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The Forum > General Discussion > Barnaby Joyce and the Catholic Church.

Barnaby Joyce and the Catholic Church.

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I'll repeat what I've written in the past:

Although religion is a universal social institution, it
takes a multitude of forms. Believers may worship gods,
ancestors, or totems; they may practice solitary
meditation, frenzied rituals, or solemn prayer.

Emile Durkheim, one of the earliest sociologists believed
that the origins of religion were social, not supernatural.
He pointed out that, whatever their source, the rituals
enacted in any religion enhance the solidarity of the
community as well as its faith.

Rituals such as baptism, bar mitzvah, weddings, Sabbath services,
Christmas mass, and funerals. Rituals like these serve to
bring people together; to remind them of their common group
membership; to reaffirm their traditional values; to
maintain prohibitions and taboos; to offer comfort in times
of crisis and in general, to help transmit the cultural
heritage from one generation to the next.

In fact, Durkheim argued, shared religious beliefs and the
rituals that go with them are so important that every society
needs a religion, or at least some belief system that
serves the same functions.

The cause of much of the social disorder in modern societies,
he contended, is that "the old gods are growing old or
are already dead, and others are not yet born." In other
words, people may no longer believe deeply in traditional
religion, but they have found no satisfying substitute.

For many years it was widely felt that as science progressively
provided rational explanations for the mysteries of the
universe, religion would have less and less of a role to play
and would eventually disappear, unmasked as nothing more
than superstition. But there are still gaps in our
understanding that science can never fill. On the ultimately
important questions - of the meaning and purpose of life
and the nature of morality - science is utterly silent.
And by its very nature, always will be.

Few citizens of modern societies would utterly deny the
possibility of some higher power in the universe, some
supernatural, transcendental realm that lies beyond the
boundaries of ordinary experience, and in this fundamental
sense religion is probably here to stay.
Posted by Foxy, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 12:47:21 PM
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phanto,

How do you know that Paulís beef with the Catholic Church is merely ďbitternessĒ, or something he just needs to get over? Do you have experience with the Catholic Church? I donít, so I have no way of knowing that he just needs to get over something, or that his parents are to blame.

Paulís problem with the Catholic Church might be something worth listening to; Paul might have a genuine grievance, beyond mere bitterness, which we could all learn something from; but youíll never find out if thatís the case for so long you continue to play amateur psychologist.

Your amateur psychology is - how would you put it? - patronising.

--

Dear Foxy,

Durkheim was of the Structural Functionalist school of thought, which attempts to describe how different social phenomena work to contribute to the stability of societies. Structural Functionalism can also describe how crime contributes to the stability of a society, but that doesnít make crime a good thing. So, to promote religion by plugging Durkheimís thoughts on it, is to somewhat miss the point of Durkheimís work, and is - to an extent - a tautology.

<<On the ultimately important questions - of the meaning and purpose of life and the nature of morality - science is utterly silent.>>

Science is not utterly silent on morality:

http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?q=cognitive+science+of+morality

Deontology is an area of study which overlaps morality.

Nor does religion seem to be of any use on the topic of morality (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwz6B8BFkb4). At least not in civilised societies where the threat of a vengeful god is no longer necessary.

<<Few citizens of modern societies would utterly deny the possibility of some higher power in the universe Ö>>

Sure, but few people would utterly deny anything. As is the case with absolute certainty in these discussions (But how can you be absolutely sure thereís no god?!), the utter denial of anything is a red herring. We can quite happily live out our entire lives without having to be absolutely certainty on any given proposition - itís not necessary, and may not even be possible to achieve.
Posted by AJ Philips, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 3:33:08 PM
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Philips:

Who said I was talking to Paul?
Posted by phanto, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 4:53:13 PM
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Well, phanto, you obviously weren't talking about Josephus. I've never shown any bitterness towards the Catholic Church (or any other church, for that matter). Certainly, my criticisms have never been unfair. Nor do I see any reason to assume that Paul's criticisms are unwarranted. Therefore, given that Paul is the one who started the thread, I can only presume that you were talking about him.
Posted by AJ Philips, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 5:03:26 PM
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Philips:

Then you have nothing to worry about have you?
Posted by phanto, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 5:06:54 PM
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Dear AJ,

Yes Emile Durkheim was one of the earliest functionalist
theorists. He was also the first sociologist to apply the
perspective to religion in a systematic way. His study,
"The Elementary Forms of Religious Life" was first published
in 1912 and has since become a classic.

Many of Durkheim's contemporaries saw religion as nothing
more than a primitive relic that would soon disappear in the
more sophisticated modern world. But Durkheim was impressed by
the fact that religion is universal in human society, and he
wondered why this should be so. His answer was that religion
has a vital function in maintaining the social system as a
whole.
Posted by Foxy, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 6:50:33 PM
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