What purposes do religions fulfill?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Drifterwood, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. Drifterwood

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    I have been thinking about this a lot recently and asking a wide variety of opinion. I would be interested in your thoughts. Thanks.
     
  2. ManlyBanisters

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    You mean 'religions' as in the institutions? Or do you maybe mean 'religion' the broader concept of faith? The answer would be very different depending.

    Or are you interested in the answer to both those questions?

    Or neither - in which case I really am confused...
     
  3. Drifterwood

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    Not faith. After faith I can see no independent logical room for discussion. So let's leave it at religiosity. :smile:
     
  4. ganja4me

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    To give people hope
    To help them not fear death
    To keep them from doing bad things for fear of going to a bad place in the "after life".
    That's all I can really think of.
     
  5. psidom

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    occult insight if you understand the esoteric symbolism.
     
  6. ManlyBanisters

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    That's a highly charged question. My religion exists to protect the true faith handed in line from Saint Peter down. Others will disagree with me on that, for sure.

    In general - why do we have religion? Putting my own faith aside, as per your request, there is clearly a spirituality that nearly all humans feel. Religion is it's expression.

    For some reason most people can't theologise on their own and feel the need to join their spirituality with that of others - to validate their beliefs - this creates religious institutions, and religious institutions, like any other human institution, become corrupted by the falible people within. Which is why faith and religious tenants should not be confused with the instituation(s) of the associated religion.

    There is no harm in religious belief - there is a great deal to be gained from it. I personally can't believe that such a broad capacity for faith across all human experience is without some solid foundation.
     
  7. psidom

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    i think the foundation would be tibet.
    yamabushi/tibet taught egypt then taught moses...who then taught christ
    who then taught a bunch of fisherman.

    somewhere along the line some secrets were witheld.
    some alchemy...some astronomy/astrology....some sex magick.
    for power...money...control...monarchy....and most of all public fear.
    sheep will follow sheep and even herd themselves.
    ever do something so you are "normal"?
    poofy bangs...rolled jeans....high-tops...pumps..SUV's....buy more, buy more.
    i could ramble for hours.lol.
    sorry if i offended anyone.

    (all statements made in this post are strictly the "opinions" of the author)
    emerald tablet of hermes....(a definition of YHVH/GOD/GODDESS)
    Translation of Issac Newton c. 1680.


    1) Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
    2) That wch is below is like that wch is above & that wch is above is like yt wch is below to do ye miracles of one only thing.
    3) And as all things have been & arose from one by ye mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
    4) The Sun is its father, the moon its mother,
    5) the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth its nourse.
    6) The father of all perfection in ye whole world is here.
    7) Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
    7a) Seperate thou ye earth from ye fire, ye subtile from the gross sweetly wth great indoustry.
    8) It ascends from ye earth to ye heaven & again it desends to ye earth and receives ye force of things superior & inferior.
    9) By this means you shall have ye glory of ye whole world & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
    10) Its force is above all force. ffor it vanquishes every subtile thing & penetrates every solid thing.
    11a) So was ye world created.
    12) From this are & do come admirable adaptaions whereof ye means (Or process) is here in this.
    13) Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of ye philosophy of ye whole world.
    14) That wch I have said of ye operation of ye Sun is accomplished & ended

    this is a poem that many esoteric philosophers love to remix....this is newtons.
     
  8. Dave NoCal

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    Positive:
    1. Sense of meaning
    2. Codified ethics ("Do unto others...)
    3. Being able to "know" that which is unknowable whcih can be comforting
    4. Per Ganjha: Reducing fear of death
    5. Sense of community and family
    6. Feeling of being part of history
    6. Traditions

    More, I am sure

    Negative (IMO)
    1. Not having to acknowledge certian realities
    2. Having a convenient cudgel to use against others
    3. A key to social and political power
    4. An organizing principle for projecting ones wishes and fears onto others (think of Ted Haggard)
    5. A way of controlling unacceptable impulses, usually accompanied by projection
    6. Being able to "know" that which is unknowable which can lead to arrogance

    Many more, I am sure.

    In my opinion, religion as a human phenomenon is pretty much a wash, stimulating as much obnoxious human behavior as it contains.
     
  9. Boobalaa

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    I concur with all the above..Some theories which ask the why and how questions, begin with the idea that humans deified everything that was unknown and or feared; which psychologically placed a reason for an event or natural phenomena on to an agent..The so-called folk religions began when..groups of families coalesed into clans with similar beliefs..
    The concept of "belief' is something else..In his book "Breaking The Spell" the philosopher Dan Dennett says that many people who attend church really "believe in belief" of something..
    From youtube.com, I've copied and put into a playlist, "Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief" which is also an excellent source on this topic

    In my opinion, Julian Jaynes' ideas about 'Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" is a must read. his main premise being that as early as 3,000 yrs. go, most humans were "schizophrenic' hearing voices..i.e...everyone had their own God.. The Shamans, Oracles, witch doctors, holy men of antiquity may have had a touch of schizophrenia; which in those days attracted followers.which ment more mates which ment more babies carrying the schizophrenic genes..

    and finally, "Why I am not a Christian" by Bertrand Russell_1927
     
  10. galaxus

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    i think its to keep us motivated.

    also, as being human we feel we need to explain everything, and when we can't explain somthing we turn to religion.

    also a way of creating community by separation. people come together for a belief or goal and shun away those who don't contribute to those things.

