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What is worthy of veneration?

 
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 25 Apr, 2009 01:29 am
Hi All - I have read various 'theories of religion' here, and may contribute something along those lines also in the future, when I have time to do the research and put together something substantive and worth considering.

Meanwhile, what are your thoughts on this question?

In all the faiths, there is the tradition of 'veneration' to those understood to be worthy of it. This is reflected in the honorific 'The Venerable [name]' or, 'The Reverend [such and such]'.

Questions:

Is 'venerability' a real personal quality or just a social rank or institutional privilege?

What personal qualities do you think makes a person 'venerable' in this sense - what makes them worthy of veneration, revered, respected?

Have you known anyone you would look up to as 'venerable' or 'revered'?

If, as the anti-religious wish, society completely abandons religion and spirituality, would it be possible for persons to be venerable or revered in the absence of these cultural traditions? Are there civic or social virtues for which one could be revered or venerated, in the same way that those with spiritual qualities have been in the past?
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KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 06:22 am
@jeeprs,
I would, as always, argue that reverence (which makes veneration) is pretty much an innate H. sapien brain-build thing. This is what I describe as the major emotional player in what I label 'religiosity' (used here in a nuance beyond the usual dictionary entry, but build from definitions relative to 'religion,' therefore 'religious').

In that respect, I hold that religion {and please do note that I DO NOT mean a religious belief-system} will more likely never be outgrown; while belief-systems have come and gone.

There is one neuroscientist (maybe among a number, but this one I have had the pleasure of communicating with from time to time) who I could say I venerate. Neither he nor I are members of any religious belief-system, but I hold reverence for him. This is the emotion of religiousity (as I define it). It would then follow, that each will pretty much have their own gauges for what quality or object their emotions will flow towards. Have you ever met a hope-to-die Elvis groupy? Veneration to the max !

So I say, yeah, the emotion will be there even in the lack of the present, living religious belief-systems.
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Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 09:58 am
@jeeprs,
We can separate veneration from religion, why not?

Peace
hammersklavier
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 01:54 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Could one say that religion is abstract veneration?

Devotionalism is clearly a veneration of entity x. Doesn't matter whether or not the entity actually exists for it to be a devotional focus.

For example, Christians believe in Christ. Christians have a devotional veneration of Christ (as the suppliant who sacrificed himself for all their sins, usually). Or devotional Hinduism, where one can venerate the god of one's choosing, with the explicit understanding that said god is really just an avatar or manifestation of the ultimate totality, Brahman.

Can one say Taoists venerate nature? Then isn't Taoism a devotionally focused on nature?
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 03:32 pm
@hammersklavier,
hammersklavier wrote:
Could one say that religion is abstract veneration?

Devotionalism is clearly a veneration of entity x. Doesn't matter whether or not the entity actually exists for it to be a devotional focus.

For example, Christians believe in Christ. Christians have a devotional veneration of Christ (as the suppliant who sacrificed himself for all their sins, usually). Or devotional Hinduism, where one can venerate the god of one's choosing, with the explicit understanding that said god is really just an avatar or manifestation of the ultimate totality, Brahman.

Can one say Taoists venerate nature? Then isn't Taoism a devotionally focused on nature?


I leave people to venerate any being or objects they want with the exception of trying to force their venerated entity down my throat.

There is one form of veneration that I despise, exclusivity.I am open to reason and logic
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 09:28 pm
@Alan McDougall,
jeeprs wrote:

Is 'venerability' a real personal quality or just a social rank or institutional privilege?


It can be both. One might achieve a certain rank in a religious organization which comes with the title "Venerable". Or one might have certain qualities which, together, make said individual the object of veneration: someone might be noted for compassion and charity and develop a following of people who revere said individual for those traits.

jeeprs wrote:
What personal qualities do you think makes a person 'venerable' in this sense - what makes them worthy of veneration, revered, respected?


Loving kindness. But that's a personal thing.

jeeprs wrote:
Have you known anyone you would look up to as 'venerable' or 'revered'?


