Ive been looking into stoicism and I read up a bit on Marcus Aurelius, who makes a valid point on religion:
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
I have entertained the idea and have chosen to accept it. Its pretty damn logical. What do you all think?
@dominika I too have gone back and forth on my ideas of religion. I think that this quote is very valid, and very logical. My only suggestion is that you could also study different religions. If you haven’t already Taoism and Buddhism are great places to start. Both focus much more on spirituality and intellectualism than on the concept of “gods”. I suppose in the end, I would say I don’t think organized religion is the path for me.
However, another question to ask yourself is how do you define religion? To some, “living a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones” is a religion in itself. Sure it is not going to Church or Mosque or Temple, but it is devoting your life to a belief you have formed and feel passionate about.
I think this is genius. Religion has always been something I couldn’t grasp because of the people who taught it, and now I just respect the values it has because it does have good in it. One thing I’ve always wondered was what goes on in the mind of great leaders. How do they view the world, What way do they recognize as right and wrong, Did they believe religion because of faith or for their followers?
@dominika, Feuerbach calls moral philosophy and ethics “natural” religion. These are the governing principals within our societies without the metaphors and symbolism of organized religion.
So perhaps it can be argued that organized religion is not needed, although the vivid symbolism and mythology of various holy texts does well to inspire readers and followers alike.
@dominika, Religion is just a way for humans to figure out how to interact with our world, and the rest of humanity. I personally see religions as living mythologies, and once they die, the religions of today will be considered myths.
BUT, without religions/mythologies, the world would be a much less interesting place. Myths inspire us to treat each other respectfully, to realize that we alone are in control of our lives, and to connect ourselves under a common cause.
So while religion doesn’t matter to the universe, it certainly matters to us. :)
@alotlikelucy, Religion is generally a specific set of beliefs agreed upon by a number of people. Spirituality, on the other hand, is much more abstract and specific to the individual. Buddhism and Taoism are not both religions; buddhism is a religion because it has ideas of the afterlife (reincarnation). Taoism is based on the Tao Te Ching, which does not claim any definite truth, but rather states concepts that anyone can discover through reflection and becoming more in touch with one’s self and the world around them. I love Taoism and find it practical, because a lot of what is found in the Tao Te Ching is stuff that was already within me that i already discovered through meditation. I highly recommend the reading, it is truly worth it and has changed my life and the way i see things.
Religion can -should- teach morals through stories, examples, characters, etc. I took a college level philosophy of religion class over one summer and really enjoyed it. I love learning about ancient and Eastern religions and would like to learn more about Native American religions. Isnt it beautiful that humans scattered across the globe were all establishing something like it?
I believe that more than ever we need something to give us precedence for hope, not necessarily organized religion. Neitzche had ideas about replacing our purpose of appeasing God by being are best with appeasing ourselves and ultimately our species by living a life dedicated to personal development. He thought that we should all move toward our idea of completeness, always acting to improve ourselves, and then marry someone as equally complete and raise this kid with everything we’ve learned so that it may become more complete than either mother or father. By that model we would continue to evolve and advance toward “human,” because our current state more closely resembles a worm than what a human is capable of becoming.
@stevenv, God is religious metaphor.
@dominika, spirituality is religion. Religion is defined as a set of moral and ethical guidelines. Religion in its base form should not be confused with organized religion.
@MajorTom, exactly. His concept of Ubermensch is the fulfillment of human potential through recognizing that God and most other religious metaphors represent human traits that have been elevated and separated form mankind. “Motley bastards” that we elevate to the status of gods and then worship.
@MajorTom I think that for teaching morals, it should be done early by means of having children care for pets. Pets are unique because unlike their wild counterparts they do not fend for themselves. I think that having a child raise an animal teaches the child to fend for the weak and instills a sense of responsibility, companionship and loyalty. Although, this is a piece to the whole puzzle as children also need to be taught these things. A pet is like homework.
@dominika, I’ve always loved that quote man. I like this quote too.
“Religion is believing in someone else’s experience, Spirituality is having your own experience.” Deepak
Religion is man-made
Spirituality is Divine
It’s all perspective and the only thing that matters is your truth, your understanding of the universe.
There is also this quote:
“Whatever purifies you is the right path, I will not try to define it.” -Rumi
religion: “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” To believe something is to accept something outside of yourself as your own. If you’re not born with it, it is not yours.