May I suggest that perhaps what is 'crucial' in religion is belief itself? Or perhaps more accurately faith - because this is where the source of religion lies in the first place, in the human experience, which is at its core. (I prefer 'faith' because it captures that element of trust in the context of relationship, rather than 'belief' which is typically used more in the sense of a thought, or an act of the intellect - the mind rather than the heart, so to speak.)gad-fly wrote: ↑April 15th, 2020, 10:42 amMy suggestion for the crucial issue in religion has graduated from "The Creator" to "Creation and Afterlife". Creation here is defined by "coming into existence before anything else is known". Otherwise it is "development, reproduction, invention, multiplication, or recreation". I would like to hear what can be more appropriate and more relevant suggestion of the said issue than mine, if there is any in this forum.
It is the religious experience, the experience of faith, that is the very 'crucible' of religion. Notions of a God, a Creator, Heaven, Hell, Afterlife - these all proceed from that experience, and are commentary on it, attempts to explain it or represent it in terms or metaphors that are comprehensible. These ideas are the expression of religion, not the substance of it, which lies within the individual and beyond language.
Have you read William James' lectures contained in The Varieties of Religious Experience? I think he captures this well. A couple of passages to consider (my emphasis added):
Religion, therefore, as I now ask you arbitrarily to take it, shall mean for us the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine. Since the relation may be either moral, physical, or ritual, it is evident that out of religion in the sense in which we take it, theologies, philosophies, and ecclesiastical organizations may secondarily grow.
Our impulsive belief is here always what sets up the original body of truth, and our articulately verbalized philosophy is but its showy translation into formulas. The unreasoned and immediate assurance is the deep thing in us, the reasoned argument is but a surface exhibition. Instinct leads, intelligence does but follow.