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Religion: Its stages of evolution

 
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 06:55 pm
I'll start with a quite with which I agree -- even including the "lump of coa;" bit. For if God is omni-present it is in the coal too. And indeed I do hold that God is energy - structured energy - energy plus information; plus goodness - all the high values... Here is the quotation from Prof. Dawkins:is----Richard Richard Dawkins, Oxford University Professor and Fellow of The Royal Society. is author of the best-selling book, The God Delusion


Religion has gone through several stages as it has evolved. We can distinguish at least five major evolutions through which religion has passed

"God" is the term people use to refer to their ultimate concern, or group of concerns. Pantheism was an early stage of religion which equated God with the forces and laws of the universe.

In the second stage, God is seen as a certain specific aspect of Nature; for example, a mountain, the wind, or the oceans.

Later on, and continuing up to the present, God is personal, and is now in the image of man. In this phase, God is often portrayed as a man, one with a long grey beard, signifying wisdom. Since people know best how to relate to another person, God is depicted as part-man and part-supernatural. In patriarchal societies the folks are told by the church fathers that "God is a Father." Later on, he is "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." More recently, "Holy Ghost" has evolved to "Holy Spirit". Among the populations of India many are comfortable with the notion that God is a Mother, and we are her children. Gautama, the Buddha, does not speak much about God, but instead offers an ethical system. However he himself grew up in a culture in which there were many gods but only one Brahma, a substance of which everything is made. This is a monistic view which then has to explain why things appear different. Many explanations are offered to account for diversity, the chief of which is that it is all an illusion, and we are constantly deluding ourselves.

A major development in the origins and history of religions occurred when they began to explain what happens after death. They split into two camps: some said there was a heaven and a hell; others advocated reincarnation. Both viewpoints, had a beneficial side-effect. They could console the miserable, the destitute, and the starving by holding out the prospect that beyond their drab human life there is something to hope for: either a heavenly life or a higher state of life in a new form. The belief that one's human life is only a transition to something much better served to resign these folk to their fate.

The next stage of evolution in religion is still going on. It is one that is more intellectually satisfying than the previous stages, for it does not violate scientific understanding, and does not clash with known facts. It points out that we are all part of the universe, God is energy. Energy has many transformations which constitute the universe as we know it. Thus God is in all things. Therefore we have God in us. So we are a part of God. Most believers would concur that we are an expression of God.

This view notes that there is intelligence in the way our universe is structured. God can thus be seen as the programmer of the universe. God is the meaning behind it all. Scientists agree that we cannot close our minds to the sophisticated processes operating in the structure of our universe. There appears to be an inherent intelligence that was able to create us. We are quite complex creatures. It warrants our respect! We cannot be certain about anything since we are so very tiny relative to the size of the known universe, and our perspective is therefore so limited. No person should claim certainty; however we do have our concerns. We have needs, interests and things that we prize. We place some values higher than others.

In this stage of evolution we realize that God is our Ultimate Concern, our highest value (or values). So we arrive at the conclusion that God is Energy that is structured: it is Energy combined with Information. But God is more than this: God is Energy combined with Information combined with the highest dimensions of value of which the human mind can conceive. Hence, God is Intrinsic Value. [Abbreviated: I-Value]. Yet even more than this: (God is I-Value composed by (enhanced by) I-Value, ad infinitum


To sum up, enlightened religion today recognizes that while Humanity and Nature and the dignity of the Individual are high values, not to be violated nor desecrated, there are other values we cherish such as Freedom, Liberty, Integrity, Authenticity, Goodness, Beauty, and Truth.



God is all of these rolled into one, and then some. We recognize that unique individuals place different values uppermost, and are willing to live and to die for values, such as Safety or Culture, that you or I may not treasure to that extent. Yet there is common ground. We can eventually agree that God is also Energy and Information. It follows that God is everywhere.



(God is omnipresent. It is immanent and transcendent. God is omni-benevolent). God is in each of us, and yet God transcends our mere existence on the surface of this planet. We partake of God, we are a part of God and therefore we ought to, at a minimum, respect each other. If we say we love God then we must love that of God in the other person.


Comments welcome. I believe I have presented enough material for discussion. Do you agree with these points? If not, why not? Better yet, can you offer a superior account of the evolution of mankind's conception of The Meaning of the Universe: The Force ...or whatever name you wish to give it.
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Poseidon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 08:29 pm
@deepthot,
Very good.
The only criticism, goes to Dawkins, who proposes that to cheat in marriage is something correct and something outside of our control, whilst ignoring that many many people do manage this feat. He considers that to lie, in a way which causes injury to others, as a good thing.

One needs also to extrapolate further, of course, just what other ethical principles involve 'respecting one another'.
Labyrinth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 09:57 pm
@Poseidon,
I think the first stage would be Animism. Its effects still ring through our own present time.
0 Replies
 
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 07:41 am
@deepthot,
One can certainly expand the definition of God into being energy and information, but isn't this just a trick to leap back into the old way of thinking when we use "immanent" or "transcendent" or "omni-benevolent"?
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 09:42 am
@jgweed,
Hi,

I have not read that much about religions, but some. I think that there are many religions that do not fit your description. The Hindu religion is very complex and has its own very complex history. Buddhism has so many different branches, it is almost impossible to define it. I've also read about Polynesian religions, that have a decidely different tone to them. I don't want to go into specifics, since I have not read that much, but it might be interesting for you to look into some of these religions and see where they may or may not conform to your proposition.

