4
   

A perfect religion?

 
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 01:44 pm
I want to hear opinions on the perfect religion. What is it what makes it perfect? Can there be a perfect relifion?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 7,530 • Replies: 81
No top replies

 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 01:50 pm
@Three dog,
Imperfect man can not create perfect religion.
There are many roads to Chicago, many routes to the summit of Mt. Everest and many paths to god.
Some religious conceptions are better than others. God is too big for one religion.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 02:59 pm
@prothero,
It must be the truth.
0 Replies
 
kidvisions
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 03:38 pm
@prothero,
All those belonging to a religion believe that theirs is the perfect one...
I agree with prothero
0 Replies
 
Camerama
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 12:40 pm
@Three dog,
I agree wholeheartedly agree with Xris. However, as perfection follows from the consummation of an ideal type, I also agree with Kidvisions(who agrees with Prothero so haha guess i agree with him too).

This is not a contradiction, but suceeds logically from the fact that "I"(subjectively) believe that an objective religion(based on truth) is the PERFECT religion. Religion is a belief system, and a belief is subjective based on what an individual, himself, ratifies. Religion is COMPLETELY subjective, because there is no OBJECTIVE proof for "God"(yet) which humans can refer to.It is because I(at least) have no rationally based foothole in religion, that i see religion as subjective speculation and inconsequential(Though I timidly subscribe to my own).

Now, perfection,(haha at least subjectively) "I" believe to be absolute truth. A is A, is a perfect statement. Perfection is objective, based on reality, else it is pure fantasy.(Money growing on trees in an ideal world.) I "believe" it is axiomatic(maybe i used that too liberally) that god is wedded to reality(If you can refute it please do), and so, his identity is objective. The Truth of his identity constitutes perfection. God is God, is perfect.

Any belief system(religion) constitutes perfection once sanctioned by an individual. SIMPLY because it is NO MORE than a belief, not Truth. Devout Christians BELIEVE god is omniscient, radical muslims BELIEVE killing infidels is rewarded with 1000 virgins(i think?). Your belief that god is ignorant, or that terrorists will burn in hell is no more valid than their own convictions. It is because religion is not restricted by empiricism, that any subjective religious ideal is perfect.
0 Replies
 
1CellOfMany
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 06:26 pm
@Three dog,
Perhaps before we can discuss what a "perfect" religion might be, we would need to have some agreement about what a religion IS. This might help responders' thoughts break free of the limits that their personal experiences of religion have imposed. Here is a definition from Wikipedia: "A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs." So, a serious response to the question might deal with some or all of the aspects listed in this definition.
I would suggest that in a perfect religion, the body of scientific knowledge would be the basis of its beliefs about the NATURE of the universe.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 08:49 pm
@Three dog,
In my opinion the statement, "perfect religion" is nothing different than saying, a square circle. It might work in theory but in reality it just never happens.

Religion is like fertilizer. In the hands of the right person it can create some beautiful things in the world, but in the hands of the wrong person it can be used to blow things up like people inside buildings.

Oh by the way, I have made a square circle. All you have to do is take a circle and fold it twice, once horizontally and once vertically and it will become a square if you view it from it's face but turn it slightly to any angle and you will see it is a circle.
1CellOfMany
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Jan, 2010 06:11 am
@Krumple,
While I must agree with Prothero that "Imperfect man cannot create create perfect religion," I think that it would be interesting to at least play with the idea of what we would consider to be characteristics of a "perfect" (or should that be "ideal"?) religion.

While I suggested that this religion would base its belief about the nature of the universe on the "body of scientific knowledge", I realize now that part of any religion has to do with a "supernatural power" and with some spiritual aspects of the universe. So, I modify my suggestion: An ideal religion would base its beliefs about the PHYSICAL nature of the universe on the body of scientific knowledge, and would reject any interpretations of the base beliefs (the scriptures, if you will) that were in conflict with what can be demonstrated scientifically.

Adding another feature, I suggest that the moral code of this religion should be such that when people follow it, it improves the quality of life for all humans and for all other creatures on earth. (This is an area that could be fleshed out: "What do you think should be included in the moral code of an ideal religion?")

