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Just a quick synthesis of what religion is.
No, that isn't a quick synthesis of what religion is.
It's either a transparent attempt at trolling, or it's an attempt to generalise your own belief system with a bit of hand-wavey posturing about 'this is how it is, and I know more about this than you do, therefore aren't I great?'
Now - from where I am looking at religion and ideology as a power play that makes it possible for some individuals to hand-wave and say 'I know this is how it is, therefore aren't I great?' is far more useful than any of the hundreds of other explanations you can find in theology and social psychology.
Ideology - which includes religion - is the process by which irrelevant nobodies can persuade themselves and others that they're very significant somebodies.
The pay-offs for being an alleged somebody include money, sex, power, social status, attention, influence, and self-esteem.
There is no 'god' in charge of this process. There is no invisible hand. It's purely a herd phenomenon.
The giveaway is that there's no such thing as a religious ethic. Religious people never agree with each other about what they believe. They're all absolutely convinced of the rightness of their position, but there's so little consensus between them that the process is inherently comedy gold. You can cherry pick from the same set of stories about your magic sky bunny to inspire people to extreme altruism or extreme greed, violence and sadism.
For religion - whatever you want, it's all cool.
Religious people never agree with each other about what they believe.
...and spiritual people from all faiths generally do.
funny also that the 'herd instinct' (to which you so correctly refer in the case of mass delusion/bad religion) has little -or indeed nothing- in common with the authors of those faiths, to whom solitude and lack of herd instinct was almost a prerequisite.
perhaps that's because 'religion is for those afraid of hell, spirituality is for those who've been there.'
when it comes to religion, i'm afraid sartre had it almost right... 'hell is other people'!
too many people in the same place, mental mayhem assured, complete with Charley-Tans a-gogo to ensure extreme bankability.
my guess is magic sky bunny's message gets lost in the crowd...
or maybe it's the old hat he gets put in. :)
nature exhibits biodiversity as survival tool, methinks genuinely kind, aware people are found sprinkled though many faiths and professions.
...and professions of faith!
...some are professional atheists... a pax on all their houses.
not pox, mind!
two poles, religion, canonised (canned) dogma, with more blood on its hands (and maybe charity) than any other human endeavour, and spirituality (direct experience), with less.
one's really hard inner work, the other like falling into the warm bath of lemming mode, where all conscious responsibility for living deliberately is entrusted to (mostly) scoundrels to decode/decide for you.
certainly not a subject for linear thinkers, or those faint of patient will to grow into deeper understanding.
fascinating though, in its complex enormity, or is that vast complexity?
'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
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