Sep 11, 2010

The Unnecessary Theology or is Religion Obsolete? A Short Reflection

Ritual behavior is as old as human societies. It is intrinsic to the primal human psyche and served as a social basis of tribal communities. Early shamanism and tribal spirituality gradually evolved through the ages into religion, as every other generation expanded and built upon the spiritual beliefs of their ancestors. It is uncertain as to when religious influence was utilized as a tool for social control, but probably that has been done ever since shamanic times, since the shaman had a very special role in tribal societies and he or she was considered an important authority. And with authority comes influence and power. And with power too often comes abuse, especially later on and into the Medieval of Europe (and even more so today, though the sources are shifting from religious authorities to corporative and political, but that's another subject to discuss). 

Religion is quite a peculiar phenomenon of human mind and in particular of this domain of it, that we know as Psyche. Symbolism is one of the earliest representations of spiritual believes, along with rituals. For some unclear reasons as of yet, psychologically humans need ritualistic assertion and reconciliation of their whatever deeds. Evolution of symbolism and religious thought are vast topics, hard to cover in brief. Actually, in brief one can give only the conclusions. That is, religion in all of its forms, had, historically, a major role in social governance and pharaohs, emperors and kings alike were attributed divine rights given to them from the God entity itself, so that to ensure public acceptance and so on pragmatic reasons. On the other hand, religion has a very important psychological function in giving hope and meaning to those unfortunate masses that weren't born with kingship rights, because those downthrotten masses needed all the hope for justice they could get, even though illusionary, since priests and popes alike always have been on the side of the ruling parties with the function of public speakers to tame the peasant crowds. Leaving satire aside, religion and religious esoterism are very interesting to study all in respect to psychology and the workings of  the unconsciousness. For the serious explorer a few major points are established and these are as follows: 

  • If we consider the Universe as a representation of a God entity, then it would be inconsistent to ascribe particular religious preferences to it. That is, put archaically, God does not have a religion
  • All the evil in this world comes from the irresponsible, selfish and primitive actions of humans. Natural disasters, for instance, cannot be described as evil, because they are part of Earth's climatic and geologic life, thus they are as necessary as good weather. If humans ascribe their own evilness to outside forces, this is only their own inability to take responsibility and self-control, unless they have mental disabilities in the psychiatric sense. 
  • There is no need for special places of worship in order to attain personal insight nor does continuous, entranced pray bring deeper awareness. These are achieved by mental effort of thinking, not by memorizing and repeating old verses. 
  • Ignorance is not a bliss, it is a concept for control over the masses still very much in use today.

In short, religion has served its role and can no longer positively serve as a unifying agent, but on the contrary, religion is a major segregator in our contemporary globalized society. And humanity better realize this sooner and take the next step in our mental advancement. So, yes, religion is obsolete and theology is a thing of our more primitive past and understanding. 

Religion must be interpreted through the aspects of psychology. This is the only way to realize its meaning and understand its essense. Nevertheless the seriousness of this pressing topic, let's conclude this article with a sense of humor: