The word religion comes from the Latin religare meaning to rebind.  It also has the suffix -ion which is a procedural.  So religion is literally the process of rebinding.  Whether it be knitting one's self back together after some psychological difficulties or knitting a community back together after social conflict or natural disaster, it still provides a valuable function.  

We are hardwired to bounce back from extreme stresses and difficulties.  The processes by which we do so is the core and heart of religion.  This is an important function that evolution has preserved and strengthened for at least as long as there has been ceremonial burial.

As nontheists, we are uncomfortable because nearly all extant versions of religion today include various elements of supernaturalism, but this need not be the case in the future.  Religiosity is valuable as long as we can focus it on it's relevant tasks and decouple it from metaphysics and ethics.


Tags: philosophy, religion

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When starting a religion from the ground up, there are certain steps that you can't skip. Yes, you are technically creating a society. So that term would be accurate, but still not precise enough. My group here in the Austin-area and the group affiliated with mine up in the Dallas-Area both refer to themselves as fellowships. It is necessary to create congregations or communities first. Neither of us are large enough yet to buy a building, but there is slow but steady growth. I use the term that is most effective at growing my organization. As it continues to grow, it will become increasingly organized, but I intend to try to keep at decentralized as possible.
That can work well when you are simply removing some of the baggage from one of the old religions and I'll probably look into that book because it sounds fascinating. But since I'm starting something new that is not likely to work. Think about it. I go up to someone and ask them do you want to help me start a new culture or civilization. They're going to think that I want them to abandon society and head off and start something on a deserted island. Culture and civilization or too comprehensive.

I have found that inviting people to help me start a new religion has been much more effective and helps me to get nontraditional and radical types with little to no previous attachment to today's dominant religions. Yes, there are pseudoscientific and supernaturalistic elements that many people bring with them, but I'm getting very good at debating and persuading members against them. That is one of the great values of making Discord one of the core elements that we covenant around with Free Will and Individualism.
A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.

Carl Sagan, 1994, "A Universe Not Made for Us", Pale Blue Dot

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