0
   

Religions and What means to be religious?

 
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 06:20 am
To start with, I should like to define what is religion. Literally it means "connexion" with something "supreme", with that which somehow transcends this world. Thus a religious man is that who is not of this world in a certain sense.
Now what we generally mean by religion? For most of us religion and belief are synonyms. "I am religious" means "I believe in some things". Thus it is with all religions: Christians believe in Gospel, God and Christ, Muslims -- in Koran, Hindoos -- in Upanishads. Some people, esp. some Buddhists and Hindoos say they don't believe in books, but they believe in practice, they believe in the things their teachers, gurus say. It is impossible to practice without belief that it is profitable -- every practice demand belief, esp. so-called religious practice because those teachers say themselves that it requires a great deal of patience, discipline and oppression of desires. Thus all those teachings demand some sort of belief.
Can belief be not of this world? To understand this we are to understand how we choose things to believe in, how we choose our guru, our sacred text. Obviously, we do this according to our prejudices and preconceptions, do we not? Why do I believe in the bible and not in the Tripitaka? Because my parents did this, because I am taught to respect the bible etc. But many people would say: "We are not so stupid to believe in the things just because our parents did this. We changed our religion. Now we are Buddhists though born in Christianity, or Christian though born in Buddhism". But a more perspicacious wit will notice that when we come to a new guru we choose him according to a certain criterion, do we not? And that criterion is irrational, it was instiled in us in childhood, in the conditions we lived in. I have chosen a guru because he has respectable features, because he can sit in meditation 9 hours etc. But the problem is how that criterion appeared. When we look upon it attentively, we shall see that it has its root in that very Pavlovian conditioning our environment performed, because we are taught to connect the word "good" with some attributes, which is caused by some sort of violence and desire.
Thus we can see that belief surely is not the link us and God, that it only connects us with the violence people made against us.
So what means to be religious? It doesn't mean that I believe in something, it means that I have nothing in this world to cling to, either noble, or ignoble. Religion is not a set of dogmas we agree with, religion is the state of an individual that understood the world and thus became free thereof. Religion is a great joy because it is freedom, it happens when one sees that he has nowhere to run, nothing to seek, when the ignorance stops producing new and new desires. When we understand that there is nothing worthwhile in this world that can be attained through our actions, we become psychologically free from the world. And this transcendence of the world is Religion.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 593 • Replies: 4
No top replies

 
Adam101
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 07:05 am
@Eudaimon,
http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/secondary-branches-philosophy/philosophy-religion/6111-pool-religion.html

I believe your definition of religion is off. Everyone believes in something, even if it's nothing.
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 01:18 pm
@Eudaimon,
The word "religion" comes from the Latin word "religio" which has a meaning influenced by the verb "religare" to bind, in the sense of "place an obligation on" (World Book Dictionary).
I would say religion is a call to action in the world (compassion and the alieviation of suffering) not a call to belief in creeds, dogmas or doctirnes.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 04:54 am
@prothero,
Adam101;95416 wrote:
I believe your definition of religion is off. Everyone believes in something, even if it's nothing.

Well, my friend, to believe in something and and to be free from belief are not necessarily contradictions. I believe I have to push a button to start working with computer because I have experience that it worked some time ago. Now I think it will again, even though it is groundless (because causality itself is groundless), there is nothing wrong with it. Thou mayest believe in thy god (even though I cannot imagine someone in the XXI century believing in god as he believes that the sun will rise in the morning) -- there was nothing wrong with it when people tried to explain the world through some conceptions which are out-dated now. So to believe is not necessarily wrong. The problem arise when we put our happiness in dependence on those things. The point is that whether or not the things like god or karma or whatever exist, it doesn't change anything but we mistakenly credit them so much importance. In respect to our beliefs we should always be aware that they are the outcome of our conditioning: if thou art living in religious society, thou will probably think that some think exist, if thou hadst been living in an atheist society (like the Soviet one), thou wouldst more likely be an atheist. Both belief and atheism (belief there is no god) are the results of conditioning. If thou understandest that, thou wilt become from the world, from belief which is conditioning.

prothero;95585 wrote:
The word "religion" comes from the Latin word "religio" which has a meaning influenced by the verb "religare" to bind, in the sense of "place an obligation on" (World Book Dictionary).
I would say religion is a call to action in the world (compassion and the alieviation of suffering) not a call to belief in creeds, dogmas or doctirnes.

To me religion is not a call or obligation. To me it is a quality of soul, it is synonymous with the words love, nirvana etc.
0 Replies
 
MaxBardus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 08:34 pm
@Eudaimon,
James Carse, a professor of Religion at New York University, has written these very same things in his book "The Religious case Against Belief." I think you are on to something and you might find the book helpful for expanding your thoughts.

We tend to believe that religion means belief; but you are right in pointing out a fact that I learned quickly studying at a seminary: not all "believers" actually believe. Religion has more to do with culture, than with intellect. More with identity, than with objective truth.

I think that both posters have an insight for defining religion; because religion is basically a love affair. When one gets married, does s/he not bind him/herself to another and yet it is taken on freely (in order to be a true marriage) and can be described (by some) as liberating and full of joy? We do not describe marriage as a set of rules (do not cheat) or beliefs (honor and care for as long as we both shall live). Neither should we attempt to describe religion in this fashion. To do so, would be to miss the point.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Religions and What means to be religious?
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.05 seconds on 07/02/2022 at 06:08:20