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    Thread: What Unifies Religion?

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      What Unifies Religion?

      What do all religions have in common?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      fear

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      devoting yourself to some guru or higher power in hopes of some rewards in the future (enlightenment, heaven, a better next life, etc)

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      Some element of seriously valuable spiritual truth, largely clouded by fantasies.

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      They all try to define a creator and to answer tough questions .
      "Dream your dreams with your eyes closed, but live your dreams with your eyes open."

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      Ignorance.
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      Subconsciously wilful ignorance.
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      They all propose a relatively prosperous way of life in accordance to how they think existence works.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Wayfaerer View Post
      They all propose a relatively prosperous way of life in accordance to how they think existence works.
      Now we're getting somewhere. Would you say they try to teach you how to be happy?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Chimpertainment View Post
      fear
      This right here..

      Believe in this or burn in hell.
      The only way away from suffering is to do this.
      Satan will get you.
      Etc...

      Fear is what allows organized religion to keep and gain new members..

      From the fear of death by believers against non-believers, to the fear in their basic doctrines... The fear humans have for their deaths..

      Fear spreads and maintains organized religion.
      Last edited by DeathCell; 09-24-2012 at 02:45 AM.
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      This was that cult, and the prisoners said it had always existed and always would exist, hidden in distant wastes and dark places all over the world until the time when the great priest Cthulhu, from his dark house in the mighty city of R'lyeh under the waters, should rise and bring the earth again beneath his sway.

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      But you're only talking about a handful of religions there. Did fear motivate shamanic traditions? Does fear motivate the meditator?
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      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      But you're only talking about a handful of religions there. Did fear motivate shamanic traditions? Does fear motivate the meditator?
      I'm talking about organized religion.. I don't honestly consider shamanic traditions a religion by the modern definition. It's more of a spiritual tradition in comparison to entrenched belief systems vying for popularity.

      I'm talking about the handful of religions that have the most power and clout in this world.

      And even still.. fear did motivate shamanic traditions to a degree.. I believe fear motivates the most basic parts of all sentient life. Fear of death motivated shamanic traditions, they connect with the spirit world to alleviate the suffering of humans in this world. Fear of losing their tribe, their loved ones..

      It may take awhile to understand how a meditator is motivated by fear but taking the teachings of the Buddha and the suffering our world endures; perhaps we fear the suffering and find solace in meditation?
      Last edited by DeathCell; 09-24-2012 at 03:30 AM.
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      This was that cult, and the prisoners said it had always existed and always would exist, hidden in distant wastes and dark places all over the world until the time when the great priest Cthulhu, from his dark house in the mighty city of R'lyeh under the waters, should rise and bring the earth again beneath his sway.

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      A meditator wouldn't get very far with that attitude.
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      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      As the Buddhist would say, there is healthy fear and unhealthy fear...

      Religion is sculpted around cultural milieus. And in the end, the one thing that unifies them all is fear. I suppose defining fear would be useful.

      1. Healthy Fear: Conscious awareness of future negative consequences due to present choices...

      2. Unhealthy Fear: Imagined awareness of future negative consequences based upon insignificant present choices...

      so examples respectively would be...

      1. The meditating individual fosters a healthy fear of the consequence of neglecting their practice. This is a motivating factor in their practice.

      2. The religious fundamentalist fears everlasting hellfire due to thoughts of sex with someone to whom they are not currently married.

      They are two different kinds of fear. Both motivate, yet only one informs and furthers the individuals spiritual progress.

      Love is what we all have in common. Religion (organized metaphorical structure of spirituality) is held together with fear...Pure spirituality is Love...

      Experiencing pure spirituality in a religious context is possible, but the structures of religion make it nearly impossible to remain consistent. It also has a lot to do with those damned cultural milieus.
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      In that case fear can be applied to everything, because fear can be added into every decision making.
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      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Indeed


      Insight - the Five Major Emotions

      Our emotions have become stigmatized in our culture. They are very powerful when used properly.

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      I feel like fear offers some basic service but hope offers something better.

      Fear focuses on what you don't want, rather than what you want. This might keep you alive to some extent but I think focusing on what you want is more constructive.

      I think religion has a lot of definitions brought into play, I want to be clear that when I talk about religion for the purposes of this thread, I do not intend to talk purely about the horizontal constructs such as organized religion. I intend to talk about absolutely anything you can label yourself when surveys ask you what your religious views are. I want to talk about the commonalities we all have regarding that facet of our lives.

      So for instance in comparison with Political Views, religious views describe how you think the universe operates rather than how human society, more specifically, ought to operate. For instance you could separate this into 3 categories: Material, Transcendental and Magical. Someone who believes God is some supernatural force would be a Transcendentalist, thinking the world is effected by things beyond the cause and effect observable in the world, they would also believe in a soul. A materialist would reduce things down to simple matter and energy, while someone buying into the magical model would reduce things down to interacting systems of information, like minds but not in the conscious sense. Though they wouldn't know it, animist and shamanic religions would belong to the magical group, most organized religions post farming would be transcendental and materialism would cover most who'd mark themselves non-religious But of course, there's lots of wiggle room between the 3, and the categories are not black and white.

      I think from the basic point of view regarding how the universe operates, ethics stems from there. Fear comes into play as part of this second front, because if they are transcendentalist they don't need a rational reason to fear giving up what they believe. Farming religions were more successful at spreading if they taught people to fear even questioning their beliefs. This is an evolutionary advantage to spreading a religion, but it is not a requirement regarding religion as a whole. It is one single mutation. Nothing more. One day some people decided to kill anyone who didn't think like them, and because these people were seizing up more and more land and producing as many calories as possible with this land, the strategy spread and now, thousands of years later, people don't realize that religion didn't start this way, it was turned into this. Religion used to be an early attempt at gambling, the shaman would pick up on signs to help the tribe make decisions which were often life and death. Just as the gambler might see his lucky card come up, so did early societies collect superstitions and live by them.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      So...are you saying you knew the answer before you asked it?? and by your explanation, it would seem you are a materialist...is that true? Is it all just about producing as many calories as possible?

