Saturday, October 27, 2007

Some further thoughts on defining religion

Based on my own readings in existentialism, and psychology of religion, I offer the following psychological definition of religion:

“Religion is an attempt to escape from the condition of being human in life. It is based on two facts. One is that there is something psychologically wrong with being human. The other point is philosophical — a belief that humans can be something besides being human.”

The only condition in which the second is true is with a .45 slug to the brain. Camus knew that when he said suicide was the ultimate question of philosophy. (He probably would have called existentialism, at least with the way he answered that question, as a psychology, not a philosophy.)

Psycho-philosophical escapism does sound a good way to define a religion, especially when he connect it with the sociology of religion observation that religions consist of certain defined rites, rituals, etc., such as prayer, worship, liturgy, etc. And, the psych-philosophical definition, of escapism, gets at the heart of what motivates religious people without even talking about whether a personal deity or not.

In other words, to riff on Paul Tillich, for the religious, escape from the human condition is the matter of ultimate concern.


Addle Allone said...

This is good. I am your muse now.

Thank Me!

Gadfly said...

This time you hoist yourself with your own petard before I even mentioned it. With an ego like that, you obviously aren't enlightened.