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Has the social replaced the religious?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
GaryLouisSmith
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Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 3rd, 2019, 7:49 am

In a century as wracked by upheavals as was the nineteenth, the event that in fact summed up all the
others was to pass unobserved: the pseudomorphism between religious and social. It all came together not
so much in Durkheim’s claim that “the religious is the social,” but in the fact that suddenly such a claim
sounded natural. And as the century grew old, it certainly wasn’t religion that was conquering new
territories, beyond liturgy and cult, as Victor Hugo and many who followed him imagined, but the social
that was gradually invading and annexing vast tracts of the religious, first by superimposing itself on it,
then by infiltrating it in an unhealthy amalgamation until finally it had incorporated the whole of the
religious in itself. What was left in the end was naked society, but invested now with all the powers
inherited, or rather burgled, from religion. The twentieth century would see its triumph. The theology of
society severed every tie, renounced all dependence, and flaunted its distinguishing feature: the
tautological, the self-advertising. The power and impact of totalitarian regimes cannot be explained
unless we accept that the very notion of society has appropriated an unprecedented power, one previously
the preserve of religion. The results were not long in coming: the liturgies in the stadiums, the positive
heroes, the fecund women, the massacres. Being antisocial would become the equivalent of sinning
against the Holy Ghost. Whether the pretexts spoke of race or class, the one sufficient reason for killing
your enemies was always the same: these people were harmful to society. Society becomes the subject
above all subjects, for whose sake everything is justified. At first with recourse to a grandiloquent
rhetoric brutally wrenched from religion (the sacrifice for the fatherland), but later in the name of the
mere functioning of society itself, which demands the removal of every obstacle.

Roberto Calasso in Literature and the Gods

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Pantagruel
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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Pantagruel » July 4th, 2019, 8:01 am

I would say the social has displaced the religious rather than replaced it.

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James Radcliffe
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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by James Radcliffe » July 4th, 2019, 7:30 pm

If society stole from religion, it is because religion first stole from society. Christianity is the world's most dominant religion, not because it champions war, oppression, and genocide, but because it says to love one's neighbor as oneself in a way no other religion has. If modern people are less anti-social than their ancestors, it is not because they are less religious, it's because they are less hypocritical.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Belindi » July 5th, 2019, 11:12 am

In a century as wracked by upheavals as was the nineteenth, the event that in fact summed up all the
others was to pass unobserved: the pseudomorphism between religious and social. It all came together not
so much in Durkheim’s claim that “the religious is the social,” but in the fact that suddenly such a claim
sounded natural. And as the century grew old, it certainly wasn’t religion that was conquering new
territories, beyond liturgy and cult, as Victor Hugo and many who followed him imagined, but the social
that was gradually invading and annexing vast tracts of the religious, first by superimposing itself on it,
then by infiltrating it in an unhealthy amalgamation until finally it had incorporated the whole of the
religious in itself. What was left in the end was naked society, but invested now with all the powers
inherited, or rather burgled, from religion.
Commonly religious practise was inseparable from social life e.g. church going, Muslims' prayers, Xians' special holy periods like Easter and Lent, dietary laws, and so forth. Religious belief too was inseparable from social life and conventional piety was felt to be the only way to live well. If the age of faith has gone, and it has gone, we need to find reasonable religious belief and practise in this age of rapid change and present danger. Faith in revealed religion won't inspire trust today. If society fails to make a reasonable religion society will disintegrate.Even in the case of reigns of terror the expenditure on social control is such that reign of terror can't last. There has to be a lot of common consent.

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Sculptor1
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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Sculptor1 » July 5th, 2019, 11:22 am

If bowing your head in prayer was a feature of religion; then having your face stuck in a mobile phone is a feature of social media.
Both are a denial of the real world.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Thomyum2 » July 5th, 2019, 4:18 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 11:22 am
If bowing your head in prayer was a feature of religion; then having your face stuck in a mobile phone is a feature of social media.
Both are a denial of the real world.
That's quite a generalization. Different people pray for different reasons. Most of my experiences with prayer, and with people who take it seriously, are experiences more that of reconciling oneself with reality, not of denying it. And who knows, perhaps for some people social media in its own way fulfills a similar purpose?

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Brian5
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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Brian5 » July 5th, 2019, 4:55 pm

It has borrowed from the religious and so both survive.

