Okay, maybe goodness isn't the best word, but I wanted to talk about the idea of spirituality as something intrinsic and internal rather than something we seek 'out there.' Religion is of course supposed to be a vehicle for spirituality, so given the above premise the question is does it bring you back to that intrinsic spirituality or does it take you 'out' to some way of believing or behaving? It reminds me of the movie Fight Club where they go steal human fat from a lipsuction clinic to make soap, and at the department store where they are selling the soap for something like $20 a bar the narrator goes: "It was beautiful, we were selling rich women their fat asses back to them."
Religion and intrinsic goodness
I think that spirituality is a way of condensing innumerable physical facts into a decision for action. I mean, any activity that we indulge in, from war to hunting to sex - has been and can be spiritualized. The reasons for engaging in activities or NOT engaging in activities can be simplified and reinforced by assigning them spiritual values.
For instance, a man is generally a peaceable creature - but he is also aggressive. He is defensive of what is his, he gets angry easily. There is a time for war, as the Bible says. Hence, many cultures create a spiritual nature for the war instinct. It simplifies the questions of when it is right to kill and when it is not right to kill. From the bull cults of ancient Rome to the war paints and dance rituals of Native Americans to the heavily ornate armor and chivalraic codes of the Knights Templar - men have sought to create a higher purpose for a basic instinct. It works, not just because people believe it, but because it CREATES belief. This allows people to connect with their concept of a higher power through fairly ordinary activities.
Now rituals without spirituality are what constitute religion, at least in my mind. Religion is a cultural thing - it's a way to get together with neighbors, exchange gossip, create common values, build mercantile relationships - for most people, I would wager, the religion and the spirituality are often separate. There are parts of the rituals of religion that appeal to different people, especially in our times which allow for greater individual choice. for instance, some women I know get a great deal of spiritual fulfillment from believing in the Transubstantiation. They connect with a higher power inside of their religious rituals.
I have no real point or sum-up; I just was throwing out some thought I was having just the other day, actually. It's fall, and in Pennsylvania, the leaves are almost off the trees, but some are still hanging on. It makes me thoughtful.
I stand my what I always say: Morality is defined by consensus of a population. What we see as ?good? is different from what people in another population see as ?good?.
I understand what you mean Czar, certainly everything under the sun has been spiritualized - I just read a piece on the Celestine Prophecy movie coming out, and with the whole synchronicity thing they talk about in there people can get like "oh, this has to mean something!"
What I'm referring to though is something that is not based in thought or behavior, which is why you'll hear talk of emptiness and things like that, to use one example. The emphasis is really intrinsic, you don't have to think any certain way or anything. Frankly from what I have seen the only reason people know the religious stuff is because they've been down that road as a seeker, but once someone sees through it they just realize that's really not the point.
Yeah good really isn't the word for it, and of course I am not talking about morality.
Yup, most religious people would rather hand it over to someone else and then buy it back than use it for themselves. That way, it takes no effort or thought. Of course, there is the group power thing that czar talked about. It allows the animal agression to be channeled into war for a cause, usually somebody elses. Since we are both spirit and animal, i don't see all agression as bad. There are a lot of gray areas in this field, imo.