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Old 04-02-2014, 12:55 PM
 
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I want to know your opinions on what do you think the main goal of religion is? Connection with gods, political control, social control. What do you think it is?
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:17 PM
 
Location: In a little house on the prairie - literally
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Control.
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Depends on who you are talking to.

Most believers would say "connection with god" (their particular one, of course).

I think if you unpack it all the way to the bottom, religion provides certitude for people who want it. It need not be real, only sufficiently plausible to provide comfort. What happens to me when I die? How do I tell right from wrong? How do I be a good person? What is a good person? How do I know for sure I'm doing the right thing? Who do I turn to when life is rough? How do I deal with calamity and disaster and misfortune? How do I protect myself and my loved ones from bad things that could happen?

If you are a pleaser, fearful, authority-seeking and have a low tolerance for ambiguity, anyone with answers to questions like that has an attractive product. If you are self-possessed, risk-tolerant, authority-questioning, and have a decent tolerance for ambiguity, then -- not so much.

Religion tells people what to believe and think, and often, feel. It simplifies life when the abstraction doesn't leak too much. It provides a degree of automatic and built-in community and acceptance. If you have average-to-good luck in life, are good at rationalizing and not thinking too deeply, religion can be a good deal for you.

Those are the products for sale -- of course, particularly at certain inflection points in history, especially in the prescientific era, church leadership had great social and political power as well as much unearned dignity and respect. Today, less so. But those are just the perks of providing something a lot of people want. There still has to be a value proposition that a lot of people will buy into. And so what religion sells is certitude -- and when it's effective at that, it deals in power, money, and influence.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Haiku
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Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Depends on who you are talking to.
The OP is talking to me, who else?

I think there is some variance on which religion you are looking at, but for all three of the Abrahamic religions, they all are about controlling people. Any religion that has a doctrine of being the "one true god, and if you don't follow me, all these bad things will happen to you", is about control. I suppose somewhere there is a religion that does not preach that.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:08 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Is control a goal or a consequence of the Abrahamic religions? If we acknowledge the sincerity of the founders as true believers in the ideas that they wished to spread, in their minds the goal was to "share" this great salvation, not gain some sort of control over people.

The control aspect arose as a product of need, the successful organized religions were the ones which developed enforcement arms.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Is control a goal or a consequence of the Abrahamic religions? If we acknowledge the sincerity of the founders as true believers in the ideas that they wished to spread, in their minds the goal was to "share" this great salvation, not gain some sort of control over people.
The control aspect arose as a product of need, the successful organized religions were the ones which developed enforcement arms.
I agree . . . which is why I consider religions irrelevant and a stumbling block to knowing God. Belief in God is not something to be used to promote any institution or organization. It is to know God and achieve eternal life. To love is to know God and to be born of God (conceived/begotten of God). To know God and Jesus is eternal life. Religion as I said is irrelevant.

1 John 4:7 (King James Version)

7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

John 17:3 (King James Version)

3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:43 PM
 
Location: USA
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Control. Exactly. Religion gives people the illusion that life is not a random and capricious adventure, because someone, God, is in control. And by extension if one does the right things, lives the right way, prays the right prayers, then one will safely be in God's good graces. The illusion of control over one's circumstances. And when bad things DO happen? God works in mysterious ways.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:45 PM
 
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Maybe I'm being too autobiographical here...but I believe the main reasons people so urgently want to believe in God and take part in a religion are:

1. An extreme fear of death and "just no longer being here" - many of us simply can not fathom that, so we want to believe there's more to come;
2. A reason for why "bad" things happen even when we're good;
3. Escape from the sometimes crushing banality of life, and sometimes extreme ongoing difficulty of life - we can imagine there's "something better to come" and
4. Hope for a reward for being good, and for punishment for those who have hurt us, especially if they escaped their comeuppance (say, jail time) while they were alive.

As for others using religion for control, yes, I do think some believe that if others didn't believe in divine retribution, society would all just go to hell. Therefore, they reason, they have to "control" people's "base urges."

I personally believe that for many, religion is very, very, very fear-motivated.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2pac0900 View Post
I want to know your opinions on what do you think the main goal of religion is?
It depends on who's perspective you are asking the question from. If you mean from the perspective of the religious elite then religion is nothing more than a Business trading in fantasy and lies and people like the Pope are just the MD of successful companies selling those lies.

If you mean from the perspective of those in control, religion is indeed a useful tool in the toolkit of control and politics.

If you mean from the perspective of the religious bums on seats then clearly the purpose of religion is to find a meaning and purpose in life, consolation from the human condition, and to scratch the itch that human attributes like hyper active agency detection give us.

If you from mean the perspective of the religion itself the purpose of religion is simply to perpetuate itself, breed, and survive.... in much the same mindless and goalless way a virus does. It simply infects hosts mindlessly and has them mindlessly as hosts reproduce and perpetuate more copies of it.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 2pac0900 View Post
I want to know your opinions on what do you think the main goal of religion is? Connection with gods, political control, social control. What do you think it is?
Cohesion, conquest, absorbsion and elimination of rival groups.
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