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Scott Knightly

Undergraduate Student, St.Francis Xavier University

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In today's technologically run world, what is the new role of religion?

Since the past generation of the baby boomers took control of society, science and technology have risen. In this shift, society went from a religious centered society to a technology centered one. Now this shift was part of a much larger change in the way humans think which has been going on for many tens of hundreds of years. From the polytheist Greeks to the monotheistic Islamic people, the shift in religion has been something that took thousands of years to develop to what it is today. So the question I pose is "What, now, is religion's role?" and/or "Is that the role it is meant to play?" Now I am not saying that Science or Religion are correct, I am only asking what purpose it now serves society after falling as a community creator, and a spiritual binder. Where does it fall today and is it useful to us?

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    Oct 27 2012: From a scientific materialistic point of view, there is no purpose for existence of anything - universe, life, humans. They just exist. Period. So, what are we supposed to do with our life? Where do we get goals, purposes, noble causes? They seem to come from our desires and passions. We come up with our own goals, purposes, and causes. So, which goals, purposes, and causes are worth pursuing? Science can never answer this question. It can only be answered by some sort of beliefs and follow from a system of values that we create for ourselves. This is the question religions are trying to answer. I don't see this question going away any time soon, so, it's a bit too early to dismiss religion altogether, IMHO.

    The world is not run by technology. The world is run by human passions and desires. Whatever is the object of our passions and desires is our god. Worshiping material things - money or technology is not a good idea.
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      Oct 27 2012: It would seem that the two of us see eye to eye on this entire topic. I agree with your viewpoint as it is much my own. Science has explained away much of the physical world but they are incapable of describing the metaphysical, our minds, thoughts. I love religion of all denominations and also believe that is is an integral part of our society which is why I think the shift it is undergoing is detrimental. And at the end of your comment, I believe you hit the crux of the argument, "Whatever is the object of our passions and desires is our god." That was what I meant by my statement that religion has fallen as a community creator and spiritual binder. I did not mean that I thought that was a good thing, only that it was happening. More people today show up to get their hands on the new i-Phone than to a religious practice. No longer is it expected that everyone goes out and worships. You can see this in everyday life when a person crosses themselves or unrolls a prayer mat in public, look at the faces people make. People today are under the belief that technology will bring them closer than religion and that is, to me, a dangerous ideal.
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        Oct 28 2012: Re: "Science has explained away much of the physical world but they are incapable of describing the metaphysical, our minds, thoughts."

        Well, there is interesting research in neuroscience and psychology. But, as always, it explains how things work, not why or for what purpose. These questions are subjective. There is no scientific answer to them. Any research needs a purpose. Where does that purpose come from? It does not come from science itself. Again, it comes from passions and desires.

        Re: "I love religion of all denominations and also believe that is is an integral part of our society which is why I think the shift it is undergoing is detrimental."

        Unfortunately, those who are against religion, have very good reasons. I think, religion is very powerful. Perhaps, it is the most powerful thing in human society. It's neither good nor bad - it's just extremely powerful. Take nuclear power - it can be a huge source of energy or it can kill millions of people. We need to learn how to use it.

        Re: "More people today show up to get their hands on the new i-Phone than to a religious practice." No worries here yet :-) http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0101/26ikonos/

        As for the attitudes towards religion, why worry? I'm sure, religion is not the only way to answer the questions of purpose for our life. Religion fascinates me with the wealth of cultural traditions, the sense of rhythm and structure, community building, spiritual guidance. But worshiping religion itself with its rituals and rules instead of God is as bad as worshiping technology.
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          Oct 30 2012: Indeed, the idea that the physical processes and the conceptual, non-physical concepts are one and the same is an amusing idea. People tend to believe that the brain is a mass of matter and it sends electrical pulses out as well as receives them and, in this way, we are conscious. But that idea lacks so much as it fails to explain the mind, rational, imagination, origin, or the question of Why.

          That quote may be misunderstood. To clarify, I meant that the fall of religion as a useful tool and more to a anti-knowledge being is detrimental to our understanding. I agree that religion is a huge and powerful piece of our world and it can be wielded in both good and evil. I also agree that those who stand to mark religion as a foe are in possession of rational and very intelligent arguments. I did not mean that religion should "win" only that the refusal to accept and understand the two is detrimental.

          I am very pleased to see that I was very wrong in my statement and I thank-you for the link to an intriguing article! One of my favourite things is being disproved as it teaches much more than being right, :)

          As above, I am definitely not a believer that religion is the only method of understanding the Big Questions, on the contrary. I am the same way, religion is a constant fascination of mine. And yes, very much so. To worship the rituals and not the God(s) is one of the worst things an individual could do themselves and it is just like technology worship, ie the worship of the technology itself and not the greater ideas and purposes behind it.

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