Religion and believers #1 Lots of groups and forms of belief to be taken interest in

Believers in different systems or religions

In this world, there are lots of groups which bring together people of all sorts of ideas and attitudes. There are foremost the political groups and next to them the world presents lots of religious groups of various constellations and with very different deities.

What should worry us most in all these associations of political as well as religious groups are those that are allowed to come to very strange thoughts or very narrow visions. Everywhere we can find groups who are very vocal about putting their own views above those of others. As such, we can find that in all political and religious groups and systems there are to be found fundamentalists.

Throughout history, man has looked for the essence of life and the reason for being. People, confronted with suffering and death, wanted to find solutions and ways to deal with ultimate concerns about their lives and their fate after death. Mankind sought to find ways to have a good relationship with others around them but also with nature or their own environment. In many traditions, this relation and these concerns are expressed in terms of one’s relationship with or attitude toward gods or spirits. In daily actions, people want to feel that connection with nature and with what they find is behind that nature and its existence. To express himself man created means of getting a good feeling of that connection with nature and its power or its gods.

Religion has become one of the most controversial subjects in the world. In a certain way, we could say it was already so from the onset of mankind. The first human beings doubted the Power of a Higher Being, but came into a big confrontation where they had to learn about death. Their children could hear the story about the Garden of Eden and what went wrong (the Fall).

As humanity grew, so did the number of ideas on how best to maintain the relationship between fellow human beings, the earth, the earthly and heavenly forces. This gave rise to various forms of worship or what we now recognise as religions. There are so many religions and belief systems in practice today that it is hard to even know let stand to understand them all.

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An imaginary rendition of Al Biruni on a 1973 Soviet postage stamp

The early Christian Fathers recorded many a valuable observation of the Gentile faiths around them from varying points of view, sympathetic or hostile; and Eusebius and Epiphanius, in the 4th century C.E., attributed to the librarian of Ptolemy Philadelphus the design of collecting the sacred books of the Ethiopians, Indians, Persians, Elamites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans, Phoenicians, Syrians and Greeks. The Mahommedan Bīrūnī (b. C.E. 973) compared the doctrines of the Greeks, Christians, Jews, Manichaeans and Sufis with the philosophies and religions of India.

There were periods that there was a sincere interest in other faiths, like in the 16th century when the greatest of the Mughal emperors of India, Akbar (1542-1605) gathered Brahmans and Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians and Mahommedans at his court, and endeavoured to get translations of their scriptures. In the next century the Persian author of the Dabestan-e Mazaheb exhibited the doctrines of no less than twelve religions and their various sects. The Persian language work examines and compares South Asian religions and sects of the mid-17th century.

But also the scholars of the West had begun to work. The English Assyriologist Thomas Hyde (1636-1703) studied the religion of the ancient Persians; John Spencer (1630-1693) analysed the laws of the Hebrews; and Lord Herbert of Cherbury (De Religione Gentilium, 1645) endeavoured to trace all religions back to five “truly Catholic truths” of primitive faith, the first being the existence of God.

Portrait of David Hume (1711-1776)

We may see that the doctrine of a primeval revelation survived in various forms for two centuries, and appeared as late as the Juventus Mundi of W. E. Gladstone (1868, p. 207 ff.). The Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist known especially for his philosophical empiricism and scepticism, David Hume, on the other hand, based his essay on The Natural History of Religion (1757) on the conception of the development of human society from rude beginnings, and all modern study being frankly founded on the general idea of Evolution.

Hume presents three characters, each of whom represent a different position on this issue, engaged in a dialogue together. Demea argues for the position of religious Orthodoxy, and insists that we cannot possibly come to know the nature of God through reason. He believes, in fact, that we cannot ever know the nature of God at all because God’s nature is inherently beyond the capacity of human comprehension. Philo, the philosophical skeptic, agrees with Demea that God is incomprehensible and provides the most convincing arguments for this position. Cleanthes argues the position of empirical theism—the position that we can come to know about God by reasoning from the evidence afforded us by nature—against these two opponents. {David Hume‘s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion}

Hume knocked theology stating that

“all popular theology, especially the scholastic, has a kind of appetite for absurdity and contradiction” {Hume, David. 2007. Ibid. p. 49}

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The Rosetta Stone is a granodiorite stele inscribed with three versions of a decree issued in Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes.

In Egypt the discovery of the Rosetta stone placed the key to the hieroglyphics within Western reach; and the decipherment of the cuneiform character enabled the patient scholars of Europe to recover the clues to the contents of the ancient libraries of Babylonia and Assyria. With the aid of inscriptions the cults of Greece and Rome have been largely reconstructed. Travellers and missionaries reported the beliefs and usages of uncivilized tribes in every part of the world, with the result that “ethnography knows no race devoid of religion, but only differences in the degree to which religious ideas have developed” (Ratzel, History of Mankind, i. 40).

The great series of German thinkers like the prominent philosopher of the Enlightenment era, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing , wanted others to see the many religions not as a danger for their own religion. He was a champion for religious tolerance.

The emperor Joseph II (coruler, 1765–80; sole ruler, 1780–90) abolished restrictions on the personal freedom (serfdom) of the peasants, and he granted religious toleration. After the long period of oppression, these were hailed as beacons of light, although they did not go as far as enlightened minds expected. In fact, Joseph’s Edict of Toleration was not followed by a mass defection from the Roman Catholic Church in Bohemia and Moravia, partly because it did not refer to either Utraquism or the Unitas Fratrum; rather, it authorised adherence to the Augsburg (Lutheran) or Gallican (Reformed) confessions.