Several, to different extents.

jeeprs wrote:
If, as the anti-religious wish, society completely abandons religion and spirituality, would it be possible for persons to be venerable or revered in the absence of these cultural traditions? Are there civic or social virtues for which one could be revered or venerated, in the same way that those with spiritual qualities have been in the past?


Well, I'm not sure that human society can do without religion/spirituality. However, for the purpose of this conversation the answer seems to be: yes.

We can take my loving-kindness as an example. Even in the absence of a religious or spiritual tradition, if people find loving-kindness to be a good quality, a quality to be cultivated in one's self, then we can see how someone who exceptionally manifests the quality might be venerated for the attribute.

The only problem is that veneration often carries religious connotations, but the word, to my knowledge, does not necessarily entail religious connotations so I see no problem with this sort of use.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 05:43 am
@jeeprs,
Thanks. I think the motive behind my question is the difference between the personal qualities that are understood as worthy of veneration as distinct from what theories about religion we have (as this forum is basically about philosophy of religion).

Quote:
Even in the absence of a religious or spiritual tradition, if people find loving-kindness to be a good quality, a quality to be cultivated in one's self, then we can see how someone who exceptionally manifests the quality might be venerated for the attribute.


I agree completely with that. Actually the Dalai Lama often expresses a similar sentiment - that to have 'good heart' is more important than to believe in this or that religion.

On the other hand, in the absence of a sense of devotion, or the link to a mentor or exemplar, or some kind of conscious effort at self-discipline, it is actually quite difficult to embody qualities worth revering, in day to day life. I mean it seems to me, left to their own devices, most of us will simply act out of social conditioning, necessity or habit. I certainly do, anyway. Very hard to change. So the reason I am interested in this question is that it brings it down to the day-to-day level, what one is and does, not a 'theoretical' view. Generally the whole thing is understood on an ideological or theoretical level, whereas actually it is a simple and practical matter.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 06:37 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
Thanks. I think the motive behind my question is the difference between the personal qualities that are understood as worthy of veneration as distinct from what theories about religion we have (as this forum is basically about philosophy of religion).



I agree completely with that. Actually the Dalai Lama often expresses a similar sentiment - that to have 'good heart' is more important than to believe in this or that religion.

On the other hand, in the absence of a sense of devotion, or the link to a mentor or exemplar, or some kind of conscious effort at self-discipline, it is actually quite difficult to embody qualities worth revering, in day to day life. I mean it seems to me, left to their own devices, most of us will simply act out of social conditioning, necessity or habit. I certainly do, anyway. Very hard to change. So the reason I am interested in this question is that it brings it down to the day-to-day level, what one is and does, not a 'theoretical' view. Generally the whole thing is understood on an ideological or theoretical level, whereas actually it is a simple and practical matter.


I really think that Almighty God would find our religions ridiculous and be both amused and horrified at the same time how we misuse his name
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 06:44 am
@Alan McDougall,
jeeprs wrote:

I agree completely with that. Actually the Dalai Lama often expresses a similar sentiment - that to have 'good heart' is more important than to believe in this or that religion.


He's a champ, huh?

jeeprs wrote:
On the other hand, in the absence of a sense of devotion, or the link to a mentor or exemplar, or some kind of conscious effort at self-discipline, it is actually quite difficult to embody qualities worth revering, in day to day life. I mean it seems to me, left to their own devices, most of us will simply act out of social conditioning, necessity or habit. I certainly do, anyway. Very hard to change. So the reason I am interested in this question is that it brings it down to the day-to-day level, what one is and does, not a 'theoretical' view. Generally the whole thing is understood on an ideological or theoretical level, whereas actually it is a simple and practical matter.


Insightful, my friend.

And I agree. I think that is the primary value of religion/spirituality: as a means of conditioning that promotes loving kindness rather than violence, mindless consumption and whatever else society tends to cultivate in a human. Our world views change dramatically over time, but I've noticed that the practices used to develop loving kindness not only remain fundamentally unchanged, but that their fundamental elements are also universal.
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