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A perfect religion?

 
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2010 04:05 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;122446 wrote:
Yea, people often assess the world according to it's most diseased presentation. You can understand some things that way... obviously it's not the whole story.

But then again: one aspect of religion is that it's a link to our ancestors. So the perfect religion would have to be old.

Give me an old religion and I'll give you a catalog of hypocrisy and villiany. Perhaps the perfect religion is a game that can't be won.

Apollo worship in Asia and Europe
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2010 04:29 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Alan McDougall;122522 wrote:
All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him.
They say Napolean was a genius. While reading War and Peace, I picked up on how Russians felt about him. Part of his legacy was the crushing disappointment of people who might have seen him in a supernatural light... as some kind of second-coming-next stage of evolution type of thing. I didn't know he wrote about Jesus. Thanks!


Pepijn Sweep;122531 wrote:
Apollo worship in Asia and Europe
Even now anthropologists are piecing together the story of how Apollo worshipers forced their children to take harp lessons. Sorry... I didn't think anybody would take me up on my offer. But really... what was Apollo worship like?
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 03:47 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna, you wondered that this perfect religion issue could not be resolved. What's the trouble?:

"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." (post #13).
0 Replies
 
1CellOfMany
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 09:36 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;121212 wrote:
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.


And in the Gospel of Mathew: "7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits."
Which seems to have been the basis for Merton's criticism.


Didymos Thomas;121212 wrote:

Religion changes over time, and as 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.


This is an interesting idea regarding why each of the above Founders of a religion taught. I think that each of them had an inner source of knowledge that was far beyond mere empirical observation. The writings of each of them confirms this. But what is most cogent in what you have said is that each one's teachings addressed the needs of the times. You have given only one small example for each of these, but I am guessing that you will agree that there were many other problems that each addressed in what they taught and in way they taught and how they acted, and how they led their followers.

Didymos Thomas;121212 wrote:

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.

I have to agree with you that there are many paths. I want to say that they are "paths toward perfection", or "paths toward the fulfillment of our highest potential", or something along those lines.

I also agree that religion evolves/has evolved. I recognize, for example, that Hinduism as an institutionalized religion, had degenerated into an excuse for a cast system and that the worship of a huge pantheon of gods had split the society further, so Buddha's teaching totally avoided any mention of deity and focused on looking within for perfection. When I wish to learn more about how to meditate and be detached from the world, I look towards Buddhism.

In the present day, Buddhism is splintered into a plethora of sects with different practices and doctrines. It has happened to all religions in time due to people twisting the institution of religion and the interpretation of the scriptures to their own uses and biases. But for each, the original teaching can inspire and guide a person on their spiritual path.

This brings me to the point of suggesting that an improvement on the religions of the past would be a very strong "clause" that says that no one has the authority to interpret the original text for anyone else! That each person should investigate and think about the text(s) of any religion for himself. (This would not be to say that people should not share their insights and ideas about the texts, but no one, no "clergy" could dictate the "correct" interpretation.)
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 09:45 pm
@1CellOfMany,
1CellOfMany;123159 wrote:
And in the Gospel of Mathew: "7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits."
Which seems to have been the basis for Merton's criticism.


I do not recall if Merton gives a scriptural reference at that point, but I am sure he had those words in mind.

1CellOfMany;123159 wrote:
I am guessing that you will agree that there were many other problems that each addressed in what they taught and in way they taught and how they acted, and how they led their followers.


Absolutely. Many examples can be introduced. People do not begin to teach such profound and earth shaking doctrines for no reason at all. The times do, in many ways, make the man.

1CellOfMany;123159 wrote:
When I wish to learn more about how to meditate and be detached from the world, I look towards Buddhism.


Be careful about that detachment. It's easy to take things too far. Middle path.

1CellOfMany;123159 wrote:
In the present day, Buddhism is splintered into a plethora of sects with different practices and doctrines. It has happened to all religions in time due to people twisting the institution of religion and the interpretation of the scriptures to their own uses and biases.


I'm not sure that all of the splintering in Buddhism, or even most of it, is about people twisting teaching for their own desires. Recall our agreement about the evolution of religion to suite time and place - various sects within a larger tradition can sprout for the same reasons. Like Zen in China, for example.

1CellOfMany;123159 wrote:
This brings me to the point of suggesting that an improvement on the religions of the past would be a very strong "clause" that says that no one has the authority to interpret the original text for anyone else! That each person should investigate and think about the text(s) of any religion for himself. (This would not be to say that people should not share their insights and ideas about the texts, but no one, no "clergy" could dictate the "correct" interpretation.)


Assuming that this would be new to those ancient traditions. Sounds ages old to me.
1CellOfMany
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 10:12 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;123161 wrote:

Be careful about that detachment. It's easy to take things too far. Middle path.


Yeah, there are degrees of detachment, as well as different opinions about what it is. My favorite example of detachment has to do with accepting how the world is and how it may have changed, and rolling with it, instead of acting like it is or should be some other way. (Which is not to say that we shouldn't try to change the world, but you can't change what you can't grok.)

Didymos Thomas;123161 wrote:

I'm not sure that all of the splintering in Buddhism, or even most of it, is about people twisting teaching for their own desires. Recall our agreement about the evolution of religion to suite time and place - various sects within a larger tradition can sprout for the same reasons. Like Zen in China, for example.


