[FoRK] Is God an Accident?

rst at ai.mit.edu < rst at ai.mit.edu > on > Fri Sep 15 14:32:20 PDT 2006

Albert S. writes:

 > This seems like a good explanation for why the vast
 > majority of people are predisposed to the body-soul
 > duality and the spirit deity aspects of religion.
 > However, it doesn't explain the dogmatism of 'my
 > religion is the one true religion' aspect of religion.

But then again, that dogmatic aspect is *hardly* universal.  It's a
feature of the Abrahamic religions, but in modern Asian societies
(say, Japan), it's not at all uncommon to find people following the
rituals of more than one religion (say, some flavor of Buddhism *and*
Shinto) without feeling particularly odd about it.  And going back
further into European history, what got the Jews in trouble in the
Roman empire was not their insistence on worshipping their *own*
deity, but rather their refusal to join in worship of the Romans'
crowd of divinities.

(And even Christianity, while openly eschewing that kind of
syncretism, still managed to get quite a few traditional local deities
in the back door as devotional figures by making them saints of one
kind or another).

rst


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