn't entail the Olympic Games being a religion, so I can't really reply to that.

Indeed, each Olympic sport has many rules and rights, and the Olympic games has many rituals, but it is not founded on a belief in a superhuman legitimacy of any of those laws, rights or rituals.
Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:25 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatar
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Post Re: What is a religion?

Greetings,

Newtonian physics was thought to be "it" until it was discovered that his laws were just special cases of more general physics (Einsteinian).

As a result, Newtonian physics has been superseded by Einsteinian physics.

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:33 pm
Nesslig20User avatarPosts: 280Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:44 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

To me, arguing over these types of definitions is like arguing about what counts as a sandwich
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It doesn't really matter what definition you use, as long as it is at least related to the things that are commonly accepted as a religion and as long as it is not so broad such that it becomes useless, like defining religion in such a way that hobbies and your interests (like being interested in palaeontology) can be considered a religion.

I do the same way that Aron does. Take everything that is pretty much universally accepted as a religion and listing the common characters that are observed among them. Each one characteristics might be found in isolation to something else, like dogmatic beliefs in political ideologies, but it doesn't count as religion until each of these characters are present at the same time.

My usage of the word "religion" is:

A doctrine that consisting of:.
1) A dogma of a faith-based belief system, including beliefs of the supernatural (not always including deities), especially a belief in the immortal soul and the after-life, or at the very least, in some aspect of the "self" that survives the death of the physical body in some way.
2) A code of behavioural ethics, including a set of mandatory beliefs. The adherence (or non-adherence) of this very often determines the fate of the immortal "self" after death. (Examples: People who adhere to the christian/islamic doctrine go to heaven while those who don't go to hell. A buddhist's goal in life is to reach Nirvana and break the cycle of death and rebirth. Exceptions include things like "Sheol" which Hebrews believes is the place where everyone goes, regardless of their behaviour or beliefs in life).
3) Folklore and mythology, which are intended for various purposes: Explaining the origin and the state of existence (creation myths), often chronologically followed by a compilation of historical, legendary and/or mythical events; but these don't have to be taken literally (as actual history) and are often only taught to teach morals or life lessons.
4) Associated rituals, traditions and ceremonies: Such as marriage, prayer to and worship of deities (if present), annual celebrations and festivals, etc.
Together, these 4 elements are a major aspect of (or is itself) the world view of religious devotees.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
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Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:02 pm
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Nesslig20 wrote:It doesn't really matter what definition you use, as long as it is at least related to the things that are commonly accepted as a religion and as long as it is not so broad such that it becomes useless, like defining religion in such a way that hobbies and your interests (like being interested in palaeontology) can be considered a religion.

But anything that could count as a religion must be able to bring together different human groups, at least human groups that follow a common religion.
Two (or more) Catholic who have never met can go on crusade together or contribute funds to build a church because they both/all believe in a common god.
Also, however you define religion, would professional sports count as religions or not?

Nesslig20 wrote:I do the same way that Aron does. Take everything that is pretty much universally accepted as a religion and listing the common characters that are observed among them. Each one characteristics might be found in isolation to something else, like dogmatic beliefs in political ideologies, but it doesn't count as religion until each of these characters are present at the same time.

One thing that is common to them all is that they are all founded on a belief in an order that is not signed or legislated by any flesh-and-blood beings, or even machines, and consist of a code of behavioral ethics founded on that belief.
This is necessarily so in order to give superhuman legitimacy to social orders and hierarchies. Followers of a religion all believe that certain rules and laws that govern our society are not a concoction of any flesh-and-blood beings but are ordained by a supreme authority higher than any flesh-and-blood being, or even any machine, this puts at least some rules and laws of society beyond challenge which in turn ensures social stability.
This is what Christian, Judaists and Muslims (followers of the three major Abrahamic religions) believe is the case with the law of God. Buddhists believe that the the four noble truths and the eightfold path are the natural law everywhere at all times. This means that at least some of the rules and laws of society are beyond challenge. For example, according to the tenets of three major Abrahamic religions, any rule or law against anything that God thinks is evil is beyond challenge. And rules that Buddhists see as beyond challenge are rules against any acts that necessarily increase craving for things like power, pleasure and wealth.
And yes, political ideologies do have a lot in common with everything universally accepted as religions:
Like religions, they ensure social stability, and are also founded on a belief in a superhuman legitimacy of all the rules, rights and rituals. They also have rituals, if holidays and festivals counts as such, examples are the 1st of May and the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, both of communism. Political ideologies also have equivalents of holy scriptures, examples are Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and Karl Marx's Capital. And each Soviet Red Army unit had commissars, which were to communism what chaplains are to Christianity. Communism even had heresies, such as Trostkyism, which communist leaders such as Stalin considered very evil. And according to the doctrine of communism, a devout communism could not at the same time follow any creed that Karl himself considered the opium of the people.

Nesslig20 wrote:My usage of the word "religion" is:

A doctrine that consisting of:.
1) A dogma of a faith-based belief system, including beliefs of the supernatural (not always including deities), especially a belief in the immortal soul and the after-life, or at the very least, in some aspect of the "self" that survives the death of the physical body in some way.
2) A code of behavioural ethics, including a set of mandatory beliefs. The adherence (or non-adherence) of this very often determines the fate of the immortal "self" after death. (Examples: People who adhere to the christian/islamic doctrine go to heaven while those who don't go to hell. A buddhist's goal in life is to reach Nirvana and break the cycle of death and rebirth. Exceptions include things like "Sheol" which Hebrews believes is the place where everyone goes, regardless of their behaviour or beliefs in life).
3) Folklore and mythology, which are intended for various purposes: Explaining the origin and the state of existence (creation myths), often chronologically followed by a compilation of historical, legendary and/or mythical events; but these don't have to be taken literally (as actual history) and are often only taught to teach morals or life lessons.
4) Associated rituals, traditions and ceremonies: Such as marriage, prayer to and worship of deities (if present), annual celebrations and festivals, etc.
Together, these 4 elements are a major aspect of (or is itself) the world view of religious devotees.

While most religions do include beliefs of the supernatural, note that supernatural means outside of nature. The Buddhist law of karma is not outside of nature.
Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:08 am
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

And rules that Buddhists see as beyond challenge are rules against any acts that necessarily increase craving for things like power, pleasure and wealth.


Have you ever been to a Buddhist country and actually met any Buddhists?
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:04 pm
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