The Purpose of Religion

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The Purpose of Religion

Postby mitchellmckain on May 14th, 2017, 2:25 pm 

Clearly the purpose of a religion depends on the religion. How could it not? Indeed, it is often a mistake in comparative religion that one tries to line them up with different answers to the same questions. Academia long abandoned such a method and so when you see this, it is invariable the rhetoric of a particular religion. The fact is that religions only provide answers to the questions which they themselves choose to pose.

But while one can be cynical about this attempt of religions to measure all the others against the purpose which they have in their own religion, there is a measure of sense in this. I think it is a little unreasonable to put it all down to rhetoric of superiority, for it is only natural to address the question of why anybody should see any value in religion at all. Objective observation is most reasonable, but life requires subjective participation. So for those who choose to participate in religion, how can they NOT measure religions by whatever value they see in it.

The point regarding the issue above is not condemnation but understanding. Objective and subjective views both have their roles in this, and as long as we are clear about which we are doing, then we might as well be honest. I suppose it should be obvious that I am getting ready to be subjective about religion myself. And I want to narrow the topic down a bit to theistic religion in particular, for what I would like to claim is that the purpose of a religion is likely to be reflected in the character of the God such a religion worships.

Is it not logical to conclude that the values and priorities of the God worshiped by a religion tells us about the values and priorities of the worshipers? Thus when the God worshiped by a religion is all about power and control doesn't this suggest very strongly that power and control is what they care about as well? And if that is their priority then what does this tell us about the purpose of their religion? How can we avoid the conclusion that their religion is all about power and control?
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Re: The Purpose of Religion

Postby mitchellmckain on June 28th, 2017, 5:28 pm 

Also aside from the purpose which religions assign to themselves there is also the role that outsiders can see religions playing in society. The majority of these are typically a bit negative due to the fact that there is a lot of bad religion. But there are a few positive things which I have found.

1. Positive: Probably the most important role I see is in character/personality development. This is much the same role I see in astrology. But while astrology serves more the role of exploration -- for people to examine themselves and consider ideas about what kind of person they are, religion is more a matter of people making decisions about what kind of person they are or want to be.

2. Negative: The flip side of the above is that religion tends to become a bit of a hiding place where some really nasty people can disguise themselves and make themselves look a great deal better than they really are.

3. Positive: It has become one of the few places where can be some education can take place on things like morality, duty, character, life choices, love. This goes as much for atheist organizations or other philosophically based groups because the idea that morality requires religion or a belief in the supernatural is totally bogus.

4. Negative: As mentioned above, religion is quite often a scam for making money and gathering power. This can also be seen as a flip side of number 3 for whenever people put themselves in a position of "teaching" morality (i.e. telling people what they should do), then there is great potential for abuse.
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Re: The Purpose of Religion

Postby Inconsequential on September 26th, 2017, 1:16 am 

I also think that when we look at religion, we can look at it as a manifestation of our own human psyche. Religion is basically the inner workings of our minds, it is what we think is important, it's what we think has to matter in life. The people who had influnce in the creation of their religions mostly follow a basic pattern. Be good and good things happen to you, be bad and bad things happen to you. The differences are in the specifics of the different religions, and that can be put down to the time and place that that specific religion was created.

Religions purpose was to teach people how to live good lives.
What I think it's purpose now is, is to teach us about ourselves and who we are.
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