Hello-

>K. S. Ryan wrote:
> > Religion is a system of beliefs describing our place in the cosmos.

RW:
>Better go back and look up the word "religion" again.

KSR:
I'm pretty comfortable with the English language, but I looked it up anyway. 
I stand by my definition.

I've never found a spiritual system that did not proffess to tell the truth 
about existance from the macro to the micro. The role of religion is to 
explain universal truths, and ask that we act accordingly.

Prophets describe our place in the cosmos by explaining universal
principles. Fundamentalists of all sorts are in conflict with the modern 
world because universal principles are increasingly scientific, secular, and 
physically practical. Old school religions are losing market share to the 
modern world. But the modern world does not offer a unified system of belief 
describing our place in the universe.

RW:
I think this is an uneducated conclusion. That is if you continue to 
misuse>the term "religion" in a consistent fashion.

KSR:
Uneducated? Au contraire! These are carefull observations, and commonly 
reflected by others. If you study this topic at all, you will have noticed 
consistant repetitions across many disciplines, i'e anthropology, political 
science, sociology, demographics...

RW:
>The creation of old-world dogma was for the benefit of the young souls
>that by virtue of their own mis-expression, demanded a harsh dogma and
>religious expression to find their way back to god.

KSR:
No. Harsh dogma is originally a survival strategy. Ethics is the economics 
of self preservation. Jews and Moslems forbid eating pig because of 
parasites in the meat. The Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would like to 
be done," is basic self preservation. Years later, original reasons for 
dogma become obsolete through sanitation or cultural evolution. 
Simultaneously, over time the prophets' messages ossify into rote ritual. 
Fundamentalists have lost the meaning behind the message. The wisdom of a 
prophet's words are in the background, not the surface. It is analogy. But 
the symbolism used to make the original point gets buried by lost context or 
archaic metaphores. And so fools cling to what is in their hand, which is 
the bald statement, bleached of symbolic truth.

RW:
>The spiritual principles that these "old school religions" as you put it 
>are>based>on are just as valid today as they were then. Similar in concept 
>to>saying: electromagnetism was>just as valid back then as it is today.

KSR:
Yes. Spiritual principles are eternal, if they are true in the first place.

RW:
-Those that cooperate and spontaneously express spiritual law out of love of 
others

KSR:
Agreed. Some people, probably most people, are unable to expand their self 
concept to include much of the world beyond themselves. The message of the 
prophets is that it is all you.

RW:
most>of these "modern worlders" are rebelling against the spiritual in favor 
of the>self in the>world.

KSR:
Intelligent "modern worlders" don't rebell against the spiritual in favor of 
the self (though they will lapse, like anyone). But they may rebel against 
what doesnt make sense to them. It is hard to sell a 5,000 year old God to 
someone who knows rudimentary physics. Physicists who understand vast 
swathes of contemporary physics are sometimes so awed by the scale that they 
start to believe again in higher power. But it is rarely the same God that 
they left.

-Kevin


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