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January 08, 2012


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I cannot see how a scientific religion is possible. Science is based on evidence, religion on belief, they are contradictory.

You dare challenge the guru, priest or ancient wisdom with a different supported argument and u ostracised (or worse) as an unenlightened fkwit. However, science actively encourages you to challenge professors and conventional scientific theories with a different supported argument.

Science is humble and down-to-earth, not arrogant as those against it claim. Science never makes grandiose unsupported claims unlike religions. Its never been about the ethereal 'big' questions, rather is practical and inherently self-limiting.

However, science is the only form of knowledge supported by verifiable evidence.

That said one does have to ponder what happens when it all goes titties up? Not sure religion or anyone has that answer, but gotta be a question as old as mankind.

Afterall, no one gets out of here alive.

George, I agree that a religion compatible with modern science is difficult to conceive of. What I was envisioning in this post were possibilities, not actualities. Meaning, if evidence were found for the possibility and it became an actuality, we wouldn't be talking about a religious belief, but about a new scientific fact.

For me, consciousness is the most likely area where what we call "religious" (or "spiritual") could morph into the realm of science. No one really knows what consciousness is -- how it arises, what purpose it serves, whether it is limited to living beings or somehow is omnipresent in the universe.

I see a connection between the laws of nature and consciousness. How do these laws "know" what to do? How do the laws manifest as regularities that often are so accurately described by mathematics? Where, if anywhere, do the laws reside?

I don't expect that my consciousness will carry on after I die. But I leave open a slight possibility that some sort of "cosmic consciousness" exists which I could become a part of after the bodily me is no more. This wouldn't be what people call God, but something much more scientific.

Religious Humanism
Religious Naturalism
Unitarian Universalism

Me too.

Looked for a religion which is fully compatible with science.

I feel that they are existing.

The first one that came to my mind is Religious Humanism, or simply Humanism.

According to the Humanist Manifesto I, Humanism, at least at its beginnings, is religious in nature.

Humanist Menifesto I:

As for a phycisal church body of Religious Humanism, Unitarian Universalism seems to be more or less a church based on Religious Humanism. Another choice is the Ethical Culture.

The second candidate of a naturalistic religion is, quite evident from her very name, Religious Naturalism (RN).

She is defined here: www.rnstatement.com

Unitarian Universalism (UU), again, seems to embrace Religious Naturalism too.

A UU church's recent New Year worship was even based on RN:

January 1, 2012 -- New Beginnings: Does Nature Suffice?
A service looking directly at the world of nature and asking, "isn't this enough?"

Religious Humanism, Religious Naturalism, and Unitarian Universalism are the closest candidates I have found so far. I am looking for more possible candidates.


Please give an exact definition for,

Religious Naturalism -
Naturalism -

--what separates the two?


Yes, consciousness seems key, but i still don't like claimed knowledge based on faith, i.e. religion. The closest to a scientific religion would be what you chaps used to dabble in, the old mysticism, self-realisation and direct experience of the ineffable (if such exists). Its subjective evidence, but its still a step up from faith.

Perhaps the least religious of mystical traditions are those that don't require faith, love of the guru, ritual, initiation, devotion, and other psycholigical manipulation tools like surrender, grovelling humility, selective morality, fire & brimstone fear psychology, dogmatic unverified doctrines like karma and reincarnation, etc. So maybe something like zen buddhism, which i understand is what you currently into, but then again its got a whole lines of gurus, vows, devotion, etc.

Mysticism seems to me to be the only possible alternative to gaining an inisight into reality. It is the core of religion and is based upon a fundamentally different principle to science. Science is based on realism (the existence of a mind-independent reality), whereas mysticism is based idealism (mind creates the apparent existence of all things). Science says mind emerges from matter, whereas mysticism says matter emerges from mind.

A key question is do human beings need religion or spirituality? Seems the strongest contenders are bringing meaning, alleviating suffering, transcendental experiences of something more than the material world. But then again, perhaps these are just lofty cultural delusions, and while some suffer others dont suffer at all, they delight in earthly pleasures for 80-odd years and pass away in their sleep content as larry. Maybe its not fair at all, and that is just the way it is, who knows.

George, I'm not really into Zen Buddhism. I've read a lot of Zen books, parts of which appeal to me. But there's too much Buddhism in Zen for my increasingly churchless tastes. Knowing reality can't be the specialty of any particular religion or philosophy, in my opinion.

I pretty much agree that science is the only way of knowing, using "science" in a broad sense that encompasses how we know what is true is everyday life (if other people say they see what I see, that's a good sign it is objectively real; if only I see it, that's a subjective reality, like a dream).

But there does seem to be another form of knowing: by identity. We know something by being it. Consciousness is the best example.

I can't step outside of consciousness and view it from the outside. Whatever it is, assuming it can be termed an "it," consciousness is my very knowing. It makes possible my ability to know other things, so I don't think we can say that consciousness can be known scientifically.

Yet it seems to be objectively real, given that other people report they are conscious also. Unless I assume I'm the only conscious entity in existence, consciousness is an interesting example of how something seemingly can be objectively real, yet incapable of being proven true through objective evidence.

This is where a form of mysticism merges with science. But otherwise, science is the way to go when it comes to knowing.

//there's too much Buddhism in Zen for my increasingly churchless tastes//

This book might be of interest to you, then:

Owen Flanagan, Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (MIT Press, 2011)

Alex, thanks for the book suggestion. Looks interesting. I ordered it, not surprisingly. If God turns out to be a librarian, I'm going to heaven for sure. She's going to LOVE me!

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