Rich
deepthot
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 01:40 am
@richrf,
richrf;68285 wrote:
Hi,

I have not read that much about religions, but some. I think that there are many religions that do not fit your description. The Hindu religion is very complex and has its own very complex history. Buddhism has so many different branches, it is almost impossible to define it. I've also read about Polynesian religions, that have a decidely different tone to them. I don't want to go into specifics, since I have not read that much, but it might be interesting for you to look into some of these religions and see where they may or may not conform to your proposition.Rich



Thank you, Rich

We agree. It would be interesting for anyone to explore the common ground that the world religions share, as well as how they fit into the analysis I offered in the original post.

I did recently learn that there are many insights in the teachings of Confusious, of Meng Tze, and in Shinto that confirm. Of course, some branches of Buddhism advocate being a living example of Peace, and they don't speak of God at all.

Peace is one of the highest values, and it is a means to a goal while at the same time it is a goal: only peaceful means lead to it.

I like Edgar Sheffield Brightman's definition of "religion." He said it means the rituals, symbols, and ceremonies which celebrate and revolve about a concern for a set of shared values.
(Those weren't his exact words but are what I - somewhat vaguely - remember...)

---------- Post added at 02:59 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:40 AM ----------

jgweed;68245 wrote:
One can certainly expand the definition of God into being energy and information, but isn't this just a trick to leap back into the old way of thinking when we use "immanent" or "transcendent" or "omni-benevolent"?



No, I don't think so. This is no trick. There is nothing wrong with those concepts from the old ways of thinking that I select to retain.

I am attempting to communicate with, and provide some unity for, both the non-dogmatic agnostics -- and even atheists, if they can be nondogmatic [-- for they are asserting a negative as if it had some proof behind it --] seeking unity among them and the believers of the world. That is the motivation for the new theology contributed here: to find common ground.

The rules of chess, or checkers (Draughts), for example, are both immanent and at once are transcendent in every move of the game.
So it does make sense; it is possible.

And if G is Goodness, then it is omnibenevolent. G is love. That's a truth for me.
Note that in common parlance people - when deeply emotionaly-involved, will utter, interchangeably, the expressions "Oh-my-God!!" and/or "O My Goodness!!" Thus ordinary language reveals to us that there is an equivalence there.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 08:27 am
@deepthot,
deepthot;69039 wrote:
I like Edgar Sheffield Brightman's definition of "religion." He said it means the rituals, symbols, and ceremonies which celebrate and revolve about a concern for a set of shared values.
(Those weren't his exact words but are what I - somewhat vaguely - remember...)-


I also like this definition. Thanks!

Rich
0 Replies
 
deepthot
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 01:27 pm
@Poseidon,
Poseidon;68177 wrote:
Very good.
The only criticism, goes to Dawkins,.....'.


I am glad that that was the only criticism.

That quote I presented from an excerpt of a talk he gave is the only quote I found I could really agree with in the entire address he gave.

In the God Delusion book he is poking holes in the conventional portrayal of God seen in The Bible, before it is interpreted by rabbis and ministers, and exigesists. He takes everything said there literally, when much of it is poetic.

So I'm with you: we shouldn't take what he says as 'the last word'. He is an expert in his field of biology but outside his field his views are just mere opinions. He is no a heavy-weight philosopher. I quoted some common ground I discovered, but I feel the title of his book is unfortunate; and it alienates more people than it unifies.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 06:18 am
@deepthot,
I quite like your arguments, but not your typography.
0 Replies
 
click here
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 07:27 am
@deepthot,
deepthot;68156 wrote:
I'll start with a quite with which I agree -- even including the "lump of coa;" bit. For if God is omni-present it is in the coal too.


That is an interesting definition of omnipresent... Do you base that off of scripture?
urangutan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 08:49 am
@deepthot,
I do not see how the explanation can express how God (religion), moved from the Earth, into the body and when released as gesture, has entered the air. I therefore do not see the evolution that is there.
0 Replies
 
meditationyoga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 11:58 pm
@deepthot,
Religion is not just for asking questions and giving answers. More questions breed more questions. But Religions sole purpose is man's well-being. Changing him, making him healthy. Giving him the techniques to use more of his brain. Being purely medicinal and scientific all the way. Brains scans and so forth. All Religions talk about how man is sleepy, and we now know this to be true. About only 5-10% of our brain is awake, the other asleep. Religions have given us the techniques how to awaken the dormant parts of the brain, ie. meditation techniques.
0 Replies
 
deepthot
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 01:32 am
@click here,
click here;70081 wrote:
That is an interesting definition of omnipresent... Do you base that off of scripture?



No, I don't base it on the Judeo-Christian scripture, but it fits right in with the Hindu scriptures about Atman, which is the substance of which everything is comprised.
omni
What I mean by omnipresent is: everywhere present -- which includes within us as well as all around us, ready to protect us from all harm, if we unite with G, and have a God-consciousness.And it helps to be in a constant state of gratitude and thanksgiving (for all our blessings.)
0 Replies
 
 

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