Why do we turn away from religion?

It is obvious is these modern times that within the richest of countries that there is a growing aversion to religion. Yet I still, thinking with reason, do not see this to be a well thought out behaviour or perspective to take. This is not a argument of rights and liberty to think freely, of course its clearly apparent that you can not like religion, but that doesnt free you from that chasing why.

Mysticism and spiritualism are very popular amongst those that are not so connected with ‘religion’, but I see the regression in the details here as it is their aversion to one that leads them to another, calling attention to, why do you need to latch yourself to something? Isnt religion exactly an answer to those drives, those needs to feel as though you are something or at least apart of something. Of course the drama of religion always seems to be the horses to the carriage in these conversations, people point out the corrupt leaders and people who have behaved horrifically towards many, in the name of religion. However, we do not have these very large brains capable to investigation and learning to stop at the first sign post. Whilst many use pens to write death threats we do not then assume that the use of a pen is to be diminished and to be ostracised.

We must look deeper at what religion is. This is where it may become construed too much and difficult to define, so we will not seek to define as that truly doesnt give much purpose, we should simply look at what religion’s components are.

  • A perfect ideal, be God, Entity or something beyond the flesh and blood of a human
  • Characteristics of such an ideal (How a human can use it)
  • Meaningful direction (Desire to be as close to or equivalent of the ideal)
  • Learning structure (Instructions on how to live out those characteristics)
  • A reason to speak to others (No ideal consists of withering away in the corner of your room)
  • Something that we cannot touch (Free from the corrupt palms of Sapiens)

Now, I see these components in all religions, but I will not go on to list all religions examples of all components. However I will break them down.

The perfect ideal is an abstraction from the cultural mind, not the individual mind. That very key to this point. God is not subject to subjectivism on an individual level. It is beyond just ones owns needs, it remains in everyone or the collective, the culture. It represents everything that the perfect cultural human should be, whether it be the kindest of all men, compassionate, fair, knowledgeable, forceful or speculative. It may be labelled an energy, a person or an entity, what is important that this thing’s influence is what we desire to be parallel to or at least aim for. Included in the mereological entity is those characteristics spoken of, typically only things humans are capable of. Behaviours that require thought and purposeful effort, a behaviour that resists base, actions that are seen to be conscious. These behaviours however do not come as a unidimensional staircase to the Gods, even in Polytheistic religions, it wouldnt just been seen enough to act like Aphrodite and behave with everyone lustfully and with love, that allows you to be pulled and tugged by the mercy of ‘corruption’. You would also need the assertive, unagreeable behaviours of Zeus to be able to navigate your life with less suffering.

A structure consists of rules or ‘do nots’ as this is more effective than the ‘do’s’ as we figured out a long time ago that we act more hastily when knowing something is going to hurt us than for it to be good for us. Even in the warm spiritualism of today it is often articulated that ‘You shouldnt judge’, ‘You shouldnt hate’, ‘You shouldnt be mean’. The details are in the language. To understand why this is the case it takes a quick glance at the extremes of what we want and do not. What we can all share is that we dont want to die, what we can also all share is that we want pleasure or happiness. The consequences of the do not want and they wants differ in severity by quite a large margin. You can go days without pleasure and sure some people go months at a time if they suffer from depression but if you experience the greatest do not want then, well your story ends. We are given the do nots to put us ahead of the fear and fatal consequences but to also let them push us, so that we can then reach for the dos.

They also all provide reasons to communicate, to directly influence others. As all that we are judged on is our actions, actions have consequences on others. Even if you alone burnt down a house, that house may be dearly loved by another and put others at risk. To love is to show it, to forgive is to reflect on others and choose peace, peace itself is the containment of chaos which requires more than two hands. All behaviours that are desirable besides sleep, eating and drinking are seen to be social and even those are strong staples within all cultures and timings when we all seek to be social. So even the most unnecessary social behaviours, in survival terms, we still make sociable. Hence therefore we seek in our ideal ways, methods in which we can navigate interaction in the least fricticious way, or at least with the intention of ending in less friction.

The need to have something that cannot be touched, I believe derives from a logical pattern that frees all of the structure we have spoken of above from being broken by a simple act of humanly impulsive behaviour. If we gave all of these meanings and significance to an artefact, lets say, one rock, then once the rock is gone. Everything falls. If we are the ones to be fixed then why should we put something so precious in front of us, that doesnt make sense, we may have artefacts but even they are not safe from thieves. A community could fall if their sacred mask was stolen, so it makes more sense for a religion to name the ideal and all of its behaviours out of reach and control. Taking it further, how can something be so great that even a mere impulsive human could just pick it up, drop it and break it.

Now all of these components I think reside in all major religions around the world. Moving forward I think that its important to highlight a general lack of inquisitiveness and an impetus to grab an identity. These all add to the ancient dramas of religions and story telling. It does not matter whether yours is real or not and I say yes it does not rather than should not. Whilst I accept that the truth is, there is a real problem and a real conflict across the world regarding religions, I see its components more important than its ability to give an identity. It should not be seen as an excuse to live but rather method to live, it becomes an excuse when you start to believe its Gospel as you then shut yourself from speculation, which means hindering thinking. God, entity, energy or frequency, if it requires you to not think as a constant behaviour then I do not consider it a Religion, because it lacks the distance, if you believe that you are the embodiment of God or an ideal then you are within anyone’s reach, being then touchable and anything touchable is at the mercy of corruption.

I do not see these words as utopian and I do not expect us to stop bathing in drama, I believe that the drama surrounding it being a truth is something reflective of our cognitive dissonance, our inclination to disagree as a consequence of an uncountable amount of causes. However, what should be echoed through into these words here from before, the ideal isnt attainable but we should at least reach for it. If you take the greatest do as you then you have nothing to reach for, your only option is to turn back and and look at the do nots, making you the amalgamation of everything so weak about a human, deluded, righteous and chaotic. That is no ideal for a culture, is is only an ideal for an individual.

The Triumph of Bacchus – Nicolas Poussin, 1636

One thought on “Why do we turn away from religion?

  1. What I find is, when taken at core value, religions and political systems have much value. Enter humans. It’s there where the interpretation based on greed, conditioning, and power enter and the root systems start being manipulated for achievement. I see where there are underlying beliefs that add to human value in all religions and spiritual beliefs, I think it’s where all the root systems share beliefs is my primary interest. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” is a prime example of a universal belief. I would only add, “And expect nothing in return.” I really appreciate this blog and the underlaying theme.

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