File:Kant gemaelde 3.jpg
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) by Johann Gottlieb Becker (1720-1782)

The German philosopher and leading figure of the Sturm und Drang literary movement and an innovator in the philosophy of history and culture Johann Gottfried Herder,  attempted to demonstrate that nature and history obey a uniform system of laws. As another philosopher of the central Enlightenment thinkers, Immanuel Kant, his comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential figures in modern Western philosophy. Whilst many think that morality is something that comes to man by his religion, Kant believed that reason is the source of morality, and that aesthetics arise from a faculty of disinterested judgment. He with Hegel, Fichte, and Schleiermacher who considered religion the “feeling and intuition of the universe” or “the sense of the Infinite in the finite,” and Christianity to be one individual shaping of that feeling. Also their successors sought to explain religion by means of the phenomena of mind, and to track it to its roots in the processes of thought and feeling.

While ethnography was gathering up the facts from every part of the globe, psychology began to analyse the forms of belief, of action and emotion, to discover if possible the key to the multitudinous variety which history revealed. From the historical and linguistic side attention was first fixed upon the myth, and the publication of the ancient hymns of the Rig Veda led Max Müller to seek in the common elements of Aryan thought for the secrets of primitive religion (essay on Comparative Mythology, 1856). The phenomena of day and night, of sunshine and storm, and other aspects of nature, were invoked by different interpreters to explain the conceptions of the gods, their origins and their relations. Fresh materials were gathered at the same time out of European folk-lore; the work begun by the brothers Grimm was continued by J. W. E. Mannhardt, and a lower stratum of beliefs and rites began to emerge into view beneath the poetic forms of the more developed mythologies. By such preliminary labours, the way was prepared for the new science of anthropology.

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Religion and believers #2 Different forms of Truth

Preceding

Christian in Christendom or in Christianity

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Additional reading

  1. Words in the world (Our World)Words in the world (Some View on the World)
  2. Are you religious, spiritual, or do you belong to a religion, having a faith or interfaith (Our World)Are you religious, spiritual, or do you belong to a religion, having a faith or interfaith (Some View on the World)
  3. Is religion like a physical trait
  4. An other trait for faith in Jesus and his God
  5. Concerning the humans who are a warlike species
  6. How do you define religion?
  7. Religious matters
  8. Religions and Mainliners
  9. Religious Practices around the world
  10. Religious Beliefs Founding Fathers U.SA.
  11. American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder
  12. American atheists most religiously literate Americans (Our World)American atheists most religiously literate Americans (Some View on the World)
  13. Not true or True Catholicism and True Islam
  14. Separation of church and state
  15. Religion…..why the competition?
  16. Ideas about Religiosity
  17. Facilitations of science and loss of peace of mind
  18. A look at On Science & Religion
  19. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  20. Reconciling Science and Religion
  21. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  22. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  23. Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life
  24. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  25. Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people
  26. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  27. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  28. Being religious has benefits even in this life (Our World)Being religious has benefits even in this life
  29. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  30. Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite
  31. Faith because of the questions (Our World)Faith because of the questions (Some View on the World)
  32. Inner feeling, morality and Inter-connection with creation
  33. A world with or without religion
  34. 500 Years of Reformation Divisions Have Lost Much of Their Potency (Our World)500 Years of Reformation Divisions Have Lost Much of Their Potency (Some View on the World)
  35. Non-practicing Christians widely believing in a god or higher power (Our World) = Non-practicing Christians widely believing in a god or higher power (Some View on the World)
  36. Devotees and spotters
  37. Christians, secularism, morals and values
  38. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  39. Deciphering Truth in Word and Concept – That we might see
  40. Some one or something to fear #2 Attitude and Reactions
  41. Religion and the essence of devotion
  42. Religion power and authority for mankind
  43. The battle between action and belief

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Related

  1. Unbelief hurts
  2. Systems stink
  3. Religion
  4. Religion Vs. Spiritual
  5. Religion vs Spirituality, Part One
  6. Religion vs Spirituality, Part Two
  7. Why the Buddha is a Better Modern Role Model Than Jesus
  8. Why Would An Agnostic Do Interfaith Work?
  9. Cult or True Religion
  10. The Eternal Gospel
  11. The Augsburg Confession
  12. Reformation, part three
  13. Empiricist David Hume’s Theory of Religion
  14. Hume’s Slight-of-Hand Skepticism
  15. Clearing the Rubble of Hume in the Making of an “Unapologetic” Argument for God
  16. David Hume on thoughts and perceptions (original text)
  17. David Hume‘s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
  18. Reason is the Slave to the Passions: Hume on Reason vs. Desire
  19. David Hume and Adam Smith
  20. The Epistemologies of Locke and Hume
  21. David Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding – Irfan Ajvazi
  22. Hume and Kant on Morality
  23. The Problem of David Hume and Immanuel Kant’s Philosophy
  24. No Mere Assertion: The Transcendental Argument for the Christian Worldview (and, Therefore, for the Existence of God)
  25. Two somewhat neglected 18th Cent Philosophers
  26. Ptolemy V Epiphanes, “Rosetta Stone ロゼッタ石: The Petroglyph”, 169 BC.
  27.  Jean-François Champollion was born as the father of Egyptology.
  28. History… What’s the Rosetta Stone?
  29. The Writing of the Gods
  30. September 27, 1822 The Rosetta Stone
  31. The Rosetta Stone (Video What it is and why it is)
  32. Rosetta Stone vs. Gymglish: which is best?
  33. Quick Thought – Monday, July 19, 2021: Rosetta Stone
  34. The Canons Of Dort In Swahili
  35. The Westminster Shorter Catechism Traditional English Version
  36. What Is Your Only Comfort In Life And In Death?
  37. More on The Merchant of Venice
  38. A Warning Against Conformity and Tradition
  39. Review of The Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch

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