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Sculptor1
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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Sculptor1 » July 6th, 2019, 6:09 am

Thomyum2 wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 4:18 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 11:22 am
If bowing your head in prayer was a feature of religion; then having your face stuck in a mobile phone is a feature of social media.
Both are a denial of the real world.
That's quite a generalization. Different people pray for different reasons. Most of my experiences with prayer, and with people who take it seriously, are experiences more that of reconciling oneself with reality, not of denying it. And who knows, perhaps for some people social media in its own way fulfills a similar purpose?
LOL.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Belindi » July 6th, 2019, 8:03 am

Thomyum2 wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 4:18 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 11:22 am
If bowing your head in prayer was a feature of religion; then having your face stuck in a mobile phone is a feature of social media.
Both are a denial of the real world.
That's quite a generalization. Different people pray for different reasons. Most of my experiences with prayer, and with people who take it seriously, are experiences more that of reconciling oneself with reality, not of denying it. And who knows, perhaps for some people social media in its own way fulfills a similar purpose?
My idea of prayer echoes Thomyum's. Social media: who posts here with serious intent?

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Belindi » July 6th, 2019, 8:05 am

Thomyum wrote:
That's quite a generalization. Different people pray for different reasons. Most of my experiences with prayer, and with people who take it seriously, are experiences more that of reconciling oneself with reality, not of denying it. And who knows, perhaps for some people social media in its own way fulfills a similar purpose?
My idea of prayer echoes Thomyum's. Social media: who posts here with serious intent? Introspection needed.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Belindi » July 6th, 2019, 8:06 am

Belindi wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 8:05 am
Thomyum wrote:
That's quite a generalization. Different people pray for different reasons. Most of my experiences with prayer, and with people who take it seriously, are experiences more that of reconciling oneself with reality, not of denying it. And who knows, perhaps for some people social media in its own way fulfills a similar purpose?
My idea of prayer echoes Thomyum's. Social media: who posts here with serious intent? Introspection needed. It's impossible to tell a lie praying.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Thomyum2 » July 6th, 2019, 9:56 am

Belindi wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 8:06 am

My idea of prayer echoes Thomyum's. Social media: who posts here with serious intent? Introspection needed. It's impossible to tell a lie praying.
I, for one, do post with serious intent; but I think there's no doubt that social media for many just serves mainly idle pastime and a distraction. But I think it must fulfill some deeper need for people too. The younger generation especially seem to have taken this technology into their lives and have made it an integral part of the way they relate to each other. And the digital technologies, by accelerating the communication between people from different backgrounds and at remote locations, do allow a everyone to have greater exposure to other cultures and awareness of how other people live and think than in past times.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Greta » July 6th, 2019, 7:39 pm

More that the individual is being subsumed by the collective. That's how things grow in nature - they collect, subsume and integrate.

I only woke up to this in retirement when I was finally able to be an individual living in the world rather than a personality living in a sea of human opinion. I was almost blind to the non-human for decades. If it wasn't human or relational, it didn't matter. The world largely consisted of just two things - people and stuff that people used or avoided.

This insanity appears to be necessary to survive in the demanding situations that people concoct for each other. It's only when I stepped off the treadmill that I noticed the blinkers that I, and almost everyone else, wears.

In summary, "the religious" refers to just one more self-interested group, albeit often fetishised.

"The religious" are akin to what was once called "company men" - who would dedicate their lives to their company (and the company would look after them in turn, until the bargain was broken by economic rationalist competition). Like any closed group, from the Mafia to Exxon, the religious tend to make great friends and bad enemies. You are either with us or against us.

Religions are a perversion of at least my interpretation of spirituality. Their exclusivity is a distortion of the relationship we as individuals have with the world (or as much as we can access). To take our relationships with animals, plants, skies, the land, and so on as seriously as we take our relations with people.

When I lived only in the human jungle, the idea of taking animals, plants or anything non-human as seriously as people was laughable, loony. Tree huggers and whale whisperers. (Unless those things add to our wealth, status or comfort, of course). Egotism.

This dynamic changes for many when they are dying and become increasingly inaccessible to others. Finally alone with the world they start to experience a more raw and profound spirituality that they had been conditioned to ignore during life. Then they speak ruefully about all the awesomeness of life and nature that they dismissed and, thus, missed. What is meditation but taking a break from human BS?

Ideally we would learn lessons from those on their deathbeds rather than wait for it to happen to us but, alas, learning from people who know more than we do is less popular than maintaining (blissful?) ignorance.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Belindi » July 7th, 2019, 6:32 am

Greta, do you recognise the difference between private and communal prayer?

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Felix
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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Felix » July 7th, 2019, 5:24 pm

I've heard it said that politics has replaced religion. Religious wars are now fought between competing political ideologies as they were once fought between religious factions. The quote from Roberto Calasso's book supports that view. "Social" is too scant a frame to put religious robes on.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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