Monday, 25 June 2012

Organised Religion

Memoirs of a Dervish plus cafe au lait in Lacanau-Ocean

I would say that the vast majority of my friends, relatives and acquaintances are not atheists but do not like what they would call organised religion and certainly do not attend church or any other kind of religious service.

Robert Irwin recounts an interesting argument in his book, Memoirs of a Dervish, which bears on this issue of believing in some kind of transendental being but not adhering to a particular creed.

I hope that I too can recount it here and do justice to it.

He refers to that attempt to discover a common core to all the great religions;  that attempt to establish a universal set of moral precepts and beliefs eg a sense that there is something bigger than the individual and that 'love' should be the driving force behind an individual's behaviour, ideas that are probably found in all religions.

He then quotes the critique of that universalist project. The critique, as I understand it, is not asserting that the end product is wrong (although it could be). Rather, it is arguing that the end product could just as easily be reached by not examining any of the individual creeds in the first place. That all one is actually doing by looking for these communalities is, a priori, laying down a set of basic criteria (eg a sense that there is something bigger than the individual and that 'love' should be the driving force behind an individual's behaviour) that a belief system has to meet in the first place in order for it to justify the label, 'religion', as opposed to say 'car mechanics manual'.

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Last night's dinner:

One course only at the campsite restaurant, served by a rather sullen waitress with a definite malnourished Glaswegian appearance. Made us feel quite at home.


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Typical little houses in Lacanau-Ocean:

Not sure how you would describe the style: petit-colonial, perhaps?








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