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Nothing New Under The Sun
(the ARX acta diurna)
The biggest problem imo with organized religion
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bellatrys From: bellatrys Date: December 7th, 2009 09:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh, indeed

I only had a few years of Theo, but I have a glancing familiarity with Rudolph Otto - and then it only makes sense, from a purely practical historical perspective, that behaviors wouldn't be codified and systematized *before* the impulses that led to them.

I tend to think of the mystical practices as preceding the organized religions

Yes, I meant merely in the sense of a Personal Journey - those who have been raised in a legalistic faith and after study end up on a more mystical and less exclusionary path often do see it as a Return to a primeval spirituality, free of "accretions" as well as superstition and parochialism. Western efforts by the Establishment to resist this cutting into market share are notorious; but the realization for me that it *was* a Fight About The Stuff like most political battles (ie a political battle!) for all the conflicting dogmas on all sides, was helped along by reading about bloody (if less centrally organized) fights between Asian monasteries which sounded awfully familiar after reading about the purges and splintering and counter-accusations of heresy between orders in the European Middle Ages.

(Unfortunately my knowledge of Asian religious/political history is a lot sketchier and more scattered, and so I don't have a good feel for the extent to which thinkers over the centuries *engaged* with the problem of Clericalism in Buddhism and how that affected ordinary people who just wanted the Comforts of Tradition and the household shrine to help them get on with their lives and let the professionals take care of the high-level mediation and cosmic stuff; the bits I've read in Mencius and other Confucian school theorists remind me of the ancient internal debates over Piety vs Superstition in Magna Graeca which also inevitably start and roll back round to the whole Social Utility of Organized Religion. The pop cultural takes, full of snark and skewering of hypocrisies, in plays and folktales of lecherous monks, false ascetics and other holy hypocrites, those sound *way* familiar after reading medieval European poetry and song lyrics - or Tartuffe.

OTOH, while it's definitely a relief to realize that It's Not Just Us in that it allows for better diagnosis and hopefully, treatment of problems (if you think it's Just Us then, in my experience, a common result is fleeing from failed institution to as-yet-untried-&-thus-not-failed institution in search of the Real Authentic Pure Religion, which never works) as well as a we're-all-in-it-together commonality of humanity - still it's also very disheartening in that it shows that nobody's got a handle on how to deal with it, after all these millennia of trying... "Damn, we ALL have versions of the Prosperity Gospel!? We're all following Empress Fortuna, whether we call her Mother Church or Kwannon or Reason or Nature, the real target of human veneration is & has always been the 'bitch-goddess Success' it seems--"

(Oh, and thanks for reminding me that I forgot the intended epigraph to this post.)
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