Monday, February 8, 2010

How to View Religion

What is religion?

It's a system of relationships

Dual meaning of system:  System can refer to ideology (grouping of ideas);  System refer to identity (grouping of people).

Types of Relationships: 
  • Others--morality (think Confucianism, Taoism, etc.)
  • World--stewardship (think animism, Mother Earth religions, etc.)
  • Self--inner peace, a irenic conscience  (characterized by zen buddhism, etc.)
  • God--metaphysics/theology (typified by islam, Judaism, etc.)
  • Future--eschatology/after life (think Heaven/Hell, etc.)

Advantage to this view: allows flexibility in borrowing from multiple ideologies that specialize in one of the above fields to be learned from.  Religion doesn't have to be dogma.  It can be a heuristic method of thinking about interactions of different parties.  An allegory rather than absolutes.

It can also help us realize that you can excise the metaphysics and still keep the morals.  It can be all about keeping the baby while ditching the water.  

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