The writer and theoretician of, ummm, comparative beliefs and spiritual practices, Ken Wilbur wrote a book many years ago titled A Sociable God. It was quite a slim book if I remember rightly, in which he examined the uses in English or the word 'religion'. He analysed and teased out nine (9) distinct usages which I can't remember in any detail now, which was interesting at the time. What has stuck with me though is the major distinction he exposed between authentication and legitimation.
Authentication is the way in which belief and action in accord with one's beliefs affirms one's personal identity and the value of one's existence and achievements. Legitimation is the way in which beliefs bolster the authority and socio-political standing of priests and other officials. What scientific method has brought to the human species is the clear demonstration that ALL beliefs and assumptions are open to question. Knowledge is only knowledge to the extent that it has not yet been falsified. If a belief or customary assumption about the universe cannot in principle be falsified then acceptance of that belief is a matter of choice and opinion. People who understand the basis of scientific method are forced to question their own beliefs in order to retain their personal integrity and authenticity. People who have not yet understood the full implications of scientific method do not yet know that they are living in denial, but the very nature and power of the sceptical method is perceived as threatening.** This I believe is one of the major motivating influences in the divide between extremism and moderation manifesting in just about all traditional social and cultural organisations in the world. I take the ritual murder of Giordano Bruno in Rome in 1600 as emblematic of this divide, and personally take that event as the start of the modern era. ** I think that by default my view leans more towards Brent's than John's here. Possibly the biggest problem is that religious [wide sense] believers think they really are going to lose something by relinquishing Faith as the basis of thought and action. I respond that the human universe is always potentially infinite, so long as it exists and we believe it to be so. And 'Evil'? It is the deliberate treatment of another human as a thing. For a 'machine' to act in an evil manner it would have to be capable of taking responsibility for its actions otherwise it is only the evil tool of an evil person. Regards Mark Peaty CDES [EMAIL PROTECTED] http://www.arach.net.au/~mpeaty/ Brent Meeker wrote: <<snip>> I think humans valuing knowledge is as fundamental as their valuing food and sex. So there is a recognized epistemological duty. Everyone, in every culture, is contemptuous of the fool and a fool is someone who readily adopts false beliefs. > Brent Meeker > > --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---