Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: Can Science and Religion partner in a new phase of human exploration?

#1
I'm not sure whether there is some related thread where this might belong.

For now, I'll post it here:
Author and Biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake elaborates on the antagonistic relationship between science and religion. Dr. Sheldrake argues that science, like fundamentalistic religion, has been taken captive by a materialistic dogmatic view of nature and that a new creative, cooperative paradigm is needed for science and religion to evolve our understanding of consciousness and the cosmos.
 
#4
Maybe so. Though Sheldrake makes his case in the video for (at least some) religion being much more open-minded than scientific dogma typically is.
Typoz, I usually agree with you. But I don't think Sheldrake made the case that some religions are more opened minded.

While he states that "many mainstream churches are not very dogmatic and are open on quite a large number of important issues" he doesn't give examples.

Which "mainstream churches"
What "important issues"
What are their "open" views
How have their views and dogma evolved over time

Making a statement is not the same as substantiating it.

To be honest, I thought his comments about dogma sounded more like a dig on catholicism given the catholic church's proclivity toward issuing edicts and its preoccupation with orthodoxy and heresy.

I agree that there is an absence of official dogma in a number of religions. But the absence of official dogma isn't an indication of open mindedness, rather its the lack of central governing bodies. There's no pope or ecumenical patriarch at the helm of most religions.

Rather, evangelical religions, such as the Baptist, Pentecostal, and Methodist are comprised of dozens of denominations very loosely organized under consulting councils. Many denominations are not even affiliated with the councils. Churches want control at the local level over the beliefs and practices of their congregations. And they want control over the congregation's money. It's not an absence of dogma, its micromanagement of dogma and tithings. Having attended evangelical churches and eventually baptized in the baptist church I can say from my experience, dogma is a live and thriving. And they don't take kindly to anyone who dares to question or challenge their beliefs.

There's a reason why all churches have a form of excommunication--those who question are a threat to church dogma. Churches are not in the business to reform themselves--they're in the business to reform and convert society to embrace their beliefs and practices--and then willingly pay for that privilege.
 
#5
I think it may depend on which country or culture one is considering. Sheldrake himself is from England, where things may differ considerably from for example, certain states of the U.S.A. He also spent time in India among non-Christian religions. These experiences have shaped his views. He himself certainly doesn't seem to be in the business of converting anyone, only asking for more open-mindedness.
 
#6
Typoz, I usually agree with you. But I don't think Sheldrake made the case that some religions are more opened minded.

While he states that "many mainstream churches are not very dogmatic and are open on quite a large number of important issues" he doesn't give examples.

Which "mainstream churches"
What "important issues"
What are their "open" views
How have their views and dogma evolved over time

Making a statement is not the same as substantiating it.

To be honest, I thought his comments about dogma sounded more like a dig on catholicism given the catholic church's proclivity toward issuing edicts and its preoccupation with orthodoxy and heresy.

I agree that there is an absence of official dogma in a number of religions. But the absence of official dogma isn't an indication of open mindedness, rather its the lack of central governing bodies. There's no pope or ecumenical patriarch at the helm of most religions.

Rather, evangelical religions, such as the Baptist, Pentecostal, and Methodist are comprised of dozens of denominations very loosely organized under consulting councils. Many denominations are not even affiliated with the councils. Churches want control at the local level over the beliefs and practices of their congregations. And they want control over the congregation's money. It's not an absence of dogma, its micromanagement of dogma and tithings. Having attended evangelical churches and eventually baptized in the baptist church I can say from my experience, dogma is a live and thriving. And they don't take kindly to anyone who dares to question or challenge their beliefs.

There's a reason why all churches have a form of excommunication--those who question are a threat to church dogma. Churches are not in the business to reform themselves--they're in the business to reform and convert society to embrace their beliefs and practices--and then willingly pay for that privilege.
I agree - I very much appreciate Rupert Sheldrake, but I think he fails to realise just how many people became materialists because they had been burned off by religion in their youth.

What happens, is that someone finds a super broad minded church somewhere and extols it as an example of Christianity as it should be (mutatis mutandis for other religions), and fails to realise that that is like sampling the extreme edge of a Gaussian curve - several sigmas away from the mean!

I am sure religions foster contact with non-material realms from time, and maybe particularly when they are founded, but that isn't their primary role - which is why there is very little interest from them in NDE's!

My feeling is that Christianity and Islam are both quite dangerous looked at over a time period of centuries.

I think it may depend on which country or culture one is considering. Sheldrake himself is from England, where things may differ considerably from for example, certain states of the U.S.A.
The Church of England was certainly very mild for many years, but things are changing in the UK. As people move here, religion (and the potential religious strife) is increasing. Church politics is just that - politics. For example, the issues over whether women can or cannot perform certain roles in the Church, or precisely what the Church's attitude to homosexuality should be, are hammered out in exactly the same way as politics, and as a result, no change can ever be considered permanent.

I'd like a 'religion' based on Skeptiko - looking critically at the evidence, keen to experiment, nobody is in charge (I await the obvious joke), curiosity combined with humanity rules.

David
 
#7
I think it may depend on which country or culture one is considering. Sheldrake himself is from England, where things may differ considerably from for example, certain states of the U.S.A. He also spent time in India among non-Christian religions. These experiences have shaped his views. He himself certainly doesn't seem to be in the business of converting anyone, only asking for more open-mindedness.
Certainly the Church of England, which is the Episcopalian church in the US, is more pragmatic in their approach. I live in a very small community. Our Episcopalian church has a female rector and offers zen meditation twice a week. You definitely won't find either at the Catholic Church just a block up the street. But they still promote the dogma, both here and abroad. They have a youth mission trip to Guatemala scheduled for this month.

