After a forced break due to the post number restrictions on new participants, I find I will have to be more judicious in writing responses, including combining them as much as possible.
To Reggie_O_Donaghue @Reggie_O_Donoghue
I like the Anglican church. I have been considering that for a next church… means Episcopal denomination here in the states as far as I can tell.
To Albert Leo @aleo
The key word in what I said is the “I.” “I attach no importance to patriotism.” If you read the OP again perhaps you will see why – I had an extremely liberal upbringing. I do not confuse my internal state with reality to say, “patriotism has no importance.” I suppose you can say I am an idealist in the sense that my only loyalties are to what is right and I will not give my family, country, race, sex, species, or world any precedence in that. Indeed, I am more inclined to sacrifice these for the sake of what is right. I pretend to no delusion of anything like pure objectivity. Life requires subjective participation where what I want makes a difference – so of course I will give some precdednce to my own needs and values in the living of my life. Nor does this mean I do not honor those who have made sacrifices for sake of a better world, but why should I honor those of my own country any more than those of other countries?
As for things like globalization and unification, I am very wary of this. The lesson I take away from Genesis 11 is that war is not the greatest evil – a world united in a single evil way of life is a greater evil than that. I place a higher value on diversity and competition between many different ways of thinking – I see this as being as valuable to the survival of human civilization as genetic diversity is to the survival of the species.
I am quite frank that all my Christian beliefs are in exactly the same category as the beliefs of other in things like faries, UFOs, psychics, alternative medicine, and ghosts. Just because I believe them cannot change the fact that they are based on subjective justification (such as personal experience) just like these beliefs of others.
And…BTW… I am not a fan of the word “soul.” I tend to use the world “spirit” instead (going back to 1 Cor 15 as my touchstone) and I believe that spirit is something which comes to all living things in accordance with the measure of life they experience (which is highly quantitative).
I share your respect of William James as worthy of some attention. I distinguish different religions like Christianity, Islam, etc according to what they believe. But of course, this does not sum up religion, it is only the easiest and most substantial means of categorization that I personally at least can get a grip on.
To both Christy and MarkD @Christy @MarkD
I see no reason whatsoever to make the word “religion” the property of organized groups, except when trying to get a handle on major labels like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc… I will not deny the value of labels for the purpose of communication so that we can zero in on where particular people are at. But too much emphasis on group categorization can be misleading, for the individuals are not as united in belief, experience, and values as such labels might make it appear.
I wonder if this is also connected with my aversion to the habit of many of the religious in making even God into the exclusive property of their particular religion. We can talk of different gods as a convenient way of speaking. I will even talk about all the different Christian deities which I do not believe in. But I would not confuse the God I believe is real with the any of the various human conceptions of him. Indeed I think their are some issues in theology where this leads to some really big distortions.