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      As I see it, religion has two main functions:

      1) Addressing the desire for a metaphysical framework within which to interpret reality.
      2) Establishing a system of ethics and/or morality.

      I don't think that it's possible to "unify" religions because they offer such wildly divergent responses to those two needs.

      I also don't think that religion is about "being" happy. I'm not saying that that's not a goal of religious practitioners, just that it's not a core aspect of any religion that I know of.
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      The answer to the question is in the etymology of the word religion.

      It is generally understood as meaning either to re-read, re-bind or re-unify. I have been told, although I have not verified this, that the suffix 'legion' comes from the same root as ligament, meaning connectivity.

      So all religions are an attempt to return to a primordial state of unity. All religions, including shamanism, are an attempt to return to a more pure state of unified consciousness. Sometimes it is a quest for an ecstatic state of contemplation, sometimes it is emptiness. This is all expressed in the Western tradition with the myth of the garden of Eden and the desire to return to the tree of life.

      Unfortunately western churches pursue this goal in a completely unconscious way, manipulating the emotionality of their members. That's why I don't belong to any church.

      I do not know whether such a return to primordial unity is possible or beneficial and that is why I do not consider myself religious.

      However, I do think the attempt of religion has been historically beneficial and so I do think religion has played a progressive role, at the very least a stepping stone on the ladder of human evolution.

      To me responses about religion being definable merely in terms of fear or ignorance are themselves ignorant. Religion was a creation of human beings and human beings are majestic creatures of light. Therefore I don't believe religion could be all bad and that it does offer something we can learn from. Most of the complaints about religion are knee-jerk reactions. Everything that exists has pros and cons.

      I don't have any problem saying someone who thinks that the force that created some of the greatest architecture, art and literature was merely ignorance and fear is simply being ignorant themselves.

      The religions of the past have simply become outmoded, but entertaining the concept of religion is part of what makes us human. People have tried over and over to eradicate religion and they always fail and make things worse. The only solution is replacing the old religions with a new religion as Nietzsche spoke of. Religion cannot be destroyed, it can only be replaced.

      We need a new way to search out whether it is possible to be in contact with our potential for primordial essence and what methods and practices bring us closer to that. That to me is the essence of religion, and always has been. If the source of religion had ever been anything other than that, it never would have had the overwhelming impact it has had on human evolution.

      Let me know if you disagree, as always, I will ignore petty comments about irrelevant details. My life is just too busy for that.
      Last edited by Olysseus; 10-04-2012 at 06:03 AM. Reason: clarity
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      Communal basis. That's really about it if you include all religions since Buddhism in non-theistic.
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      Religion is an abstraction over spirituality. "implements Spirituality" for you coders out there.

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      Weird hats.
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      Yea. Excuse the "knee-jerk" reactions to thousands of years of wars, murder, forced conversions .. that wasn't fear. That was just nice guys bringing people universally together through blade and strife.

      Pros and cons, what does that do to the millions and millions of people who have suffered and died in the name of one god or another? Does the pro diminish the past and the present people suffering under religious rule? Fear is what controls woman in countries of extreme Islam, fear is what keeps people believing in Christianity(fear of hell and punishment). You might want to see that organized religion is based on fear; theirs no if's ands or buts about it. Conflating shamanism with organized death machines is disingenuous at best.
      This was that cult, and the prisoners said it had always existed and always would exist, hidden in distant wastes and dark places all over the world until the time when the great priest Cthulhu, from his dark house in the mighty city of R'lyeh under the waters, should rise and bring the earth again beneath his sway.

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      Quote Originally Posted by DeathCell View Post
      Yea. Excuse the "knee-jerk" reactions to thousands of years of wars, murder, forced conversions .. that wasn't fear. That was just nice guys bringing people universally together through blade and strife.

      Pros and cons, what does that do to the millions and millions of people who have suffered and died in the name of one god or another? Does the pro diminish the past and the present people suffering under religious rule? Fear is what controls woman in countries of extreme Islam, fear is what keeps people believing in Christianity(fear of hell and punishment). You might want to see that organized religion is based on fear; theirs no if's ands or buts about it. Conflating shamanism with organized death machines is disingenuous at best.
      Wars are always motivated by the same thing...control over resources.

      Religion dupes the masses into enlisting in the armies but if you look a little deeper into history you will find that with or without religion we would have the same wars, the same imperial agendas for unifying populations and so on. You are stuck in a hysterical reaction and that's why you think I am somehow ignoring those things.

      Most christians keep going to church for social reasons. Loneliness probably plays a greater role than fear. Women's rights in Islam is merely an excuse for the west to bomb them. The rights of women lag in those countries because people are closer to a survival mentality and there is more individual competition for resources. Women aren't treated much better in war-torn nations that are non-islamic.

      And have you ever worked with Shamans? I have and I can tell you that most of the real ones don't waste time criticizing organized religion. They see it as a piece of the yin and yang of life, which is what my original point was.

      People who waste time blaming all of their problems on religion are just being hysterical. Religion was a stepping stone that brought us to the place we are now. The only choice we have now is where do we go from here to replace religion and find a better way to strive to be more conscious.
      “Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn't, it is of no use.” - Carlos Castaneda

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