PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
RodinsThinker
 
Comments: 36
Article views: 886
 
 
Latest Badges:



 
View all RodinsThinker's badges.
 

From Religion to Reality

15 April 2013, 09:09

How do we perceive reality? We sense it, thereby gathering data – and then filter it according to our internal mind maps. The first part of the process is the same for everyone, but what makes us different to one another is the nature of the mind maps that we’ve each developed to be able to cope with the overwhelming sensory input we receive.

Our mind maps give us equilibrium in a physical world that is unpredictable and often hostile; they allow us to experience the higher human values within the chaos and cruelty of nature.

In ancient times, humans were totally at the mercy of our environment. We could not predict, let alone protect ourselves from, storms, floods, droughts, or even the attacks of predators and enemies. Illness and disease were more of mystery since they seemed to attack us without warning or cause.

Social anthropology shows us that we coped with these phenomena by ascribing human attributes to them in a non-physical realm, thereby providing a means to engage with them and somehow make them less frightening and unknowable. We put them down to spirits, demons and gods. How we tried to mitigate against the disasters and ensure the favour of nature by way of pleasing these entities became the primitive archetypal basis of what we now know as religion. Our entire worldview was dominated by emulating, and thereby pleasing, an ultimate power beyond our ken, that resided in one or even an entire pantheon of gods. Tracking the genealogy of these gods is really interesting since it shows that even the modern monotheistic or “only” god is but one out of several others who are no longer revered.

Naturally, religion became a subject of abuse by those who saw past the supplications and gifts to invisible guardians of nature’s power. It became a socio-political, ripe for manipulation of followers by leaders.

Inevitably, some practitioners of these early religions created systems of thought and practice that they felt brought them closer to an ultimate truth or power, a source if you will of all wisdom and fulfilment. Such an ideal represented the pinnacle of security and provided a human value system that would be robust enough to protect the practitioner from the impact of all manner of worldly troubles and calamities. So was born from religion the pursuit of mysticism as a means for humans to identify with and be allied to the mooted ultimate power in the universe. We see the development of all sorts of methods of divination, tools for plumbing the depths of the soul and fate such as the I Ching, astrology, entrail reading, analysis of tea leaves, throwing of molten metal, card games – the list is long, and we see vestiges of many such methods today. All in an attempt to be more attuned to the random chaos of external forces and our internal nature, and less at their mercy.

The most recent, and perhaps final, step in humanity’s path towards mastery of the worldly realm has been the realization that we need neither be subservient to nature nor simply reactive to it, but can be in control of it. We began this phase through the conscious pursuit of objective and provable knowledge about the world around us such that we can now increasingly understand the deep inner workings of physical processes and, with that knowledge, begin to direct them. This is the discipline of science.

Furthermore, we’re now able to see the natural processes beneath what have for so long been regarded as “supernatural” phenomena, those whose workings are somehow beyond the bounds of nature. Physics, chemistry, mechanics, mathematics all allow us to understand the purely physical, but neurology, biology, psychology, and other modern scientific disciplines allow us to understand why we are who we are, how we think, feel and relate to others and how our cognitive filters, our mind maps, contribute to our deeply held beliefs about the realm we live in.

The three phases of humanity’s development that I‘ve described here were first outlined by French philosopher Auguste Comte in his Law of Three Stages. He proposed an “account of social evolution” in which society goes through three stages in its quest for truth. These were firstly, the “theological”, then the “metaphysical”, and finally the “positive”. The first phase was characterised by belief in gods and spirits, the second by application of reasoning and the questioning of religious authority, and the third by the application of scientific thought to societal problems.

It’s interesting to note that Comte attempted, after the French Revolution, to establish a secular religion. The intent was apparently to provide a cohesive force in society to replace that which had been performed by traditional worship. It was ultimately unsuccessful, but laid the groundwork for what we know today as humanism. It was he who coined the term “altruism”.

We see people in all stages of Comte’s evolution on this forum, and it’s usually pretty clear where they stand. Where are you, and what's the next stage in your journey?

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
36 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
David Gillham
Mckaiser challenged

'Do Races Exist And Does It Matter?' - A response to Eusebius Mckaiser Read more...

4 comments 358 views
Submitted by
Gordon Parris
Russia, Ukraine and the ANC

The ANC's understanding of the Russia and Ukraine situation explored. Read more...

4 comments 370 views
Submitted by
Fired up
Sweden on the cusp

Sweden, “The North Korea of Scandinavia” is changing tack. Read more...

5 comments 354 views
Submitted by
Mancha Wa Ga Mashilo
But South Africans, what is gende...

Equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. One cannot dispute the fact that women need economic and social upliftment by our society. Read more...

2 comments 154 views
Submitted by
Martijn Vreugde
The Egg, a story about you, you j...

The Egg is a story by Andy Weir, a phenomenal writer, but what is most important is the concept the story implies. Read more...

3 comments 128 views
Submitted by
Victor
Do atheists have a moral compass?

A common question put to atheists by believers is: "Do atheists have a moral compass?" Believers seem to think that only they have a moral compass. Read more...

118 comments 1335 views
 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2015 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.