    ----but these things aren't only in religon. they can be found in lots of places.
     
  11. titfortat

    titfortat New Member

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    Though I consider myself agnostic, I think that religion serves a very meaningful purpose to all societies on both an individual level, as well as in group organization- keeping in mind though, that I am not exactly including extreme cults and fundementalists.
    I think that religion has always been a means for people to provide an answer for questions in which they cannot answer though means of science. Religious stories help calm fears of the afterlife, why people become ill, why the plants did not grow, and so on. It proivides comfort and hope to those who have no where else to find it, Sort of like an emotional "blankie".
    On a larger level, religion can be used as a "rule maker", a way to keep the masses tame (think 10 commandments). Also, it is a way to instill togetherness, a feeling that everyone in the community belongs.

    Though I think I sort of buttered up religion, there is plenty I find wrong, but I'm thinking on a more positive level here. I myself am agnostic for various reasons, but I do see how some people need it in their life, and I have no problem with people believing in what they do. Unless of course, it drives them to the edge of crazy....
     
  12. SpoiledPrincess

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    People find it hard to face the idea of extinction when we die, that there's no continued consciousness, that despite what we did in our lives our awareness of it is over. It's also a comfort to feel that if we do bad things that it doesn't matter because there's some ethereal father figure who's going to forgive us when we die, so while living we can feel a little better about some of the shit things we did.

    There was a tv program on some time ago starring Christopher Eccleston, at around the age of 30 he suddenly realised he was the messiah, the second coming, he gathered disciples, performed miracles, could see other people's futures, but his own he couldn't see. He knew he had somehow come to end the problems of the world - in short to stop hate. The upshot of the program was that he couldn't see his own future because he had none, his plan while he was incarnate was to manifest as this earthly guy, get killed and as he was killed while incarnate God would actually die - once this happened everyone had to take responsibility for their own actions, they couldn't justify doing crap in the name of god because they all knew that there was no God anymore.

    Religion is just another way we make differences among ourselves and it'd be a better world without it in my opinion.
     
  13. SlimGuySB

    SlimGuySB New Member

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    Tis not just way to make differences. Originally it was used as a way to form a close cultural bond within a group of people. Those who identify with a group, support the group and the group's chances of survival increase. Those who have no common identity tend not to support the group. The group has less chance of survival. Later it was used to provide differentiation.

    Over the years religion has had many functions though. It is often used to provide a sense of control over the uncontrolable (see magic used by particular peoples to control the weather for crops etc). It is used to provide insight into the unknowable (divination etc) providing a sense of wellbeing - things which can't be known cause stress. It is often used for control - everything from spirit possession of women in some communities which have to be appeased by behaving in a 'proper way', to deeply stratified societes, such as those in the middle ages in england, where the best way to keep the pesant classes from revolting was to convince them that they would be rewarded in the 'after-life' if they behaved themselves.

    It is embraced in fundamentalist form by those who feel threatened by changes in society - see the snake handlers and poison drinkers of some US churches. It is also used by those who feel the need to embrace new information that has come to us (the moonies, ufo cults).

    I could go on, but I don't wish to bore you all! I'm not religious myself, but I have studied it to a limited degree.
     
  14. B_HappyHammer1977

    B_HappyHammer1977 New Member

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    Religion exists for one purpose and one purpose only; to keep the people under control. They use the 'faith card' as a tool to convince the public that it is they're free choice to to follow their 'chosen' religion. This is far from the truth.

    Religion is outdated, unnesessary and cruel to peoples emotions.
     
  15. B_stanmarsh14

    B_stanmarsh14 New Member

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    This topic caught my eye, & to be honest with myself, it often makes me wonder why religion's exist, & what their INTENDED purposes are in this world.

    I will say though that these days the original conceptions of religion have in my eyes, have become bastardised through time, but some general foundation rules still work & are in place today.

    Though antagonistic myself probably like most of the membership here, I believe the general foundations of religion to be this...

    1. How to lead a good life.
    2. To build a community, & a sense of belonging.
    3. To do all you can do for the good of your fellow man / woman, & yourself.
    4. To help those in need / Not as well off as yourself.

    Now, though not conclusive, these are my main beliefs to what religion means to me.
     
  16. Drifterwood

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    Moses took the tablets and went up to the mounain. He did not have constipation, he had lost control of the people. Commandments IMO are a convenient method of crowd control, a way of formalising morality where in fact there is no unified morality. Well there is, but most can't accept that a loving gay couple are as pure in their god's eyes as a loving str8 couple, let alone a loving philanderer.
     
  17. earllogjam

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    It gives people a chance to play dress up every week and sleep with your eyes open.
     
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