Monday, September 25, 2006

Religi · ah · city

Humility or aggression or passivity are examples of core values that affect religious beliefs. Can we say that religious beliefs are a manifestation of core values? (Not that religious beliefs create core values, although as new generations learn religion their core values are created.) For example, the Vikings', Romans', Aztecs' gods were aggressive and we now look back at those ancient religions and, while finding them laughable, we see them as mirrors of the societies that 'created' them.

In fact, many of those venerated in today's mainstream religions (i.e., those of the Book) were violent: Jean d'Arc in Catholicism, for example. But we see today's religions as real enough to justify war and other forms of killing. Believers are sure that their faith is in something more fundamental than a mirror of themselves. It surely must be a creation of the Creator, and worthy of defense.

As we enlarge our realms through travel and communication, we learn of other values. Through histories, we see how values have shaped societies. We choose to accept or reject new values and their manifestations. When we accept new values, the tenets of our religions change. This process spawns multitudes of religions.

Shouldn't passive/pacifist values triumph on the merits of logic? Violence is not logical on many levels, including evolutionary.

If that were true, why would aggressive and violent manifestations triumph? Unfortunately, pacifists must always yield to aggressors (although some delay yielding by using isolationism). To choose pacifism is to choose obscurity.

Our hormonal states and their cycles disallow pacifism on a very personal (one might say 'intimate') level. In this sense, violence is beneficial on an evolutionary level.

It's ironic that we consider pacifism as an unusual value, and yet constantly report on aggression in the 'news', as well as mark our time (history) with violent acts.


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