I dream of living in a post-religious society. But I also believe in not “throwing the baby out with the bath water”.
My question: are there any positive aspects of religion that you feel should be kept if religion were to go away?
I don't dream of living in a post-religious society: I dream of living in a society where religion is not wielded like a weapon and used to harm and dominate people within and outside of the religion.
@Canndue There is nothing wrong with the concept of religion or a deity, but people use religion as they use government and any social institution: to wield power and control.
I just want a secular society where "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", with true and absolute separation of church and state and no religion exempt from paying their fair share of taxes.
Nothing that can't be replicated in other ways, no.
@Canndue Then I would say, that the things which really matter, are the things which give community. Shared stories, shared rituals, and meeting places. And I have good hopes that two of those three will come, in time, to the secular world. Good stories because of multiculturalism, the common heritage of science and the collective need to respect the environment, all of which generate stories. Shared rituals for the same reasons. The hard one is the meeting places, because we are an increasingly a traveling society, and I can not see the secular world, creating enough agnostic coffee shops and atheist charity shops , on the street corners to ever replace the churches and their meeting halls, empty though those may be.
Fantasy literature has its place, as long as it's RECOGNISED as fantasy literature.
Some of the architecture is good.
Some of the art is good.
Some of the music is good - no, don't wince, I don't mean the MODERN stuff. Handel. Bach. Tallis. That sort of stuff.
I think religion very often is used as a behavioral framework for some people. To put it bluntly, it keeps people in line. I would hope with the absence of religion there would be increased compassion and intelligence. Based on the present situation unfortunately I have serious doubts. Personally I don’t need religion to keep a clear conscience but my snobbery may be showing- I don’t have faith that the masses will comply.
I recall years ago my mom commenting on "some liberal garbage" about child rearing that promoted the idea that children should be taught to do what is right for the sake of doing the right thing, not out of fear of punishment or promise of reward.
When one believes that we are born with the stain of original sin, one tends to believe that the devil needs to be spanked, or even beaten, out of children.
I always liked this description of how religion came about:
"Our survival has depended on tribal integrity since before we were human, and we have powerful instincts to protect it. Religion is a cultural edifice built on those instincts, claiming a transcendent authority to guard tribal standards across generations." ( Hans Moravec, AI researcher)
Supplanting a useful but flawed source of social cohesion is not easy, but possible. We built this cultural edifice, we can replace it.
You've got to break a few eggs if you want to make an omelet. There is nothing contained within religion that is worth keeping that isn't already part of the human condition, getting rid of religion is just getting rid of the control mechanism that limit human potential. People are good because they choose to act in a socially responsible way - religion is not required for this condition to persist and increase, in fact it is diametrically opposed to that condition.
I’m thinking more along the lines of social centers, youth centers , secular scouting. That sort of thing. There is a social and psychological part of religion that can’t be ignored. We certainly need to get rid of woo and dogma, but secularize the social aspects.
@Canndue I'm just not sure where the pedophiles, golden temples, misogyny and tithing fit in with that social program.
@Canndue If you want to designate the central components of religion as chaff and throw it out then what is it that we are keeping that is intrinsic to religion? You've lost me.
There is nothing positive about religion that is not duplicated in other parts of society.
i like enough of judaism to call myself a jew (there are other reasons too, i admit) even though i am an atheist and do not follow the kashruth laws, keep the sabbath or any of that. i like the ideaa of laying fields fallow. that's science. i like the idea of everyone mattering, everyone counting, everyone being important and worth saving. i am trying to include trump in that and failing miserably but theoretically i like that idea. there is much more, but i am multitasking and tired lol. but yeah, some of the concepts are practical rather than silly, and i like those, and don't feel obligated to pay any attention to the rest (or to the ones i like either for that matter; you don't have to be jewish to be into those things!)
@Canndue exactly! and most of the good has still not been twisted to the extent christianity has. it's working on it lol. those secret weddings speading covid.... but then, orthodox judaism does NOT represent the majority of judaism so there is that. but you know, the christians who say you can't dance, or pretend abortion is an issue in the bible (which bible anyway?) or won't let you drink coffee (no COFFEE?????) come ON. where is THAT even IN their religion? king david is said to have danced. so how did dancing become a sin?
Nope........it’s a fraud designed to dumb down certain social classes into a prescribed set of beliefs and a certain way of living based on fear.
Nothing about religion has any positive aspects in a free society.
There are some good ethical teachings in the Bible. "Do to others as you would have them do to you" is a good example.
Dont put the baby in dirty bath water to begin with
Humans evolved as animals that gather in groups for safety. It is instinctual to want to belong to a group, as we instinctiua;;u fee; safer if we have a sense of belonging. That is is one aspect of religion which is positive. I don't see any other aspects that are worth saving.
The aspect of a community center could be opened up and improved by banning all religious proslytizing.
Norman bites! How adorable is that!. There are so many ways for people to find community I think. The issue for me has always been in finding like minded people.
@JZBEE That's a bit problematic since all like minded people are probably agoraphobic like me.
Like the religious holidays a lot more than the secular ones.
I think the community things but that can also be dangerous as you then get the herd mentality. I think the recognition of adulthood/responsibility for your own actions (as in confirmation where the child is accepting responsibility for their following of the faith, Jewish bar mitzvahs) Actual ceremonies to acknowledge the passing of one age to the next.
I agree, coming of age ceremonies, things of that nature. I was thinking of places to go for reflection / meditation without the woo, sanctuary so to speak. I use museums, parks country strolls, but access to these is not universal. Maybe a place to grow, foster humanism.
I guess that was kinda the point of my post. There is so much bad about religion, (but it is their incredible political power and all the damage that they do. But the concept of religion does have a role to play in society.