Author Topic: Religion in 21st century  (Read 493 times)

Sajjeev Antony

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Religion in 21st century
« on: February 21, 2014, 12:53 AM »
Dalai Lama said, "If science is to prove any of Buddhism tenets wrong, Buddhism will have to change accordingly." This was a bold statement, probably prophetic. But one suspects that leaders of all world religions realize the imminent changes. Some strong traditional organizations like the Catholic Church (which has a great record of survival) may indeed have started taking baby steps and debating future policies within closed door.
      This raises many questions in my mind:
1. Will organized religions be extinct by the end this century?
2. What should religions do in order to survive?
3. Are we seeing efforts by religious leaders towards universal ecumenism?
4. Or are we about to see a backlash? 
5. Currently young people in the West are becoming more and more atheistic. Is the change occurring too fast that it can destabilize society?  (one is reminded of the ultra secularism in Iran post WWII turning to ultra conservatism, both led by middle class.)
6. Will advances in genetics, neuroscience and nanotechnology help science in supplanting the role of religion?
7 If so to what extent should science interfere?

And lastly...
8. Am I asking too many questions for a single post?
Sajjeev Antony

Ryan Evans

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Re: Religion in 21st century
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2014, 01:09 PM »
I agree with the wisdom in the quote you provided by the Dalai Lama.

[...] [Editor’s note: several paragraphs were removed because citations were missing.]

Now for your questions, I propose:

1. No, various individuals who have actually had spiritual experiences desire to congregate together to discuss the meanings and attempt to understand the reality of said experience. Religious gatherings are merely the socialized aspect of grasping at rationalizations.

2.  Always be ready to self evaluate and modify erroneous - partially true - observations and understandings of infinite reality. Any revelation of deity throughout history is partial, incomplete, and flawed through finite understanding of incomprehensible topics.

3.  I think as wisdom and humility grow (hopefully) within religions, common values will be unifying with less emphasis on theological understandings. So yes.

4.  Fundamentalists will assert - often with defensive mechanisms - some requirement to defend their understanding of Deity. This is propogated by ecclesiastical declarations of scriptural infallibility. It's foolish and dangerous.

5.  Not only are young people becoming more atheistic, they are becoming less inquisitive and generally less intelligent. They are quick to accept facts, from "official sources" without much desire for objectivity in belief analysis. It will not destabilize society but it will create distress in harmony and incline individuals to segregate themselves with animosity.

6.  Science will never be in the position to supplant religion. They seek after two strands of human experience. One is the pursuit of values and understandings of meanings and the other is the pursuit of knowledge and the comprehension of material dynamics. They should be harmonious as both become less dogmatic and fully realize their incomplete status within themselves and inabilities to satisfy ultimate philosophies.

7.  Science should be impartial, faithfully pursuing that which is in its domain. Science should not obligate itself or allow itself to translate facts into meanings... it is merely a method of hypothesis validation and is naturally subjugated to the philosophy of scientific curiosities.

8.  Perhaps but such things must generally be considered mutually dependent to study the topic.

Long post, hopefully valuable in the discussion.

Andreas Geisler

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Re: Religion in 21st century
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2014, 05:02 AM »
I agree that science and religion should not share a domain, and that religion should relinquish all claims to the domain of science, i.e. the domain of "What do/can we know about the world?"
I also think religion shares a domain with other competing concepts, and that this is a healthy state of affairs which may eventually lead to religion losing prominence.

Thomas Schuberth

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Re: Religion in 21st century
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 10:31 AM »
1. Will organized religions be extinct by the end this century?
     I doubt it. Although in my opinion it would be a great benefit to humanity if religion were to disappear, I fear that the natural human instinct to believe is too great.

2. What should religions do in order to survive?
     Religion's best hope is to conform to science, to make it slightly less unreasonable to believe in. Nevertheless, as I said above, it will probably survive anyway, even in its current form.

3. Are we seeing efforts by religious leaders towards universal ecumenism?
     If we are it isn't enough. Many religious leaders and officials are still too far in the past.

4. Or are we about to see a backlash? 
     This sort of thing is hard to predict, although I doubt we will see much movement in this direction in the near future.

5. Currently young people in the West are becoming more and more atheistic. Is the change occurring too fast that it can destabilize society?  (one is reminded of the ultra secularism in Iran post WWII turning to ultra conservatism, both led by middle class.)
     I do not think so. It is causing radical changes to society, but not enough to upheave it completely. The Western atheist movement seems to be increasingly liberal and/or anti-government, which is very different from in Iran, but I do agree that this could lead to some turmoil.

6. Will advances in genetics, neuroscience and nanotechnology help science in supplanting the role of religion?
     It should, but it seems that most religious people gave up science and testability long ago.

7. If so to what extent should science interfere?
     Science needs to put religion in its place, and tell it to stop making empirical claims. Religious fundamentalism has held back scientific advancement for too long.

Sajjeev Antony

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Re: Religion in 21st century
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2014, 10:24 AM »
Very good, succinct replies, Thomas.

But regarding point 4, Are we about to see a backlash? you had replied, "This sort of thing is hard to predict, although I doubt we will see much movement in this direction in the near future."

Well, the official backlash has already started in Saudi Arabia. I think this is the thin edge of the wedge. I wouldn't be surprised if this century's conflict is between a coalition of monotheistic religions and secularists.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2594139/Saudi-Arabia-declares-atheists-terrorists-new-laws.html
Sajjeev Antony