Thinking about religion

Watching young, traditionalist, Muslim women swimming in fully enclosing, hooded, swimming costumes here in Turkey I find myself yet again thinking about religion and my attitudes to it. My thoughts follow these steps:

I am anti dogma because it is closed, constraining, and always about elites exercising power over others. It makes it easier to avoid taking personal responsibility for your thoughts and actions, and constrains learning and growth.

Spirituality, to me, is an acknowledgement of, and interest in, the beauty, wonder, and inexplicability of much of life. It is the antithesis of dogma and rewards allowing things to stay beautiful, wonderful and inexplicable.

Religion – organised religion as distinct from mankind’s religious inclinations which I would include under spirituality – relies heavily on dogma.

Therefore I worry a lot about religion.

I also believe that, as with politics, the power of networked thinking affords us the possibility of a collectively more spiritual outlook on the world with less risk of resorting to dogma.

5 thoughts on “Thinking about religion

  1. I too worry about religion – but I'm not so sure about whether networked thinking can overcome deeply ingrained habits of religious dogma.Got this idea after thinking of a silly pun, then realised it's probably not that silly: "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks".


  2. I agree with your view on religion as institution. I think however that humans like to seek spirituality in any form and pending our level of education, awareness and ability to take responsibility for our actions we might move away from institutionalised religions towards belief in nature, pantheism or other forms of agnostic approach. Since it is in our nature to seek higher powers to believe in, to respect I can see how religions become popular for so many. Not everyone has the will power and enough of self esteem to move away from dogmatic systems. That is truly sad. I like your positive outlook on networks though.


  3. "Religion without dogma becomes vague uplift," W.H. Auden once wrote. I understand that, but prefer spirituality as you define it here.


  4. I think this all come down to education. “Networked thinking” won't magically kill dogma if one doesn't have the intellectual tools for thinking by themselves, searching, doubting, forging an opinion, learning new things, etc. After all, organizations built on dogma do use those tools too (e.g. think about how they often turn into echo chambers). I'm not disagreeing with you 🙂 and I hope that those tools can be / are used to improve education all around. I'm just too well aware how much weight the human factor has compared to the technical tools at our disposal.


  5. So true – the tools in themselves aren't enough. They do help us to have "conversations" like this one though and every little helps! 🙂


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