March 19, 2008

Have we become less religious these days?

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:56 pm by changisme

I was reading Neil Gaiman. I really think what he calls "gods" reall just faeries. "Gods" should at least care about the well-being of a group of creatures. They can’t be so free as to have no subjects. Gods might well be doing things for their own reasons. What they do might well be frustrating, but they protect their peoples. I think people these days have become more polytheistic, in fact, I think most people have alsways been polytheistic, and it’s a really natural thing to believe in. I feel bad thinking this… but really, I can only feel it would be so nice to be completely sure about monotheism, but I really just believe in it with a leap of faith.
 
People say that people nowadays have no such concpt of a protector, because we believe in individualism and collective powers such as in voting and the justice system. I don’t really think so. I really I have a hard time believing people a thousand years ago would believe a king can protect them any more than we can believe in a policing department.
 
Some others say that we have so much information and wealth that we could potentially become our own gods by thinking we can protect ourselves. I don’t really think that’s true either. Even though we have more information, we are also more specialized, and we out source our work. How many of us actually try to mix our own herbs nowadays? Even though we don’t think doctors are gods, we somehow still rely on them, sometimes even with blind religiosity.
 
I really don’t think people have become less religious than before. Maybe people think that way because they don’t really have a high resolution version of the past. There might have been less diversity in view points simply due to the smaller total population, but even this I can’t readily conclude, because fewer words were recorded fromt he past than we have written down today.
 
One thing that I can’t ignore i that we might have become less communal, because of easier communication and transportation. That expands our social network. It certainly has some influence on how confined we are to our local community, but does it stop us from quickly finding ourselves a nest that we think we belong? In one sense that we are less bounded by our inherited beliefs, but really, a lot of times what we believe is also bounded so much by influces around us, these influeces might as well be equivalent to an inheritence. I’m not saying that beliefs are not personal choice, indeed they are. It’s just that inherited or dragged along by your friends, it might not be all that different.
 
Some also believe that our social structure have been changing so fast in most places in the past century that people feel insecure about any one set of belief system. They end up being more short-sighted. I am tempted to agree, but I wonder if our society is really any less stable than before. Lords and land owners fought all the time. Churches split, and religious leaders argued. Why would the old time be more peaceful? In fact, we have more material luxury to have a longer vision, eg we invest so much more on education these days than before. Of course, I don’t really know if we ARE really more far-sighted than people from before, we might have just become more needy and haven’t become any richer at all!
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