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Beyond tribalism; How well does your religious label serve you?

 
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 01:24 pm
@MattDavis,
I think the societal discussion reverts to the tribalism aspects of the label. Our primate evolution involves the regulation of social behavior (particularly sexual) for which our cognitive abilities seek an "authority". Note the pre=occupation of many theistic religions with sex. The "divine authority" also serves as a justification for inter-group belligerence and a palliative as the body bags land home.That Padre in Catch 22 who was instructed to "pray for a tight bomb pattern" nicely sums up that angle.
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 01:56 pm
@fresco,
Can groups be formed without personifying authority?
Bonobo groups seem less hierarchic, though more sexually promiscuous.
Gorilla groups are almost exclusively hierarchic along sexual lines.
Perhaps it makes too convenient a target to use the personified authority (God) as a rationalization of dis-chordant personal beliefs. Reconciling concern for self with concern for others. (Padre's encouraging violence).
Monk's, more separated from the laity seem less overtly violent in their proclamations. Does the tribing of Monk's create for them a different type of god? What is selected for in collecting this monastic tribe?
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 02:15 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

wow

I can't imagine what would happen if anyone tried to pray at a sporting event here. Probably booing.

Definitely no praying at group activities or meals that aren't in a church setting.

wow

I really can't imagine it.


Hi
I've only read to this point (page 4) of the thread, but wanted to pop in with my observation of the social aspects of belonging to a religion.

There are a lot of places I've been in the U.S. and known a lot of people for whom religion plays a huge role in their social life.

I can remember over 40 years ago, when my maternal grandmother was alive. She lived in Newark NJ. All her life the Catholic church played a key role not just in her religious beliefs, but who here friends were, what she did socially, and who she turned to for fun or interesting things to do, or to watch the kids.

From what I understand, she went to church daily all her life. So did most of the women she shared her childrearing years with. In her old age she and the other ladies still attended Mass each morning at 7am. If one of them didn't show up for church, afterwards they would all troop over, en masse, to the missing babcia's apartment to see if she was all right.
The person who was feeling sick, or had fallen or whatever was confident that if she could just hold on until after 7:30, she'd have plenty of help.

Fast forward to today. Someone I worked with a couple/three years ago is a great example. She was a young woman, maybe 25-26. While working together she started up with a young man, and it was apparent they were for each other, and that it was leading toward marriage and family. One day we were talking about where they were thinking of settling down for their home, and she was sharing her ideas. One of them was that she'd need to get involved in a church by the time she had her first kid. While she never came across as particularly religious, (she stated she believed in God, but didn't think about it much at all.) didn't go to any church, or never mentioned it, she firmly believed she needed to belong to one to start a family. Why? Because she felt it was important to take advantage of the social opportunities and connections that would be available for her, her husband and kids over their formative years.

All I have to do around here is go into a craft store, small or a big chain like Hobby Lobby or Garden Ridge, and see the huge selection of christian related arts and crafts items to realize there's gaggles of women all over gathering to sip ice tea, gossip and put together bible related scrap books.
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 02:27 pm
@chai2,
Excellent narrative and begs my question, without that extended family of the church, where does it come from, and if one doesn't have it how valuable is that loss?
MattDavis
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 02:46 pm
@chai2,
My girlfriend's parents belong to a small Christian church (Protestant, non-denominational). I was very impressed by the dutifulness and selflessness of their pastor as he supported the family through a medical crisis.
He was there more than some "family" members. Of course there was much prayer, but his concern was quite evidently for the well-being of all involved, regardless of faith or background.
Most of the pastoral care workers (priests, rabbis, pastors) I work with in the hospital convey the same compassion. In the hospital setting all pastoral care workers receive diversity training, to become familiar with potential conflicts and preferences, of patients and families.
As an atheist I have no problem praying with my patients or their families, this is not the place or time to bring up a conflict of "faith". What good would it do either of us even to discus it? Prayer is important to my patient's, so it is important to me.
In my experience of dealing with families in crises (particularly in ICU) the patient's with the strongest bonds to a close group (whether religious/familial/friendly) tend to do best (relative to severity of illness).
This may get at a desire to do what has to be done for the group. In that case setting upon the difficult task of fighting to survive. Lonely people have a worse prognosis.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 04:14 pm
@IRFRANK,
IRFRANK wrote:

Excellent narrative and begs my question, without that extended family of the church, where does it come from, and if one doesn't have it how valuable is that loss?


I suppose it depends on the person, and their other interests/needs.

Where I live, Austin, there is a big music community. I'm not into music really, so I can't give specifics. I can say however, I know people involved in the music world, either extensively or casually, who are fine upstanding people willing to lend a hand, be a social support.

In general, I suppose birds of a feather flock together. Religion, being such an institution, not only attracts those with a true spiritual seeking, but also the cuckoo birds who are only using the church to their own advantage (the cuckoo lays its egg in other birds nests, letting the surrogate mother raise the chick.)

Of course we all have differing social needs. Matt mentioned he has a yoga practice, but it is mostly physical. In my yoga practice, I find a strong bonding with other yogini's. In my practice I've found a sense of belonging that I never came close to approaching with a church or other groups. Then again, I'm an introvert, and my social needs are different than some others.

So, if churches didn't exist, I don't fear that something else would present itself.



