Supernatural?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by mathman, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Kind of a Deus ex Machina

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    Yes that is one of the explanations I come across quite a lot.

    In any event someone is telling stories and we can ask "cui bono"?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Sure. As observation itself reveals, they can be grounded in pseudoscience and also imaginary accounts of technologically advanced beings (from other planets, the future, etc). There are also personality cults and ceremonial secular religions and non-theistic religions. Any supernatural elements paraded about can be metaphorical symbols as in The Satanic Temple and other diversely motivated reasons to assemble/gather in ritual. Some zealous political movements could at least be deemed "para-religious" in their policing and monitoring of members' adherence to ideology (including "outrage and shaming" on social media).

    Since he was a science fiction author and it already wallows in degrees of pseudoscience anyway, some of the crazy stuff that Hubbard introduced in Scientology -- which outsiders seem to construe as "supernatural elements"-- could be explained by simulation metaphysics, if its head practitioners finally wanted to clarify how such could happen. Even fundamentalist Christians could explain their miracles and strange view of the past via that. But it's difficult to imagine them ever giving up their traditional supernatural source of magic for another orientation that's grounded in this being a simulated world. (The technological or systematic exploitation of a prior-in-rank level's own version of regulated affairs.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  5. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    i would argue that spirituality is not religious belief

    agreed
    the nature of the culture of obedience to belief is innate to the power & authority model dictating the philosophy
    this classes it into a realm of comp0ulsory ideology philosophy

    to believe in the possibility of a god should not by default make you religous
    the "religion" is the class of rules and laws that govern the set of compliaince based associations to that ideological dictatorship

    to declare there is no right to other ideology
    is to define and authenticate genocide by philosophical power & authority.

    such things dictated to children define base moral laws which create their own culture

    this is clearly seen in gender equality
    and Equal rights around sexual orientation and gender diversity.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Anything can be likened to anything else and everything can be interpreted as 'amounting to' something else,
    but 'religion' means the ritual worship of one or more supernatural being(s).
     
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It might help to read these two pages:

    https://www.open.edu/openlearn/hist...studies/studying-religion/content-section-5.1

    https://www.open.edu/openlearn/hist...studies/studying-religion/content-section-5.3

    The author writes: "Scholars offer us many different definitions of religion, but these definitions tend to be of two types. The first type is known as a substantive definition: that is, a definition that tells us what kind of thing religion is by pointing to its distinguishing characteristic...We can find an example of a substantive definition of religion in my summary of the definitions found in the Concise Oxford Dictionary. Think again about d. According to this definition, religion is the 'human recognition of superhuman controlling power and especially of a personal God'...

    ...The selection of a defining characteristic, upon which a substantive definition of religion depends, often reveals prejudice -- perhaps a personal religious (even a denominational) bias or a broad cultural bias. Trying to define religion in terms of one kind of belief -- for example, the belief in one god --- may be understandable within the context of Western Europe, which has been dominated historically by Christianity, but is narrow and inflexible when considering religion as a global phenomenon --- Buddhism is a case in point...

    ...In order to avoid being too narrow and too rigid, many scholars prefer a different type of definition known as a functional definition. A functional definition concentrates not on what religion is (its beliefs and practices, for example) but on what these beliefs and practices do for the individual and the social group..."


    My own opinion is that functional definitions suffer from the same kind of weakness that afflict substantive definitions. They are both looking for a single particular defining essence that all religions (and only religions) share in common, whether it's an item of belief (in the "supernatural" or whatever) or a particular psychological role in people's lives.

    I'm skeptical that any single defining characteristic for religion even exists. Religion takes countless forms, includes no end of different ideas and doctrines, and plays many roles in different people's personal and social lives. I'm skeptical whether there is any single essence in all of it.

    So, what makes something a 'religion' when other aspects of human life aren't?

    That's where I think that the concept of resemblance comes into play. We call social beliefs and practices 'religious' when they sufficiently resemble (and 'sufficient' will be a matter of opinion) other things that we already think of as religions. That resemblance won't be total and perfect, since that would make any differences between religions impossible. So 'religion A' will share some descriptive and functional characteristics with 'religion B', but not every one.

    And crucially, I'm not convinced that there is, or needs to be, any single defining characteristic (whether substantive or functional) that all examples of 'religion' share in common and that only religions possess. All that's needed is that the examples share enough characteristics with enough other things that we already identify as religions that they share the religious 'family resemblance' to a suitable degree (which might be a matter of judgment).

    Actually, I think that many of our everyday concepts work in this 'family resemblance' way. Just try to define 'Art' for example. Perhaps the only place we encounter concepts with precise definitions is in the technical vocabulary of science and mathematics. (And I'm not 100% convinced about science.) But that's a matter for another thread. (Wittgenstein moves in this direction in his famous section 80 of this Philosophical Investigations when he addresses the concept of a 'chair'.)

