Re: MD quality religion

From: David MOREY (
Date: Sun Mar 21 2004 - 16:35:53 GMT

  • Next message: David MOREY: "Re: MD quality religion"

    Hi Jim

    I agree with your assessment of Dawkins.

    David M
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Jim Ledbury" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Sunday, March 21, 2004 2:14 PM
    Subject: Re: MD quality religion

    > Hi folks,
    > I apologise if this observation has been made before (it will be a
    > little while before I digest the MD archive - certainly not at one
    > sitting), but maybe the distinction between mystical and religious
    > experience is that a mystical experience is an transcendental individual
    > relationship with the cosmos whereas a religious experience is a
    > trancendental relationship with humanity (and perhaps via that to the
    > cosmos).
    > The mystical can often bypass the human and can at times seem profoundly
    > anti-human (thinking of Dao De Jing #5 "Heaven and Earth are not
    > humane,//And regard the people as straw dogs.//The sage is not
    > humane,//And regards all things as straw dogs.") whereas the religious
    > will try to promote an integration with a human ethic. By human ethic I
    > mean much more than simple social level morality, but an ethic which can
    > inform the intellectual level and arguably a meta-intellectual level.
    > Although I can't help David in his quest to find transcendance within
    > the context of a particular Christian (or other) denomination, although
    > technically atheistic myself I do find that I have a deep sympathy with
    > the some aspects of Christianity, which I don't really find with other
    > religions. Perhaps this is related to having being brought up as a
    > Christian and relates to David's Jung quote "...if we desert our own
    > foundations as though they were errors outlived...", although I have had
    > some similar sympathy with aspects of Buddhism and Daoism.
    > In particular I can find a profound peace of mind in relation to some
    > church buildings. This is partly aesthetic, but there is an accord with
    > their being used, possibly for centuries, in devotion to a human ethic
    > (discounting the abuses of authority practiced is the past). This is
    > of a different quality to the quality of mind I find on say hilltops and
    > I would put it down to this human aspect. But also I find a peace of
    > mind when I consider the sublimation of tradition into humanism (for
    > want of a better word) that Jesus had in the 1st century CE. I find
    > that this cannot be simply understood in intellectual terms, and that
    > such a reduction degrades the quality of the understanding, although
    > simple intellectual considerations would make me question any belief
    > with regard to life after death (which I can feel to only mean
    > integration with the ongoing human ethic), raising of the dead (a
    > metaphor, or perhaps a simple consequence that without medical
    > certification, many people have been considered dead, only to come back
    > to life again) or reject biological absurdities (virgin birth). I find
    > that in consideration of this human ethic one can find an immense solace
    > in one's problems. I would think it is this aspect that allows people
    > with drug dependencies to be cured and for people in a state of despair
    > to find hope.
    > I can only feel that it was his discovery of this transcendental human
    > ethic that gave Jesus his strength to go to the cross. I can find very
    > real meaning in the concept that "he died for our sins". I can find
    > similar resonances in all aspects of profound self sacrifice to the
    > human ethic. The manner and moral authority of Nelson Mandela derive
    > from this. More ambivalently, the devotion of Mother Theresa to the
    > dying of Calcutta (the object of her devotion was the Roman Catholic
    > Church which to a degree taints it).
    > As I said above, it would be a mistake to identify this with simply
    > social level morality, although it has fairly obviously informed it down
    > the ages. It certainly can't be encapsulated by the intellectual
    > level. There are some aspects of DQ there to be sure, but I am
    > unconvinced that it is DQ pure and simple because some of it is possible
    > to be explained in terms of high quality religious thought (the 4 noble
    > truths and the eight fold way are examples, so are many samples of
    > Christian prayer and biblical psalms). But you probably do need a
    > sympathy with them before the quality in these words becomes evident,
    > and one cannot simply treat them as intellectual propositions and expect
    > the same effect. It is in this manner that one could I guess experience
    > transcendence in a Mass.
    > It's in this regard that I am uncomfortable with such thinkers as
    > Richard Dawkins: although I think he is spot on in his attacks on
    > creationism and superstition, his intellectual SOM cannot grasp this
    > example of religion and so he attempts to destroy it as well.
    > Oh well, it's a nice sunny day, which would be a crime not to take in
    > some of the limited natural aspects that one can in London.
    > Regards,
    > Jim
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