Trivial things that religion makes you do.

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Sorcerer, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

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    That's a very interesting post, thank you. I'm pleased that everyone now knows what Jains are.

    The reference to 'insects' was taken from one of the posts made here. You can review it above if you like.

    I was thinking about removing the 'trivial', so that I could include the 7 sins, but I started the thread that way so I think I'll leave it.

    I suppose I viewed the elements as 'trivial' when viewed by an impartial observer. I'm sure these things are very serious to the adherents.

    I'll update the list for the robes and chewing for the buddhists.
     
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  3. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    I can't imagine why you would post on a science forum to deliberately insult people's religions. Was it to showcase your ignorance?
     
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  5. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

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    I'm sorry you don't like it, but you don't have to be insulting. I'm not particularly ignorant as a matter of fact. You should refer to the rules about personal attacks.

    There is a category for comparative religion and this fits into that category, and some people have contributed to it. It is factual and doesn't insult anyone, unless you think something has been wrongly attributed, in which case you should let me know.

    And don't try to be insulting again or I'll put you on ignore.
     
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  7. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    So you don't admit that you're just baiting? You are not comparing the religions to anything really, you are merely being offensive to get attention. I'm done here.
     
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I think that he's contemptuous of religion in general and this thread seems intended to express that.

    It might serve others as an opportunity to explain why at least some of the things that he dismisses as trivial and stupid might in fact be nothing of the sort.
     
  9. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

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    Well, I'm quite happy to drop out anything which people think isn't appropriate. I already mentioned the hatred of gay people, so there's a candidate, plus the 7 sins. What about the rest? Not shaving, not eating pork, ritual child genital mutilation? Let's discuss it.

    Still, that belongs on the religion forum, not here really, but if you want to go off-topic I don't mind.
     
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Comparative religion is a methodological approach in religious studies that seeks to compare seemingly similar ideas cross-culturally, across religious boundaries. For example, it might compare the Christian idea of incarnation with the Hindu idea of an avatar. It might inquire into the simularities and differences between Christian and Buddhist salvation. It might examine saints and sainthood in Catholicism and Sufism. Or it might compare monasticism and monastic practices in a variety of different traditions.

    Another related approach is the history of religions, which seeks to trace the evolution of religious ideas through time.
     
  11. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

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    It sounds very studious and erudite.

    Now, I'm being difficult here, but does it encompass some of the basic issues that I raised here?

    The need to differentiate the group from others, by means of behaviour or appearance.

    The need to make people observe certain customs, in order to emphasise the authority of the priest class.

    The need to demonise minorities in order to ensure the homogeneity of the group.

    The need for ritual to help bind the group together.


    Let's be clear about religion: it's an evolved behaviour which helps groups of people to survive, and as such will contain common elements: a priest class, the promise of life after death if people do what they're told, and behaviour, ritual and appearance which binds the group. All you're finding in these studies is the result of these drivers, so it's not surprising that many of the results are the same.
     
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    'Comparative religion' is an academic methodology.

    My point was that making a list of all the ways that you personally think that religions and religious people are stupid and trivial has next to nothing to do with comparative religion.

    In order for what you are doing to be even close to being academically respectable, you would need to have deep specialist knowledge of the traditions that you are comparing. In your case you haven't even heard of some of them. And before we can dismiss particular practices as stupid or trivial, we would need to have a great deal of knowledge about what those practices are, about the underlying ideas that motivate them, and about the roles that the practices play within their respective traditions and in the lives of their individual members.
     
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    You see yourself as an impartial observer??

    Uh, must be tough to be enlightened, eh.

    And then your screen name - classic!
     
  14. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    But in spite of your attempting to "be clear about religion", it seems to me you miss, due perhaps to your admitted anti-religious bias, what surely must be one of the key original functions of religion, which is to provide a moral code, i.e. rules, or ways of thinking and acting, that govern social interaction, for social harmony.
     
  15. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

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    Moral codes come first and religion emerges from them. It's necessary to live as a group to survive, and you can't live as a group if you kill each other, or steal each other's wives, or cheat each other. You develop codes to make cooperation and trust possible. Religion has always been a lagging indicator of morals, being dragged along as people find new ways to interact with each other. That's still going on today with the fight for equality for women and minorities, and fiercely resisted by most religious groups.
     
  16. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

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    You've missed the point about why I did it. Read my post again.
     
  17. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

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    I'm impartial as far as any religion is concerned, which is the point.

    Yeah, I love my name, don't you love yours?
     
  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, an enlightened one! How splendid!
     
  19. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    People often confuse morals with ethics. Morals are a code of rules that maximizes the group, but may not maximize all individuals. For example, if we have thou shall not steal, this is good for group cohesion since it allows trust and openness. It also eliminates all the social costs associated with thieves, such as lawyers, law enforcement, securities industries, prisons, etc. It is efficient and cheap so the group can expand.

    On the other hand, rules against stealing may not maximize an individual whose profession is a thief. Say I don't wish to work, but want to lazy around all the time. I still need to eat, so stealing by law or taxes may be needed for me to survive. Ethics will try to justify this extra social cost by breaking moral law in favor of inefficiency.

    Religious cool acceptance of woman, as equals, is connected to all the extra social costs and the dual standard. Morality is about group efficiency and not about catering to groups with excess resource needs. That is for ethics.

    As an example, the professional sports in the USA have a very high proportion of black males at the top of the pay grade. This is due to hard work and talent with the cream of the crop rising to the top. The cream just happens to be black males. This is moral since there is one set of rules for all and this is the most efficient result; natural selection. It assures the best rise above to lead the way.

    Say we decided to impose ethics, instead of morals, so we can make professional men's sport reflect the demographics of the general population. We could begin by saying the NBA discriminates against old ladies and babies, since neither ever seem to make the All Stars. Therefore, we will need to set up quotas and have dual standards and two sets of rules until all professional men's sports have more white and asian males, more women, children, elderly and handicapped on all teams. They also need to have the same pay scale. The system is watered down and the cost is way beyond the value.

    To achieved the perception this is the same, we have to create an ethical illusion. Religion can't justify the meandering con job, loss of rights and inefficiency needed to justify the ethics. They want it to stay natural selection. They would vote to have one set of rules and let the best once again rise above. This is called old fashion and out of touch.
     
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Religion has never advanced the cool acceptance of women as equals. From the early depiction of Eve as the original evil temptress thru the Mosaic treatment of women as little more than property, the three major patriarchal monotheisms taught that women were inferior and lesser beings than men. Even Christianity played its own role in propagating misogynous stereotypes. Here's a few quotes by the Church Fathers:

    http://www.shc.edu/theolibrary/resources/women.htm
     
  21. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

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    What made you post this trivial thread?
     
  22. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

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    To highlight the trivial things religion makes you do, and then think about it...
     
  23. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Rather than 'stupid' I would say 'absurd'. Also 'arbitrary'. 'Stupid' could be a sloppy way of characterizing gullibility, but 'gullible' or 'naive' is better.

    It doesn't take too much energy to explore the origins of taboos. They can be found in primitive cultures which express no religion at all, not as it is known to us. Like we see in the almost random list of things Sorcerer is gathering, ancient taboos are preserved in the cults and rituals that are developed around them. The idea of people dancing around a fire after filling their bellies crosses into that realm of ritual. Ritual dances are still well preserved in the underdeveloped regions of Africa where people still hold onto their traditions despite the advance of civilization. In S. America, you may encounter well educated well dressed people who still leave sacrificed chickens on street corners as an offering to the saints. There are people who even keep checking their kitchen pantries to see if the labels are all facing forward. Ritual is buried in the mind, but it has biological roots. Even other animals demonstrate ritual behaviors. As creatures of habit we also tend to become habituated to adopted ritual behavior. It's the whole basis of styles and trends which not only affects pop culture, but riddles the history of fine arts. Thus the flat madonnas of the Byzantine become become warm and robust by the Renaissance, elaborate by the Baroque, emotive by the Romantic and complex by the Modern period. (Just to randomly pick a generalization for each). And a similar attribution is seen in the history of music. If we look at art from the middle East, we see the use of repeated motifs, which make oriental rugs today resemble those of antiquity. A similar comparison could be made for the use of modes and scales in Eastern music which have traditionally been so different than Western scales, that we may cringe from what sounds to us as out of tune. Yet the Gammelon of Java is a sound that would make Orientals and Weterners alike cringe -- to the extent they have a sense of pitch. All of this seems to stem from "our inner bird" -- the wiring that juices the brain when something sounds or looks familiar. It means we are home, in the rookery. All is well.

    Ritual has something to do with that sense of well being. It certainly has a place in bonding people, in holding something in common, some shared experience. Maybe there is a purpose to the existence of every trivial religious custom or practice. Maybe it's so trivial no one bothers rebelling against it. So it survives. Combined with taboos, the failure to follow a ritual can become a punishable offense. Either way the systems for preserving the practices can probably be traced to the Bower Birds and Blue Footed Boobies of our ancestry. And talk about trivial!

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    But let's not forget that all religious practices are not trivial. A great many ritual murders, mutilations and rapes were done out of the need to feed religious ideation, and in some cases it involved cannibalism.

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