i didn't say anywhere that people 'need' religion to get along or act ethically. that is an altogether different argument and is extremely spurious. i said for many people religion is a good conduit of their energies, a positive and constructive thing in their life that encourages good conduct inasmuch as for others it can lead to extremism, dogmatism, intolerance, hatred rather than love, etc. i certainly have never needed religious precept or the fear of damnation to encourage me to be moral or good to someone; that is not my point. my point is everybody worships, in some form or another, whether they worship money/status, their own intelligence or 'reason', their social tribe or nationality, etc. people are susceptible to all sorts of ideological hooks and crooks.
we live in the most secular and godless age, which many people celebrate; but we also live in an age of resurgent conspiratorial thinking and lapses into all sorts of irrational clap-trap. how is it that the most technologically advanced civilization in the history of the world is now full of people who even doubt that the world is round, a fact adduced by the ancient greeks using a stick and the transit of the sun? there's an interesting dynamic, i think, it's an expression of something beyond savage ignorance. people are still congregating in churches, just they're dedicated now to david icke or alex jones or whatever.
And well, confucius to mohammed - there's almost a milennium between the two. Nevermind that as you stated the abrahamic religions also strongly draw from myths that have histories as far back as 4000 bce.
yes, but, islam is still in large part based on the monotheism established by judaism. it still centres around jerusalem, and the similarities in their theologies are very similar. they share many of the same prophets. i am talking specifically about the emergence of the abrahamic monotheisms, not the loose collection of myths and gods that existed in the region before then. a big change took place ca. 550 BCE (hence all the stuff about moses and the early prophets smashing false idols, railing against those who worshipped baal/the golden calf, etc.)
judaism (from which followed the other abrahamic religions), buddhism, confucianism, and the socratic school of greek philosophy (from which specifically followed christianity when hellenism met judaism) all basically erupted in the same 100 years. all have been completely pivotal to the modern world, secular or not.
One of those great minds we talked about in the past, thomas aquinas. He was possibly agnostic by the way and rather nuanced when it came to the subject of god.
to call aquinas 'agnostic' is to misunderstand the term or to use it in a wrong historical context. the entire point of doubt was very different for medieval theologians. it was a necessary step to proving a higher faith
, not of being 'in doubt' about the existence of god in the same way that you or i would be 'agnostic' in the 21st century. most of the church fathers, including augustine, were at one point or another 'agnostic', literally doubting the existence of god, or god as he is presented; several of jesus' apostles were agnostic and had famous moments of doubt, equivocation, crises of faith. hence you have 'doubting thomas', doubting peter, doubting simon (who became paul, literally the founder of the entire catholic church).
kierkegaard, in the 19th century, the great christian existentialist with his 'leap of faith' and talk of absurd belief, as well as pascal before him, extended this tradition of 'radical' religious doubt; descartes and cartesianism are extensions of this doubt, and similarly are concerned with 'rationally' proving the existence of god/the absolute. do NOT confuse these people as 'agnostics' in the sense we use today.
speaking of convoluted process, in the case of the Qur'an one of the facts you'll have to assume as true is that when the editors were put in charge of compiling and writing out the oral version of the book, everyone in 600 AD knew word-for-word whatever Mohammed allegedly said at various events/places. I'm sure they corroborated before including it but I mean, come on.
i mean this is more-or-less how every oral story became written down. homer was an oral tale for centuries, and they are considered the 'canonical' founding texts of western culture: the odyssey and the iliad were memorized. it's perfectly conceivable that an oral memory of what was exactly said was passed down, more or less. it's more complicated than that because we're talking about things deemed 'holy' and 'the words of god', etc, but still. there's very little that is actually directly attributable as 'the words of jesus' in the gospels or bible, fyi. biblical scholars generally tend to ascribe it to the paraphrase or oral testimony of intermediaries, too; it's very hard to get a sense of the 'voice' of jesus when you read the often very different versions in the gospels.
you should look up the septuagint, by the way. it's a similar part to the history of the bible's composition. christian thinkers are obviously familiar with these textual/compositional aspects.
Last edited by uziq (2020-09-21 10:06:03)