Further, since it seems to me that religions are often "hijacked" by leaders who use the authority of religion to pursue their own, often selfish, agendas, I suggest that this ideal religion should have no clergy, but should elect a council of leaders from among the community members through a secret ballot, with no nominating or campaigning. This way, the leadership will be those who, though they may not desire power, are best suited to serve the people.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Jan, 2010 06:27 am
@1CellOfMany,
Religion cant dictate morals, if it does it becomes dogmatic, inflexible, so does not qualify as being perfect. You cant create religion from an invention, well you could but it could not be called perfect.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Jan, 2010 08:15 am
@xris,
I'd agree that we'd have to define what religion IS, and I'd also add that we must also define what standards would have to be applied towards perfection; in order to answer such a question.

I've found religion is difficult to nail down* - so many definitions float about that it's likely the discussion would stop being productive right there. The horse is stuck in the stall, gate open while the crowd looks on bewildered...

I look at it this way: It's a creation of the human mind; a way of explaining things we don't understand, grasping for meaning (read: value or purpose) and stilling the voices of doubt and nihilism that inexorably crop up as a result of self-awareness. It fills a personal void in the mind and heart; and as such, is specific from one individual to the next. Given this view, perhaps my answer might be: The perfect religion is the one that suits the mind that needs, believes or hopes for it.

I won't delude myself. I refuse to adhere to something for which I can't differentiate some rational impetus for it. I believe its mature, logical and honest to admit ultimate ignorance in such matters, without pretense... there is what I believe, what I hope, what I want and what I think is; and often times they're all quite different.

Thanks

~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Like the word "It"; it has no single definition, no standard on its own. It only becomes a reference point when placed into a specific context.
1CellOfMany
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Jan, 2010 11:15 pm
@Khethil,
xris;120990 wrote:
Religion cant dictate morals, if it does it becomes dogmatic, inflexible, so does not qualify as being perfect. You cant create religion from an invention, well you could but it could not be called perfect.


In response to xris, it seems to me that one of the purposes which religion has in society is to provide the basis of morality. Most religions have much to say about right and wrong. The reference point or source of the moral code is usually considered to be the "Creator" or the "Enlightened One" who knows better than any what is best for human kind. The moral code might be as simple as "show compassion to other beings." This sort of "code" has obvious worth for the survival of the species and of the ecosystem. You are using the term "dogmatic" in a pejorative sense, but beyond that, I am not quite sure what you mean by it.

Khethil;121008 wrote:
I look at it this way: It's a creation of the human mind; a way of explaining things we don't understand, grasping for meaning (read: value or purpose) and stilling the voices of doubt and nihilism that inexorably crop up as a result of self-awareness. It fills a personal void in the mind and heart; and as such, is specific from one individual to the next.


Khethil, you present an interesting description of what you believe religion does for individuals. I agree that religious experience is quite individual, as are the motives for religious belief. I suppose that one could also speak of those needs which all humans have in common (if any can be shown to exist), and suggest what features a religion might have that would nurture or prod individuals to fulfill their highest potential. This might be based on some advanced research in the social sciences. (If there is a Higher Power or Being, some of these features would be based on that Being's superior knowledge of how we all "tick", and their efficacy could be verified scientifically.)

In any case, it seems to me that one inherent aspect of religion is an organization of people around a set of beliefs.

As an organization, there is an interaction between religion and society. The Christian religion has had a great influence on western society, and has had a unifying effect as well (especially among Catholics, who are everywhere and who agree on much.) In addition to religion affecting society, the societies in which a religion exists have an effect on how the religion is practiced.

The above can certainly be said of Islam. I thinks that the extremism that we see in the Muslim world can mostly be attributed to social and political influences: Leaders who, having their own non-religious motives, use the power and influence which religion can have over people to get people to act on their behalf. Most Islamic scholars that I have encountered assert that the Koran does not in any way support the acts of "terrorism" which we see in the world today.

So, in light of all this, I would also suggest that the moral code of the "ideal" ("perfect" is too absolute a concept) religion would forbid people (and even countries) from attacking one another.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 04:07 am
@1CellOfMany,
Religion, thinks it has the right to moralise but in my opinion on many occassions they get it wrong. In most occassions its driven by dogma without the ability to change with new circumstances. In allot of cases it can cause damage.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 10:53 am
@xris,
Camerama;120834 wrote:
It is because religion is not restricted by empiricism, that any subjective religious ideal is perfect.


Of course religion is subject to empirical analysis. Not only is this just possible, but empirical consideration is central in a great deal of religious teaching. It's everywhere in Buddhism, from the words of the Buddha himself to modern teachers like Lama Yeshe reminding us again and again to "check up for yourselves". Thomas Merton criticizes fellow Catholic priests for their actions based upon the results of their actions.

Religion changes over time, and it changes, it evolves, due to empirical understanding. Muhammad recognized that the Arabs were destroying themselves due to ancient pagan beliefs that had become largely self destructive due to a booming population and increasing relations with cultures outside of the Arabian peninsula. Thus Islam. Jesus recognized that Temple practices had become riddled with materialistic corruption, so he spoke out and acted. The Buddha recognized that Hinduism of his time was elitist, so he taught. These men looked at the conditions around them, and based upon their empirical understanding, set out to improve conditions. Whether or not they failed or succeeded and how much so is not the point: the point is that religion is not above empirical understanding and consideration. Religion is driven by empirical consideration.

As for a perfect religion: it's there. It's right in front of you and all around you all of the time and always has been there. If you want a perfect set of scriptures, or a perfect compilation of prayers, you're fooling yourself: there is no perfect novel. Instead, there are many great novels and many great novels yet to be written. So it is with religion.

Prothero got it right: God is too big for one perfect expression in human language and fallible human understanding, and there are simply too many individual people with individual lives for one path up the mountain to accommodate all of that traffic. But this is exactly why there is perfect religion, and why perfect religion is always right there in front of you: because each of us does have our own unique path up that mountain, and each of us can start our trail this very instant. And it doesn't get any better than that.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 11:15 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Religious morals are determined by the dogmatic scriptures it abides by, once written it is impossible to change. Four wives, contraception, the punishment's for adultery. Certain scriptures are vague and can be altered by dispute within the faith but its man wider concerns that determines the moral approach to them, not the religion. Homosexuality is one moral dilemma the Church has had to face by secular morality, it did not choose to change its approach.
0 Replies
 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 11:24 am
@Three dog,
I guess all those news reports about Episcopalians allowing homosexuals to minister were all farces.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 11:32 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;121224 wrote:
I guess all those news reports about Episcopalians allowing homosexuals to minister were all farces.
And I suppose its propaganda that medieval catholics burnt homosexuals. The history of religion is written in the blood of the victims of dogmatic driven priests.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 11:38 am
@xris,
So, somehow medieval practices abandoned long ago mean that the Episcopal Church in modern times has not changed any practices regarding homosexuality?

Yeah, I guess all those news stories were written by the Onion and that somehow editors of every major media outlet were fooled by a few comics.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 12:28 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;121234 wrote:
So, somehow medieval practices abandoned long ago mean that the Episcopal Church in modern times has not changed any practices regarding homosexuality?

Yeah, I guess all those news stories were written by the Onion and that somehow editors of every major media outlet were fooled by a few comics.
So how near to the present times do you want me to show faith driven dogmatic damage? You decide.
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 12:46 pm
@xris,
xris;121257 wrote:
So how near to the present times do you want me to show faith driven dogmatic damage? You decide.


Why do we point out a very small percentage of murderous religious fanatics, and then attempt to portray all of religion as an advocator of those murderous religious fanatics? There are corrupted people throughout all walks of life, religious and not, and we shouldn't generalize on the whole based on the actions of a few.

Would we say all Germans are hateful bigots because of the actions of the Nazis?
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 01:03 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;121267 wrote:
Why do we point out a very small percentage of murderous religious fanatics, and then attempt to portray all of religion as an advocator of those murderous religious fanatics? There are corrupted people throughout all walks of life, religious and not, and we shouldn't generalize on the whole based on the actions of a few.
But its not the few. The RC church and its dogmatic views on contraception kills thousands each year in Africa and the Americas. How many young homosexuals have lived in the shadows pursued by the bigoted view of the faiths. Even now its punishable by death in many Muslim countries. In living memory the church in Ireland maintained its illegality with imprisonment. Can you imagine contraceptives being a black market product in the 20 century? Sorry I will not give them the grace they have for centuries refused to those who opposed them.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » A perfect religion?
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 10/14/2019 at 09:14:07