Religion doesn’t need the supernatural
March 7, 2012
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I present to you these two fascinating cases, from research conducting through rigorous thought-experimentation:
Case 1: ‘Catism’
It seems there is a community of people who have organised themselves around the notion that cats (Felis Catus) represent the ideal form of behaviour and manner. This community regularly gathers to hear sermons on how resting most of the day, grooming oneself with one’s tongue, and playing with string is not only great fun, but is the very purpose for which we have evolved. They sing hymns praising cats for their poise and beauty, grace, and awareness of the world’s ‘true’ nature. When they marry, they do so within the presence of a cat, and no marriage is complete without the household accepting a new kitten to raise. Funerals also require the presence of several cats, and they bring not only comfort to the bereaved but wisdom, by their very presence, according to this community. This community firmly believes that when humanity begins to recognise cats as being such perfect creatures, we will reach a state of peace and harmony.
Case 2: Indifferencism
It seems there is a community of people who believe in a god, Murf. Murf is thought to have created the universe, and sent down a book containing commandments on how we should live our lives, However, this community considers this book to be about as binding or interesting as any other, if not less so. They’d rather follow the advice of Dan Savage, in most cases. While they would like to study how Murf made the univerise, and what sort of things Murf put in it, they think the idea of getting together and singing songs about Murf to be utterly absurd.
So which one is the religion? Or to put it another way, take [existing religion]. Remove belief in god, but leave traditions and rituals intact. Now start over, but instead remove the traditions and rituals leaving only belief. Which result more closely resembles what we usually call ‘religion’?