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[Photo: Eye-catcher by cobalt123]

On Sunday, I will be guest blogging on the Unknowing Mind while Mike is on vacation. I will be joined in guest blogging duties by Jon of Jesusfollowers Journal and Sojourner of A Pagan Sojourn. We will each give our esponse to the following questions: How do you feel about religious diversity? Is diversity important or would a single, or no, religion be more beneficial for our world today? I will post a link once the essays are posted. Be sure to check it out and to chime in on the conversation!

As a precursor, I thought I would open a similar question for discussion here.

Does traditional religion have a purpose in today's world?
Why or why not?

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Yes, if we take traditional to mean the great religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, etc. in and of themselves. No, if we take traditional to mean that we take our religion and, based on its absolute truth, denigrate or harm or pollute the minds (i.e. proselytize beyond our welcome) of followers of other religions. To believe that your religion is the one true route to god is built-in to the belief system of several religions, Christianity in particular. While I disagree, I won't deny Christians their need to believe that, to make the philosophical foundations of their faith solid. However, in return I expect tolerance and a respect of my faith. I think the traditional religions have value in our society (see Joseph Campbell for the benefits of myth). I think when we allow those religions to eradicate our respect of others and their choices, that's when they become dangerous.

I think that everyone needs to believe in and fear something or someone. A belief in an after-life or a loving god or even a revengeful god gives one some meaning to life. These beliefs will make one aware of the goodness of all persons so that all are treated with love and respect. Yes, all religions based onlove are good.

I have to say that, yes, religion has a purpose in the modern world -- the purpose is nefarious and harmful to individuals, but a purpose nonetheless. Religion is all about control. It leverages people's hopes and fears to keep them in line -- whatever "in line" means for a particular culture.

one guy -- Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I have to agree whole-heartedly with you...

one guy,

I'm behind you 100%

It is supposed to be peaceful but has been wickedly evil.

From the Modern Humanist perspective I would have to say that traditional religion has no purpose in the modern world. I say this not because it has nothing to offer, but because it is outdated and corrupt.

Even going back to the early days, religion has always been used to control people. There have always been positive and beneficial beliefs, but those became corrupt with the very first offering at the very first temple.

I think the big distinction is between religion and philosophy. Religion is an organized controlling body that is beholden to it's employees and shareholders to grow the business and take over the world. A philosophy is simply a set of beliefs and a way of life. The faiths behind different religions have a core philosophy and once separated, those philosphies can offer great thoughts and diversity.

Clinging to traditional religion, as we see day in and day out, only serves to divide, isolate and control - and ultimately leads to conflict and strife. Plus any belief system that forces me to suspend my reality in order to believe it so that it can retain it's traditional mythology, is hopelessly incongruent with the modern world. Furthermore, any belief system that cannot sustain itself against the changing understanding and knowledge of the world and must attack anything that opposes it, is not only weak, but societally cancerous.

It is for this reason that I believe Modern Humanism to be the best philosphy. Not simply because it supports and inspires without robbing anyone of liberty, freedom or intelligence, but because it is fluid enough to change and grow with the world and the people in it.

Feel free to offer any of this up on Unknowing Mind if you feel it would add to the conversation.

Navillus, thanks for your insightful comments. I agree with you 100%. How can cultures begin to dis-entrench themselves from the throngs of out-dated and violent religions? Most societies are built around these notions (including the US) -- seems like an almost impossible task! Guess we have to start one person at a time...

The key here, and the mission of Modern Humanist is to provide those same answers that religion does in the hope that other will see that holding a humanist beleif can be just as (if not more) fulfilling and personally meaningful as traditionally mythology based beleif systems. And also to show that being without belief in supernatural deities does not take anything away from society or community and may be more of a uniting force because it does not breed hatred and disunity.

It is not an easy path, but a long and challenging one. But if each person who sits up in church and says "wait a minute" or each person that hears a dogmatic lecture and thinks it doesn't make sense has somewhere turn turn, then maybe someday we may get a groundswell.

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