I can't shake the feeling that the more rationally-oriented the world becomes, the more batshit-crazy the irrational ones are gonna get.
Why facts fail to reach the faithful, (even the intelligent ones)
“David_Jay”: “Religion is not always based around a cult of worship, nor do they all include deities or even an afterlife eschatology. Jainism for example is a humanist form of religion with no deity. The Jewish Sadducees as well many Jews today do not believe in an afterlife, and even those who do see no relevance in living with it as a goal in mind. Buddhism is a religion that seeks to free a person of all notions of and desires for eternity and has no central deity for worship.”
That’s a good point. There are certainly a variety of types and structures of religion. Although, unfortunately, a high-control, totalitarian bent seems to have been the norm with monolithic organized religion as a whole, which I believe is a manifestation of the fundamental human characteristic of securing power and control over others (which some would categorize as a self-serving “defect of character”).
“David_Jay”: “Religion is not the opposite of atheism.”
True, at least not necessarily. But the most major and significant distinction with regard to religion is this: Religion and spirituality are most definitely not necessarily the same thing. Religion tends to demand everyone’s exclusive devotion to a leader or group (albeit with some exceptions, as you noted above), whereas spirituality, as an abstract concept, is something which is always available to each individual, regardless of whichever ambient religious climate he or she may find him- or herself geographically. I think of spirituality itself as a metaphysical state which emerges from within one’s own unique cognitive processes. It is really a basic personal philosophy of living which promotes serenity through acceptance of one’s own place in the universe and harmony within one’s environment. Personal spirituality allows the individual to espouse basic altruistic yet practical codes of conduct and social interaction which are completely separate and independent of any organized body acting as a custodian and dictator of belief, ritual, and conduct. Spirituality is the formation and operation of one’s own deeply personal psyche of human consciousness which allows a person to function with some degree of positive and beneficial thought, emotion, and action within oneself and toward others. In other words, spirituality is simply that which works toward general harmony, fulfillment, and peace. And to that end, really no specific organized structure of religion is necessary!