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Old 03-01-2018, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
It's fun to hear Sam Harris speak on the subject.
Yeah, and I'm in basic agreement with him. However, my agreement is not cut and dried.

There are actually some strong arguments in favor of fully naturalizing certain kinds of religion (especially, perhaps, the non-theistic ones like Buddhism or Taoism), rather than tossing out all religion on account of it not being naturalistic.

However, most of those arguments basically amount to a critique of the most popular version of naturalism in the contemporary world--which version we might simply call modern scientific naturalism. The critique centers on the notion that religion has historically served a valuable function which hasn't been well-served by modern scientific naturalism as a complete world view. What might that function be? I'd call it by one word: wholeness, also known as integrity.

People who have lived in non- and pre-modern cultures which have religion (broadly defined) at their cultural core might be said to have had a kind of wholeness in their lives which modern people generally do not. Most crucially, I suppose, this wholeness I speak of relates to the relation of facts and values. You might say that there was a generalized (whole) sense of 'meaning' in those cultures. Life was "meaningful" in certain ways which is less the case within societies centered on the modern scientific world view (its form of naturalism).

I'm in basic agreement with Sam Harris about the enormous amount of fetid, disgusting, filthy bath water which are the most familiar components of what we generally know as "religion," but I'm not at all convinced that there is no baby worth keeping in the tub.

Sam seems to be proposing that there is no baby in the tub -- that all of religion is just fetid water and a tub, both of which he'd toss in the land fill, then bury deeply.

There is a great long list of things which are traditionally known as "religion" which I'd certainly want to get rid of, starting with its authoritarianism. Most religion has been profoundly authoritarian, and usually also hierarchically so. I'd then throw out purely imaginary, invisible beings of every kind: devils, demons, gods, etc. And then I'd throw out the ridiculous notion of the eternal soul, rebirth, reincarnation ... and anything resembling these. And so I would do with supernaturalism.

Is there anything remaining to the notion of "religion," after having done so? According to most -- if not all -- folks who subscribe to the popular modern form of naturalism (or naturalistic science), no. But I think they are importantly mistaken, though by no means am I stuck on keeping the WORD religion to indicate what's left which is worth keeping and which is compatible with scientific epistemology.

Modernity has had a major problem, which is the sustenance of a picture of life and the world which is whole, which sustains a basic wholeness between fact and value (among other things which comprise what I'd call "meaningfulness" in a general sense). Yes, the popular modern scientific world view has ways to find meaning in various particulars, but has it got a broad and general sense of meaningfulness? Most people would probably say, no.

Some very staunch modernist types would even insist that the word "meaning" can only refer to what words mean, not to value considerations of the sort that I'm talking about when I say "meaningful".

But I'd say that a culture, to be whole, must have meaningfulness and wholeness -- and, traditionally, this wholeness and meaningfulness was provided by "religion".

Sure, traditional religion has been a blight on people and planet. I get that. It still is! But we've not yet evolved a meaningful and whole culture in the wake of the collapse of religion resulting from the creation of modern science. And that's a huge problem for us. And it's one I think we have to resolve within a naturalistic frame.

We may, in fact, be needing a very modern (or contemporary) and secular "nature religion" -- or ... something. (Even the word "spirituality" seems inadequate.) Hmm....
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:37 PM
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PS -

Sam Harris, along with myriad others who subscribe to a certain version of modern scientific naturalism, speaks about human beings in a way I find both questionable and potentially catastrophic in consequence. That is, he speaks of our mind, our experiencing, our consciousness, our psyche... as something entirely centered in our brains.

Believing this brain-centered story basically means believing that we ARE our brains, and that the purpose of the rest of the body is to serve as some sort of vehicle for the brain's mobility in the world.

It also assumes that what we most fundamentally ARE is an organ and a lump of cells. This is not only a philosophically contentious belief but it would seem to me to render "meaningfulness" impossible. And yet this belief seems to be in the ascendency in the academe. It may even be a new mythic dogma or doctrine in the Church of Science.
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Old 04-02-2018, 05:10 AM
XavierreBoncoeur XavierreBoncoeur is offline
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Medication can help to overcome many mental health issue problems.
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