Reply To: The evolutionary benefit of instrumental religious truths – Discussion

Index Forums Spirituality & Philosophy The evolutionary benefit of instrumental religious truths – Discussion Reply To: The evolutionary benefit of instrumental religious truths – Discussion

Lilith
Participant
  • Type: TiNe
  • Development: ll-l
  • Attitude: Adaptive

What is your position on the notion of preserving religious ideas for the sake of their instrumental evolutionary benefit?

Coming from a psychoanalytical pov, I have a big problem with this kind of thinking. No religions should not be preserved for their ‘instrumental evolutionary benefit’. That goes for any type of paradigm that hearkens to a previous iteration of cultural norms. As Weinstein indicates, humans primarily evolve via culture, and as we become more consciously aware overall with the advancement of science, it’s necessary that our philosophical frameworks adjust to and allow the expansion of this direction. To try to do otherwise leads to the sort of chaos we see today, where those who identify with certain religious paradigms end up denying reality for the sake of being ‘faithful’ to their religious ideals.

Religion represents an archaic modality of adaptation, in my opinion. Yes, every culture throughout history has developed a religious framework, but why? The way I’ve come to see it, religions are human’s organic approach to the question of how to live. They provide a world-view, code of ethics, perceived means of control against chaos, and a structure for community/familial relationships. But they do come from a primitive place, and easily play into the fantasies of the psychologically demented as well. The primary problem I have with (most) religions is that they assert fantastical, archetypally-based ideas as literal facts and this distracts from an acceptance of reality as it actually is. The archetypal nature of these ideas also makes them very prone to become ‘hooks’ which hold believers back from not only successfully adapting to reality, but from psychologically maturing. Religions like Christianity, for example, project what should be the individual process of integrating the Self and coming to consciousness onto a story of the Martyr-Savior. Instead of facing the reality of their Shadow and becoming truly accountable for their behavior, Christians belive that ‘Jesus died for their sins’ and so they are ‘forgiven’ and end up in denial of those aspects of themselves that are at the root of their ‘undesireable’ behavior. In addition to this, looking up to a martyr isn’t the healthiest thing in the world, inevitably it leads many with these beliefs to discredit their own value and become self-sacrificing and/or codependent. This is one of the most extreme examples, but so often instead of being functional tools, religions will curb proper alignment with the self and reality and lead to maladaptive ways of being.

Religions provide an ethical framework, yes, but what kind of framework? All too often they aim to preserve toxic social concepts that should evolve out of our paradigms as they are recognized as incorrect or amoral. Racism, sexism and classism are all big topics that often get engendered into religious thinking and passed down with its doctrines. Often religions will turn the proper role of ethos on its head and condemn groups of people such as homosexuals for being ‘unethical’ by the twisted standards set by the religion. This isn’t even to mention the tribalism inherent to the identification with a religious group, and with tribalism so often comes a superiority complex and ethos which excludes and condemns others who are not as ‘holy’. In my opinion, adoption of a religious framework as one’s ethical basis presents far more problems than solutions.

Would you differentiate between various categories within religious ideas?

Yes, as I stated before “world-view, code of ethics, perceived means of control against chaos, and a structure for community/familial relationships.”

Do you think there are alternative ways of receiving the social and evolutionary benefits of “literally false and metaphorically true” religious truths and if so what are they?

Absolutely. I think if we were doing things right, we wouldn’t need belief in ‘gods’ or some outside force that judges us in order to align ourselves ethically and respect the social rights of others. We should be taught and it should be an integrated part of society, that we as human beings have intrinsic worth. We should be raised with self respect, and taught the importance of respecting others in order to maintain our own sense of integrity and honor human value in general. Instead of pride we should teach empathy. Instead of politics, the authentic well being and desire of the self should govern what we believe. And why would we need a fantastical description of reality when the point is to see and adapt to reality itself? The human mind needs meaning and direction to become motivated, yes, but why can’t we live by the fact of our own self-generated meaning? I think that a better way of existence will come when we are disillusioned to the fantasies of religion and the other archaic social structures that hold us back from directly interfacing with reality.

EDIT: lol took me so long to write this, I missed the rest of the conversation taking place >,< But @bella just to comment on your comparison of religious ideas to the concept of human rights, I don’t think these things are exactly equivalent. Human rights are usually very directly derived from our physical, literal needs and are essential to the regulation of society. They have a very concrete basis. Religious ideals, on the other hand, tend to be more extrapolated and attempt to structure human behavior/society in a way that is more ideal than directly necessary. Therefore human rights aren’t as far removed from reality as religious ideas. I wouldn’t define human rights as ‘myths’ as they aren’t archetypal derivations, but something like a ‘social method’ which is directly applicable and rational.

  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Lilith.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Lilith.

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