0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 04:16 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

There are people who are both Catholic and atheist. If you believe that atheism isn't a religion, you shouldn't have a problem with that.


I don't view weak atheism as a religion, yet the idea that one can be both Catholic and weak atheist bothers me.

I see three possibilities:

(1) belief in God (theism)
(2) belief in the lack of a God (strong atheism)
(3) no set belief either way (weak atheism)

Being Catholic clearly requires that one commit to (1). (2) might pass for a religion, but (3) doesn't, and (3) is still mutually exclusive with (1).
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 04:26 pm
@Kolyo,
There's a fourth, pantheism. The apodictical existential pantheist maintins that the existence or non- of God depends upon how you define Her, the extent to which you can accept an abstraction as real
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 04:45 pm
@dalehileman,
Spinoza's God.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 04:47 pm
@MattDavis,
Thanks Matt, I'll Google that
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 05:15 pm
@dalehileman,
Yes, my trichotomy oversimplified a bit.

Interesting, Dale. I wasn't quite sure in the least what "apodictical existential pantheism" was.
Did you start any threads on it, earlier on in your time at a2k?
Kolyo
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 05:25 pm
@MattDavis,
In reference to the original question...

Quote:
Do you find value in labeling yourself with your religious beliefs/non-beliefs? Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, Jewish, Hindu ....[I can't of course list them all... nor the various "sub"-divisions]?


Oh God yes! I wish I could identify with some religious label. It would have the value of providing me with an abstract sort of companionship. The best label I can give myself now is "theist", but from what I understand that puts in the same general catch-all category as Gandhi, Pope Francis, the Inquisition and the Muslim Brotherhood. Our category is about as intimate as "the class of all bipeds."
MattDavis
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 05:30 pm
@Kolyo,
It does deprive you of the abstract companionship, it may deprive you also of some of the conflicts.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 05:32 pm
@MattDavis,
MattDavis wrote:

Thank you very much JPB for sharing your experiences.
I too have experienced the conflicting desire to "fit in" with a particular religious culture, and to not exclude other people.
JPB wrote:
Our community was very much divided along the lines of "us" and "them" amongst the jews and christians. I chose not to participate in either group.

How difficult is it to "stand alone" without the backing of a religion, in our society(ies)?


I don't find it difficult, but then I see "join", "club", and "gang" as four letter words that I'd rather not pin onto myself.

I will say that the local and national religious communities were instrumental in the post-Katrina recovery in New Orleans. They were the groups who hit the ground running, got their own people back on their feet, and then branched out and helped others as best they could. Without the religious communities NOLA would still be digging out (not that there aren't areas that look like time stood still seven years later...)
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 05:35 pm
@Kolyo,
Quote:

I don't view weak atheism as a religion, yet the idea that one can be both Catholic and weak atheist bothers me.

I see three possibilities:

(1) belief in God (theism)
(2) belief in the lack of a God (strong atheism)
(3) no set belief either way (weak atheism)

Being Catholic clearly requires that one commit to (1). (2) might pass for a religion, but (3) doesn't, and (3) is still mutually exclusive with (1).


Why do you arrive at #3 being a weak atheist rather than an agnostic?
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 05:42 pm
@Kolyo,
Quote:
Interesting, Dale.
Flattered Kolyo, very rare occurrence herebout

Quote:
I wasn't quite sure in the least what "apodictical existential pantheism" was.
Again, very rare curiosity. In my some 17 years so representing myself you're only the second to inquire. Apodictical inferring a certain obvious though subliminal character and existential emphasizing our freedom to explore its implications

Quote:
Did you start any threads on it, earlier on in your time at a2k?
Don't recall having done so Kolyo but always glad to elaborate if not embellish
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 05:42 pm
@JPB,
Religions certainly have an ability to organize, it is great when they contribute to those in need. I work sometimes with Habitat for Humanity (Christian organization) they have a strict non-discrimination policy regarding religion. My uncle was very active in the organization, all the while an "outed" atheist.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 05:43 pm
@Kolyo,
Kolyo wrote:

In reference to the original question...

Quote:
Do you find value in labeling yourself with your religious beliefs/non-beliefs? Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, Jewish, Hindu ....[I can't of course list them all... nor the various "sub"-divisions]?


Oh God yes! I wish I could identify with some religious label. It would have the value of providing me with an abstract sort of companionship. The best label I can give myself now is "theist", but from what I understand that puts in the same general catch-all category as Gandhi, Pope Francis, the Inquisition and the Muslim Brotherhood. Our category is about as intimate as "the class of all bipeds."



There were times in my past when I wished for the kind of faith that allowed me to set aside the angst of asking the big questions to which there are no answers (yet). If I have any faith at all today, it's that there are answers out there to be discovered. I give full credit to those who are searching for the answers via whatever means (scientific, meditation, etc) available.
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 05:43 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Based on the definitions of each of those two terms that I have heard given by people who refer to themselves as both "agnostic" and "atheist".

The way I see it, you can take position (1), (2) or (3) and still be agnostic, since "agnosticism" refers to the belief that no knowledge of God is possible. Belief in whether knowledge of God is possible is different belief in whether or not God exists.

I consider myself both agnostic and theist, and I don't see that as a contradiction.
Kolyo
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 05:45 pm
Dinner is served. If this thread proceeds at its pace from the last day or so, I'll see you all in a page or two. Wink
0 Replies
 
 

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