Religion for modern astronomy

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by mathman, May 14, 2022.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Religions today were developed over 1500 years ago based on a"small" geocentric universe with god(s) ruling over it and focused on the earth. Given our knowledge of the zillions of possible inhabitable domains, universal god(s) need a definition which is more in line.
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    You say that as if the religions are independent entities from the followers.

    The only ones who need an update to a given religion are those who follow it.

    And its really kind of up to them, isnt it?
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Sure, but still ....

    Think of the idea that humanity is the object of God's attention. That is, the whole reason the Universe exists is to support this aspect of God's will.

    This is a bit different from the idea that all the Universe leads to life.

    That latters goes in many directions, but the actual point to consider is one of prevailing narrative and the effects of perspective. And as we try to wrap our heads around the implications, it's one thing to project and even empathize, but something else entirely to be immersed in praxis.

    Still, though, of religions "developed over 1500 years ago", we might recall Armstrong and our "modern Western conception of 'religion'"↗ since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is "idiosyncratic and eccentric"; Noll similarly attests that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, "Protestant evangelicalism differed from the religion of the Protestant Reformation as much as sixteenth-century Reformation Protestantism differed from the Roman Catholic theology from which it emerged"; this was the result of a period in which "theological method came to rely less on instinctive deference to inherited confessions and more on self-evident propositions", to the point that "as much was happening in theology from new meanings given to old words as from the introduction of new vocabularies".

    There is much pointing toward the idea that yes, it really is up to the believers, and they are constantly updating their religious beliefs. Jeffrey Burton Russell suggests that in many cases, "what people believed to have happened … is more important than what really did happen, because people act upon what they believe to be true". Armstrong observes↗, "it is far more important for a particular idea of God to work than for it to be logically or scientifically sound", and that, "as soon as it ceases to be effective it will be changed—sometimes for something radically different".

    Something goes here, of course, about the priorities of believers; a modern, wierdly regressive example can be found over forty years ago, in Barthel's regard for literalism↗, and I had occasion, not so long ago↗, to consider the prospect of decades, even generations, spent disputing over the wrong question. What was up to the believers was a matter of priorities, and Barthel's transcendence of literalism is not the sort of thing that worked for certain people. More directly, if you think of the Christianity we might discuss at Sciforums, or the evangelical Christendom wrecking American politics, governance, and society, it relies on a pretense literalism many scholars have long found untenable.

    We see in these examples some manners of how religious faith adjusts and revises over time, but also that diverse priorities can lead to different outcomes and beliefs. While geocentrism is undoubtedly small and obsolete, a more cosmic scale of God is a matter of priority and function.

    As such, does all the Universe really lead to life? Is life the reason for the Universe, or just another iteration of mass and energy along the way? Inasmuch as life is relevant to us, sure, it will be a priority in our narrative outlook. In juxtaposing the small, geocentric universe and gods compared to a more cosmic, universal scale of God, the determining factor will be when people need that transition. It is not impossible to work it into a refashioning of old, small gods. And if Barker tells us↗ "nothing ever begins", that "each age will want the tale told as if it were of its own making", it is not impossible to carry small, decrepit gods into a new and potentially boundless vitality.

    Nonetheless, a young-earth, geocentric burning bush that worries so much about your sex life just isn't a particularly useful God. While you are correct that religions are not independent from their followers, our neighbor is not wrong to observe that God would make a lot more sense if scaled up to reality. Compared to what religion is generally expected to do, what do we expect of people? Part of the answer to the topic proposition is that the people who would consider undertaking such an adjustment generally don't have much use for religion to begin with, and the ones who really need to update their archaic presuppositions probably won't want to. Or, more directly: The people who will change aren't actually the problem; the people who are actually the problem won't change.

    Wait, what problem? Well, as a matter of priorities, if there wasn't a problem, there wouldn't be any need for change.
     
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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Sure it is

    The ones running the show seem to be comfortable

    The followers also so seem comfortable

    General education seems not to want to upset either group with education. I don't blame education

    Start to explain that in considering the Universe our Earth would be a single grain of sand in the Sahara

    Add
    • and there could be life on other planets beyond our Solar system
    • and you will have inserted a couple of thoughts
    along the lines of
    • is the other life
    • like us sentinent
    • do they have
    • a different god
    • is our god
    • a boss god
    Oh no religious members running the show will rain down on your speculative education thoughts claims of blasphemy

    Best to teach only the basics
    • 1+1=2 and
    • the Alphabet
    Leave religion to handle the important stuff
    • we are god's creation and
    • he loves us and the
    • Universe was made for us
    • only us

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    Last edited: May 15, 2022
  8. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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  9. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Religionists don't want a definition that's in line with reality. They want a simple one.
     
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    How so? "In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth (and other planets) ..."
    Not much needs to change until the other denizens of the Universe start to complain, wouldn't you agree?
     
  11. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    No would not agree

    How would we know about their religions and any changes to their minds about it, however many it they might by

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  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    "...however many it they might by"?
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    The danger here is that you misunderstand the point of religion (the Dawkins blunder). Religion was not developed to provide an account of the physical world. That is a side issue.

    Religion is about humanity's desire to discern a purpose to existence, a way of reconciling ourselves to our suffering and death, for providing a rationale for codes of conduct in human relations, for creating community spirit, etc. In short, religion is concerned with what it is to be human, rather than explanations of the natural world.

    That being so, advances in science don't really change the underlying drivers that much. Astronomy in particular is fairly irrelevant.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2022
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  14. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    It's true that religions don't focus on accounts of the physical world, but most of them hold to particular creation myths. In that sense, they do claim to explain why there is a physical world at all - why there is something rather than nothing. Basically, God (or the gods) did it, or so (many of) the stories go.

    Also, you mentioned that religions tend to be very human-centric. God's chosen people on God's specially-created planet - that kind of thing. It's far easier to swallow that kind of story when you only know of one planet, or perhaps 8 planets. These days, we know that practically every star we see has one or more planets around it, which means there are very probably a great many planets a lot like this one. How can the Christians (say) be so sure that they are God's Special People? Doesn't God care about the 8-armed peoples of Beta Scorpii 7? Weren't they important enough for God to send his Son to save them (instead, or, perhaps, as well)?
     
  16. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Since religion is concerned chiefly with what it is to be human, there seems little reason to expect that issue to preoccupy most religions. But as far as the "chosen people" idea (which I think is unique to the Abrahamic religions, though I may be wrong), it has been explored by quite a few people, C S Lewis being one of most widely known, I suppose.
     
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    They (Beta Scorpii 7 people) must not be important in God's eyes since he didn't mention them and the Beta Scorpii people haven't spoken of their specialness either.
     
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    He didn't mention them to us. (Always assuming there is a He in the first place etc. etc.)
    Not to us. Not so far.
     
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    God is a he. Otherwise we would be speaking of a Goddess.
     
  20. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Why?

    Hollywood figured out some time ago there were NOT actors AND actresses, just actors

    So why gods and goddesses?

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  21. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Don't ask me. Ask God.
     
  22. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Was a retorical question

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  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    What stands out about this inquiry is that it is entirely invented; it is not synthesized from the religious record, but from the critic's own cynicism.

    (Try "The Man", by Ray Bradbury. In a fascinating coincidence, "The Highway", which actually immediately precedes it in The Illustrated Man, also suits our purposes. If you need, click out to Colorado State University, and jump to page 37 of the transcribed PDF↱ for "The Highway"; "The Man" starts on page 40.)​
     

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