Still, I'm not sure the Church of England is a barometer for the state of religion in England. Just last week Tim Farron's cited religious conflict as his reason for resigning as head of the Liberal Democratic Party in England. Farron is an evangelical conservative christian. He stated the following:

“To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.”

Farron has been in politics since the early 1990's. When an individual abandons his life's work because he feels the job is in direct conflict with what his church expects of him, that's pretty compelling evidence of the closed mindedness of the church.

Anna Strhan, lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent, wrote an interesting article on her studies of conservative evangelicalism for the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her studies include interviews of church leaders and members.


Strhan writes:

"Overall, I found that what it meant to be a conservative evangelical in these individuals’ everyday lives was shaped through the complex intersection of their sense of relationship with God and with each other, their being addressed in the church by traditionalist moral teachings – including those on issues such as gender, sexuality and other religions in tension with secular modernity – and their simultaneous inhabiting of liberal, pluralist spaces in wider society that led them to experience these teachings as a cultural taboo that they are, in most of the everyday spaces they inhabit, unwilling to transgress."

The church can't physical segregate it's members from society, but it does an extraordinary job of teaching them to mentally and emotionally segregate from those of different views.

Link to article

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/religionpubl...rvative-evangelicalism-and-the-public-sphere/
 
#9
I agree - I very much appreciate Rupert Sheldrake, but I think he fails to realise just how many people became materialists because they had been burned off by religion in their youth.

What happens, is that someone finds a super broad minded church somewhere and extols it as an example of Christianity as it should be (mutatis mutandis for other religions), and fails to realise that that is like sampling the extreme edge of a Gaussian curve - several sigmas away from the mean!

I am sure religions foster contact with non-material realms from time, and maybe particularly when they are founded, but that isn't their primary role - which is why there is very little interest from them in NDE's!

My feeling is that Christianity and Islam are both quite dangerous looked at over a time period of centuries.



The Church of England was certainly very mild for many years, but things are changing in the UK. As people move here, religion (and the potential religious strife) is increasing. Church politics is just that - politics. For example, the issues over whether women can or cannot perform certain roles in the Church, or precisely what the Church's attitude to homosexuality should be, are hammered out in exactly the same way as politics, and as a result, no change can ever be considered permanent.

I'd like a 'religion' based on Skeptiko - looking critically at the evidence, keen to experiment, nobody is in charge (I await the obvious joke), curiosity combined with humanity rules.

David
You give voice to what I've felt for many years, but feared to say aloud. Dangerous is very accurate...
 
#11
I think the same charge could be leveled at most human institutions. Politics and criminal justice come to mind.
Yes it definitely could - the big difference is that nobody really thinks they are anything more.

I would say there is pretty clear evidence that materialism is false, but imagine if that evidence suddenly became much stronger still - suppose people began to emerge who could reliably remote view future share prices - I think it would be awful if people responded by just going to their (psychologically) nearest place of worship.

David
 
#13
Wouldn't people be more likely to respond by going to their nearest stockbroker?
Actually, if enough people could reliably glean this type of future information the resulting activity of buyers and sellers would offset any information advantage. Markets become efficient and prices would reflect their own, future, prices. That or you'd end up murdering your grandfather, no longer exist, and subsequently not be wealthy. ;)
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#14
I think if one looks at the whole course of human history it becomes difficult to maintain Christianity and Islam (or any other extant religion based in antiquity) did more bad than good.

If we take organized religion as a concept, without looking at particular faiths, I'd say the case would be overwhelming that it shaped civilization and even birthed much of what we consider modern humanist values (you can't have rights w/out objective morality after all).

This isn't to say we haven't, as a species, possibly outgrown the need for certain interpretations but I wouldn't be too quick to throw the Baby Jesus out with the bathwater. :)
 
#15
I think if one looks at the whole course of human history it becomes difficult to maintain Christianity and Islam (or any other extant religion based in antiquity) did more bad than good.

If we take organized religion as a concept, without looking at particular faiths, I'd say the case would be overwhelming that it shaped civilization and even birthed much of what we consider modern humanist values (you can't have rights w/out objective morality after all).

This isn't to say we haven't, as a species, possibly outgrown the need for certain interpretations but I wouldn't be too quick to throw the Baby Jesus out with the bathwater. :)
Hmmmmm! The real problem with that is that we haven't got many non-religious societies to compare with. The USSR evolved from a very religious society, and our own society obviously did too.

To find a better form of 'religion' I'd go back to primitive societies that worshipped many gods and used psychedelic plants, etc. I think such people might be rather closer to the 'Skeptiko religion' - which is to think carefully about what is on offer, and try to find the best path by exploration.

David
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#16
Hmmmmm! The real problem with that is that we haven't got many non-religious societies to compare with. The USSR evolved from a very religious society, and our own society obviously did too.

To find a better form of 'religion' I'd go back to primitive societies that worshipped many gods and used psychedelic plants, etc. I think such people might be rather closer to the 'Skeptiko religion' - which is to think carefully about what is on offer, and try to find the best path by exploration.

David
I'm not in complete disagreement but it might be hard to go from a society that's not oriented around psychedelics to a shamanic society that incorporates psychedelics.

For example I was once attacked by a friend tripping on LSD who convinced he was in a labyrinth surrounded by demons. Thankfully no one was harmed in that situation.
 
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