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TygerTyger
February 1st, 2010, 04:21 AM
I was watching ‘Big Questions’ on BBC2 yesterday morning and they had a look at Paganism. One of the contributors commented that (paraphrased) “the problem with religions that revere nature is that they have no morality. Nature is just nature, it has no wrong or rights and that is no basis for a religion that is of any use to society.”

I found this quite interesting as it seemed that the argument was that a religion is only viable if it is of use to society. This begs the question do religions only begin to deal with society’s larger problems?

If they do does this mean that religions like Pantheism are not viable?

thought_on_a_wind
February 1st, 2010, 05:26 AM
Well, seeing as how politics coincide quite well with Darwin's famous contribution "The Origin of Species" I believe, and especially with their definition of a viable religion (which more oft than not are very political in and of themselves) that statement is quite the conundrum on many different levels IMO.

Lunacie
February 1st, 2010, 09:49 AM
I was watching ‘Big Questions’ on BBC2 yesterday morning and they had a look at Paganism. One of the contributors commented that (paraphrased) “the problem with religions that revere nature is that they have no morality. Nature is just nature, it has no wrong or rights and that is no basis for a religion that is of any use to society.”

I found this quite interesting as it seemed that the argument was that a religion is only viable if it is of use to society. This begs the question do religions only begin to deal with society’s larger problems?

If they do does this mean that religions like Pantheism are not viable?

I definately have a quibble with this guy's point of view, it's a quibble I've had for a long time. Even before I switched from a mainstream religion to a Pagan religion.

First - I debate the notion that Pagans have no morals, that morals can only be taught by mainstream religions. I think morals are part of any society, and are actually a natural human phenomonom.

Second - not all Pagans feel the need to be part of a religion that promotes social structure. Many feel that a spiritual experience is valid even if they aren't sharing it with anyone else. They feel they can contribute to society in ways that have nothing to do with religion eh?

~*Sacred*~
February 1st, 2010, 10:02 AM
I definately have a quibble with this guy's point of view, it's a quibble I've had for a long time. Even before I switched from a mainstream religion to a Pagan religion.

First - I debate the notion that Pagans have no morals, that morals can only be taught by mainstream religions. I think morals are part of any society, and are actually a natural human phenomonom.

Second - not all Pagans feel the need to be part of a religion that promotes social structure. Many feel that a spiritual experience is valid even if they aren't sharing it with anyone else. They feel they can contribute to society in ways that have nothing to do with religion eh?
What she said :hi5:

TygerTyger
February 1st, 2010, 11:06 AM
I believe that morals are the result of social development and that in many instances their origin is ascribed to a supernatural source only to lend them apparent greater authority.

Removing morals from such a source and recognising them as having value only in a human context does not reduce the importance that morality should have in society, nor does it make them less authoritative. Reason, to my mind, makes a far more solid basis for ethics than mysticism.

Participation in organised religion does not necessarily make a person religious. Many people observe Christian rituals without any sincerity whatsoever.

PaganSpirit
February 1st, 2010, 01:49 PM
Some of the earliest Christians contributed nothing to society. Rather they cut themselves off from society. Same thing with Hindu ascetics, Buddhists and Taoists. To an extent, all of those traditions emphasized spiritual growth over political and societal issues. To say that paganism isn't viable because it contributes nothing to society is absurd, to say the least.

It's also absurd to say that paganism is ultimately amoral because it is based around nature. Buddhism doesn't officially recognize any particular deity, and it's view of reality is practically nihilistic, and yet it has a very clear set of morals. Wiccans have the Rede. In terms of pantheism, I think recognizing the Universe - and resultantly everything in it - as Divine, the moral standard speaks for itself.

Earthwalker
February 1st, 2010, 09:00 PM
Seems to me that demanding a religion be useful to "society" is asking the wrong favor of a nature-centered religion. In a nature-centered religion, isn't a dominant focus a clear avoidance of such anthropocentric self-centeredness? Besides, recognizing that the universe is fundamentally a morally neutral entity tends to promote a ecocentric understanding that leads to its own sort of ethical system that doesn't pretend that humanity is the center of everything.

TygerTyger
February 2nd, 2010, 04:08 AM
Devloping an ethical system based on the principle that everything is divine would seem to me to be the most natural form of morality.

LunarSoldier
February 2nd, 2010, 05:55 AM
“the problem with religions that revere nature is that they have no morality. Nature is just nature, it has no wrong or rights and that is no basis for a religion that is of any use to society.”

This person knows nothing about paganism and it's roots in ancient history. There are many paths and beliefs that have a pagan tradition. I disagree that pagans have no morality or have no use to society. This is ridiculous. Someone should've commented on that TV show about this remark.


Devloping an ethical system based on the principle that everything is divine would seem to me to be the most natural form of morality.

Yes it would.

TygerTyger
February 2nd, 2010, 06:07 AM
This person knows nothing about paganism and it's roots in ancient history. There are many paths and beliefs that have a pagan tradition. I disagree that pagans have no morality or have no use to society. This is ridiculous. Someone should've commented on that TV show about this remark.

I recorded this part of the programme and hope to watch it soon. There were some pagans present so hopefully someone did make a reply. I will post later on that.

*oonagh*
February 2nd, 2010, 03:01 PM
Devloping an ethical system based on the principle that everything is divine would seem to me to be the most natural form of morality.

this.

BryonMorrigan
February 2nd, 2010, 04:47 PM
Actually, a moral system based on nothing but fear of retribution is not exactly a philosophically moral system, now is it? (*)

So, since Greek Polytheism was not the main decider of morality for the ancient Greeks...does that mean that Plato was an animal completely devoid of a moral compass? This "argument" is basically at the level of preschoolers...

Scratch that. My preschooler daughter understands right vs. wrong, and she has never been exposed to the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic weltanschauung. It's a Christian Supremacist viewpoint and should be responded to with ridicule and scorn.

I absolutely detest people who propose the nonsense pseudo-historic view that everyone was running around in immoral nonsense until the Jews/Christians/Muslims showed up to tell us how to behave...OR YOU WILL BURN FOREVER IN HELL!!!!! Anti-intellectualism at its finest.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _

(*) Going in my sig for now...

Heart of All
February 2nd, 2010, 10:35 PM
It has always seemed to me that Christian-based cultures have a pretty extreme obsession with religion-and-morality and religion-and-death and cannot comprehend religion that doesn't particularly emphasize either of them. Not every religion is obsessed with morality and prefers to leave it to culture rather than the gods/divine/whatever to say what is right and wrong. Not every religion is obsessed with the afterlife in favor of the current one, despite the fact that many Christians and Christian-based cultures think that the whole point of religion is to explain away death and make it comfier than it actually is.

*oonagh*
February 3rd, 2010, 09:47 AM
quite frankly, i'm way too selfish not to *try* to behave in a way that is as possitive as possible to as many people as possible. since absolutely everything is connected (think spider web, not blob) everything i do affects me. and, ya know, it's all about *me*.