Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

SECULARISM

I recently read “SHAMANISM” – an academic book about archaic belief systems. It shows that all human societies have developed a system, and that there is a surprising degree of similarity. It seems that spiritual belief answers an in-built human need and is a necessary part of human life. If that is so, then our society is damaging itself by dumping religion and relying wholly on secularism. I wish the Christian churches would do more to promote religion as a general concept, that has huge value. And if one accepts that it is a good and necessary thing, then Christianity looks like the best available.

This is a sociological approach, contrasting with the priestly approach that begins with, “God says”. It may be that the two are not so far apart – religion originally being a means to make the tribe do the things that were good for it by giving them a supernatural authority. But down the ages the “God says” angle has achieved dominance and the things that the priests credit Him with saying and doing have become solidified. Some have lost credibility and the secularists can ask “You can’t possibly believe all that, can you?”

Starting from the view that religion is necessary, you avoid that argument and allow people to scan the faiths without pre-conceptions. I find that such a scan makes Christianity look very impressive. This can translate into belief – not always literal belief, but belief in the truths behind the stories. I think the approach can be helpful to those who can’t quite cope with the “God says” angle.

The damage caused by the absence of religion can already be seen in our society. Some public figures seem to have no base on which to construct moral standards. The Dalai Lama recently made some interesting comments about us.

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