Sane man !

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Reflections in a slow meeting

The key to a balanced and quite general view of religion IMHO is that it is a philosophy tagged to a myth.

  • A myth is often thought to be a lesson in story form which has deep explanatory or symbolic resonance for preliterate cultures, who preserve and cherish the wisdom of their elders through oral traditions by the use of skilled story tellers.
Religion is then a normalised, shared philosophy. Since every follower/believer shares the same myth, they inherit (in theory) the attached worldview, ethics, rituals etc. This allows great power through collective actions, which is why it can be so destructive or effective sometimes.

In practice: although the myth is shared, each person's philosophy does vary to a certain extent: people "shop around" to the ultra-conservative pope's dismay. Although the myth part is pretty solidly adhered to (bar the odd major schism), it is very hard to stop people from developing their worlview as they wish. Also, religious philos are often riddled with superstitions which are dysfunctional philos, with confusions between categories and levels of interpretations.

Positive and constructive atheism means developing a philosophy/worldview freed of the myths and attached superstitions of organised religion. Seen like this, there is nothing stopping anyone, it's just more difficult than the bible-munching version.

To develop...


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