    My own views on how best to define 'religion' might be somewhat similar to those of Ninian Smart in this little essay here:

    https://www.open.edu/openlearn/ocw/mod/resource/view.php?id=17576
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
  9. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Only if you don't worship it properly.
     
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  10. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    You could consider the well being of ecosystems as a moral imperitive, and old trees or rocks sacred.
     
  11. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Only because religion itself is an outlandish claim.
    It could be though.
     
  12. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    But really dis-belief, and a-morality are nothingness and that itself is impossible, and naught doesnt apply to nature and reality. I believe you can save perfection creating perfect.
     
  13. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Belief and religio-morality are nothingness, as well. They're ideas and ideas have no physical reality. In that sense, all beliefs, all ideologies, all concepts, all memories, calculations, conjectures, knowledge, superstition, rationality and irrationality are equal: they are all products of the human mind and without substance.
    If you don't believe me, try to convince a rat, crow or octopus (note: I suggest only intelligent species) of the rightness of your creed and wrongness of its antithesis.
    Exactly. Thus, religion does not apply to nature and reality.
    Then you need to get busy proving that - whatever that is.
     
  14. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Do Chinese religions (Taoism, Buddhism, etc,) have supernatural components?
     
  15. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

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    Not exactly. Hypothetically, they don't have to. Daoism and Buddhism emphasize ethics and lifestyle, because they were not designed to supplant the existing religious structure. They were broadly intended (Daoism in China, Buddhism originally in India) to be a philosophical and ethical system overlaid on top of the traditional religion. With Buddhism things get a little fuzzy, as there are strong regional divides between its schools of thought, some of which were more transformative and monastic, some of which are more esoteric, and some of which more thoroughly embraced existing traditions. But in general, neither Buddhism nor Daoism were meant to completely unseat the popular religion, but instead were to add to it.

    Now, those traditional religions tend to have supernatural beliefs, beliefs in various gods and spirits. As Buddhism was carried farther East, it did bring Indian gods into China and Japan, among other places, though they were often adjusted to suit those cultures. As an example: Bishamonten, a Japanese god of war and prosperity, was originally the Indic-Buddhist god Vaisravana, who may in turn be an interpretation of the Vedic god Kubera. The belief in this deity was not inherent to Buddhism itself, but was instead a cultural fragment that Buddhism transmitted from place to place because of its roots in northern India.
     
  16. Spencer666 Registered Member

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    They are studying me for being supernatural , running they grey test on me !
     
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    That is completely off topic for this thread.
     
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    If Buddhism and Taoism and the more sophisticated animisms are religions, then yes.
    Not necessarily. They are optional.
    I'd get another dictionary. That's pretty bad.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
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  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    If you find the definition insufficient, you could suggest an alternative.
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I find it in flagrant error, not merely insufficient - as the existence of counterexamples (Various Eastern belief systems, various First American belief systems, etc) ready to hand from ordinary public sources and casual experience indicates. (Even within the Judeo-Christian monotheisms, a small and unusually coherent subset of the religions of the world, there are sects - religions, essentially, in the family - whose dogma specifies an absent or non-controlling God and the irrelevance at best of institutional support.)

    The American Heritage 3rd has a somewhat better one - but in truth it's apparently one of those words that reveals a common culture or historical worldview underlying dictionaries themselves.

    For starters: A majority of the religions of the world, especially the smaller ones, appear to have been essentially or from a Judeo-Christian perspective atheistic - in the sense that the distortions and contorted anthropological descriptions early European explorers found necessary for equipping them with deities and priesthoods have not dated well, and occasionally native believers who attained enough status in Western intellectual circles or found other means of being heard out have registered firm objections to the attempts.

    (Example: It's fairly common to run across a Navajo or Japanese Shinto traditionalist who finds the common anthropologist's labeling of their supposedly supernatural entities - the skinwalker, the kitchen "god", Changing Woman, the ancestor spirit, etc, - as "gods" to be a denigration of their spiritual beliefs, an assignment of hierarchical inferiority to both their beliefs and themselves by fitting them with small and shallow "gods" obviously inferior to the almighty God of the standard anthropologist's belief system.

    One notes that Changing Woman, say, however supernatural (a controversial matter), is not "controlling the human destiny" even of believers, and the belief system that includes Changing Woman is not incorporated in or passed down by or otherwise bound to anything that much resembles an institution. )
     
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  21. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

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    We have. Numerous time. For years.
     
  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    You have? Got a link?
     
  23. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

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    I suppose we would need define what is natural, and what is super and natural at the same time.
     

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