I have to agree, there are many examples of religions branching out to better fit the times and culture. On the other hand, there are some branches even of Buddhism where elitism has crept back in.

Didymos Thomas;123161 wrote:

Assuming that this would be new to those ancient traditions. Sounds ages old to me.

I agree that the idea is not a new one, but I have not seen it emphasized in any religion other than my own.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 10:41 pm
@1CellOfMany,
1CellOfMany;123164 wrote:

I agree that the idea is not a new one, but I have not seen it emphasized in any religion other than my own.


It's there. Take Christianity as an example: the legacy of debate and discussion about scripture is exactly that.

We have to be careful. In every tradition there is learning from the interpretations of others, from those of remarkable teachers. But this learning does not typically negate the importance of personal investigation. Go back to the Buddha's famous advice about not taking anything on authority. Judaism, post-temple anyway, has relied heavily on personal investigation of scripture.

As for Buddhism and elitism, I'm not exactly sure what branch you have in mind. Not to say that cases are non-existent, because there are instances, but as an institutional issue, I'm unaware of such a problem. Of course, I'm also no expert.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 10:50 pm
@Three dog,
The perfect religion has the following characteristics:

1) Allows people to celebrate togetherness
2) Inspires people to treat one another well
3) Inspires people to recognize and eliminate injustice
4) Gives people an outlet for creativity, spirituality, and sense of wonder

All religions do the above. But humans fail the religions -- it's not the religions' fault.
0 Replies
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2010 01:58 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;122537 wrote:

Even now anthropologists are piecing together the story of how Apollo worshipers forced their children to take harp lessons. Sorry... I didn't think anybody would take me up on my offer. But really... what was Apollo worship like?


You find a short discription in Wikipedia. My point is the continious change of character as the deity was worshipped in different places. Locals project their own images of god. In Asia Minor he started out as a Rat-god, because he brought the plague. In Hellas his son he was worshipped as a god because he brought medicine.

He only started playing the harp after Hermes stool his cattle. He then developed in a patron of the arts, assisted by his muses.

It's been a while I read all this. But I remember the transnational and cultural importence of Delphi's Oracle.:whoa-dude:
0 Replies
 
MMP2506
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 03:29 pm
@Three dog,
Religion is by definition already perfect. The fact that it no longer seems to be only shows how our society's interpretation of religion has strayed so far from its original intention.
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 03:12 am
@Three dog,
How do you rap your mind around Jesus statement, "I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me"
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:19 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;127794 wrote:
How do you rap your mind around Jesus statement, "I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me"
Have you got your posts mixed up Alan? We oldies need a bit of directing.

I think the message of a wondrous man was converted to fit the needs of those who desired him to be divine. A message needs authority.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:09 am
@xris,
xris;127814 wrote:
Have you got your posts mixed up Alan? We oldies need a bit of directing.

I think the message of a wondrous man was converted to fit the needs of those who desired him to be divine. A message needs authority.


If we take the writers of the Gospels as truthful then Jesus is the "very embodiment of truth", then Jesus was/is the "ultimate authority" namely he was/is God Man the Son of God. Divinity on earth if you like, reflecting the very nature and attributes of his Father God Almighty, in a way we can understand, bringing God down to human understanding
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:28 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;127841 wrote:
If we take the writers of the Gospels as truthful then Jesus is the "very embodiment of truth", then Jesus was/is the "ultimate authority" namely he was/is God Man the Son of God. Divinity on earth if you like, reflecting the very nature and attributes of his Father God Almighty, in a way we can understand, bringing God down to human understanding
Take away the divine necessity and the message is just as valid. When I see men not of his time writing down his accounts, i see men of dogmatic desire not messengers of Jesus. They have wrapped it up in holy clothes for authority.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:43 am
@xris,
...Religion is a Positive affirmation... on everything.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 12:16 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;127851 wrote:
...Religion is a Positive affirmation... on everything.
Is that statement of fact or an opinion?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 12:20 pm
@xris,
xris;127916 wrote:
Is that statement of fact or an opinion?


Its factual opinion...Smile ( I was referring to the inner sense that leads to religion...)
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 12:49 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;127919 wrote:
Its factual opinion...Smile ( I was referring to the inner sense that leads to religion...)
Well I think religion degrades faith.:bigsmile:
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 08:15 am
@xris,
Many of the Masters or originators of religion where really good people, but once their so called followers got hold of their message they messed it up so that if the exalted being ever returned to earth to observe what effect his words had on humanity, he/she would be horrified what was done in his/her name.

The kind gentle Jesus the ultimate pacifist would weep at the horrors done, due to this diluting and selfish use of his name to become rich, full and full of pride These Evangelist shout and scream on platforms/TV silly sermons of idiotic nonsense at times. Pontification "that if you do this god will do that" "if you do that then god will do this"ad-infinitum,

How on earth can a puny mortal man know what a god of infinite power will do? or not do?
jack phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 12:28 pm
@Three dog,
My religion is between me and God, not the church. If this were the case for all people that are religious, there could be no such thing as different religions.

I dont know if that qualifies as a perfect religion... your thoughts?
 

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