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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 29 2012: Thanks Scott, a great and timely question.

    From my perspective, humanity has grown up mentally and spiritually over possibly millions of years.
    That development and growth could be portrayed in the growth and development of each individual human being We go from being totally spiritually ignorant, to being wise and loving.

    Humanity seems to have reached the stage of a youth. The trust and belief in the parents is taken over, or pushed aside, by an excitement of discovering things and creating things him/herself.

    The parents (or God) are still there but have taken a back-seat.

    It is my sincere hope that at one point a trend will develop during which people will say: My parents (God) still exist and love me. All by itself science can not tell me what life, or spirituality is all about. There is more to life than matter.

    To discover and learn new things was exiting, but that is not what life is all about. I.e. driving a more sophisticated car does not make me a better person. Science can not make my marriage better.

    Religion (or the interpretation of Revelation) will at some point become important again when that interpretation reaches a level that makes sense and can be understood, spiritually.

    At some point religion will go beyond the sayings of "believe it or else!!" or 'leave your coat and brain at the door and sit down.'

    In both, religion and science, when there exists a mis-interpretation of facts or ideas, there emerges a mystery. It also is totally wrong in both to fully trust a mystery and declare it as the truth. Give it time, keep an open mind, and things will change, level out and start making sense again.

    Thanks again Scott
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      Oct 29 2012: Why superstition, though? Why not plain spirituality, or philosophy?
      I don't think you've answered the question.
      • Oct 29 2012: What, in your view, is the difference between superstition and spirituality. If you do see any difference??

        What I said is that the actual role of religion is not changed by science. Just because science is elbowing itself to the front that does not change the role of religion.
        As I said elsewhere, science can get us to the moon, but only religion can get us to heaven. That is not going to change.
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          Oct 31 2012: Superstition and spirituality have nothing in common. Superstition is a belief system that is irrational, while spirituality is a certain curiosity, or sensitivity or, depending on the definition, a way of life, a philosophy.
          It is my conviction and personnal experience that you really don't need religion to have spirituality.
      • Nov 1 2012: Hi Gerald, it seems your experience with religion has not been that great.

        What convinced you there is no belief system which has a spiritual reality as well? Science?

        Right away I have to also say, I may very well agree with you regarding the lack of spirit in traditional Christianity. There is the saying that 'one has to leave the church to meet God' :)

        So my interpretation of religion is that it can be a spiritual relationship with a higher power. As any relationship, it is not what we wear, it is not about gestures or which chair or pew we sit on. If is all about why we do what we do.

        Would your definition above, of spirituality, require scientific evidence?
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          Nov 1 2012: I'm sure you're a spiritual person, Adriaan. But I'm convinced it has nothing to do with the religion you're into. There are very spiritual atheists, buddhists, muslims, jews, christians... as you know.
          That's my point, nothing more. Spirituality is independant from religion.

          About science. I don't think scientific evidence has anything to do with spirituality, though I think spirituality is at the origin of the curiosity that drives us to wonder what the world is actually like.
      • Nov 1 2012: Yeah, "why not philosophy" - (which leads right-back to science & its philosophy.)

        You mention "Superstition and spirituality." Yes, I guess my spirituality, (and all spirituality) can be labeled a superstition. Everything & everyone is "suspect" from an outside vantage-point. All who would side with Taikai for President are Communists, and Communists are in bed with the Dadaists; they're both selling out to the Repubs. It's a vicious circle.
      • Nov 2 2012: Hi Gerald,
        "But I'm convinced it has nothing to do with the religion you're into."
        Which shows me you either know nothing about spirituality or you know nothing about Swedenborgianism (the New Christian Church). It is very new (about 250 years young) and is as different from the traditional Christian church as that church is from the Jewish religion. Neither of which, you're right, have anything spiritual.
        Swedenborg wrote books for close to 30 years showing that what makes the Bible God's word is not the literal text and history lessons. It is the higher, internal and spiritual meaning of that text.

        To me spirit or spirituality has nothing to do with sophisticated thoughts, deep reflections or some other way of extending the mind 'upward' in some way. I firmly believe our mind is above matter and exists in a spiritual realm and is only 'connected' by an influence which Swedenborg calls "the science of correspondence.

        Human life consists of love and wisdom. Both are aspects of that spiritual realm and one without the other is spiritual death. When both are present, the result is use, or being useful. One well-known quote is "All religion relates to life, and a life of religion is to do good."

        I sincerely hope you have "the curiosity that drives us to wonder what the world is actually like" and use that to do some research. You say you're convinced.. I just hope you're not stuck. I'd like to think there is still a role for religion and that everything on this website makes sense and provides a spiritual direction.
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          Nov 2 2012: Or one can "find God" writing poetry, or painting a ceiling, or jogging... It really is the homo sapiens thing to do and although some religion encourage people to live in a multi-layer dimension, it's definitely not the only thing to be doing it... and I suppose not the best... and sometimes the worse.
          The worst way to be spiritual is to be religious in a way that you accept scripture as actual explanations about reality, as cosmology. In today's world, for instance, chosing to ignore the theory of evolution is a spiritual mistake. There you have a beautiful idea that a human mind has come up with, with absolutely awesome explanatory power and vertiginous implications. A modern biologist faces a complexity and a mystery that could not have been imagined. The best way to be spiritual is to be open-minded, to enjoy mystery as much as solutions.
          So if you're in a religion that shortcuts creative effort to figure things out, yes, I believe you're missing something important, spiritually-wise. That's when religion stands in the way of the religious.
      • Nov 2 2012: Hi Gerald, "In today's world, for instance, choosing to ignore the theory of evolution is a spiritual mistake."
        I fully agree with you because, as I said earlier, to base our belief system and world view on the literal text of the Bible is old school. There is nothing in the Old Testament that should be taken literally and applied to life. There is a spiritual level that allows us to put it in our personal, individual life, IF we so choose.

        When you say "The best way to be spiritual is to be open-minded," Is that what you are, when you say "you're convinced.."??
        Something as basic and simple as the Creation Story used to tell people God created everything in seven days and in a certain way. If that interpretation makes us a more spiritual person, fine.
        However, humans have become more scientific and things in that story don't make sense any more and so a new Revelation was given. That shows this story has a spiritual meaning that applies to every individual that lives on this planet.
        Can we, by ourselves, figure out what it means to be infinite? or omnipresent? Absolutely not. Do you think we can come up with, and create, information about what happens after our body dies? All that information is now given to us and we can be convinced and ignore it, or we can be open minded and have a look.

        If the Bible did not have Divine Truth hidden in it, it would not be the "Word of God" in fact it would be worse than what Shakespeare wrote. And why it is hidden is a whole new subject.

        This book is about how the organs and systems in a human body are a basis of spiritual reality. How the two interact and why.

        And this is about what happens after our body dies,

        I hope you'll have the time to at least have a look at them and then decide to explore or ignore..
        wishing you a great weekend!

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