Re: Religious Variation [Was " Biological = trivial?"]

mike shupp (ms44278@HUEY.CSUN.EDU)
Tue, 6 Aug 1996 21:53:46 -0700

On Sat, 3 Aug 1996, John McCreery wrote:

> > I would. This sort of pretended religiosity is what our Victorian
> > predecessors called a "survival"-- a cultural relic, a habit of
> > behavior which no longer fulfilled some former function. It is
> > of course part of our culture, but it's about as "meaningful"
> > as the ties and white shirts that salesclerks, bank tellers, and
> > other people in menial trades wear to advertise their genteel
> > social and occupational status.
> >
> Mike,
> How do you know it's "pretended"? Just because there's a strand in our own
> traditions that makes unshakable faith a criterion of "real" religiosity,
> is there any more reason to accept it as a definition of religion than
> insisting the only patriarchal nuclear families are "family," the other
> possible arrangements between only barbarities.

Well... "pretended" was a bit rhetorical, I agree. And I don't
insist that "unshakable faith" is a criterion of a "real"
religion; the Roman state religion doesn't seem to have required
faith so much as adherence to the approved rituals. On the other
hand, a lukewarm practice of Christianity does strike me as at
odds with what Christianity set out to be.

Personally, I'm a nice cheerful tolerant agnostic, John. I'm not
out to convert anyone, let alone myself, to the pleasures of
muscular Christianity. But at the same time, I think attempts
to plumb the depths of religion from a-religious perspectives
are bound to be less than complete. (In short, I'm taking the
emic side of the emic-vs-etic viewpoint argument here.)

Mike Shupp
California State University, Northridge