Basic Orientation
Book1: R-E Living & "Homo Rationalis"
Book2: Humanianity
Book3: Mind-Body Problem
Book4: (Future Possible Development)
Child Rearing Issues
Philosophico-Religious Issues
Psycho-Socio-Cultural Issues
The Twelve Articles
01 Our Future
02 Difference of Opinion
03 Our Anger
04 Punishing Children
05 Child Rearing
06 Our Biggest Problem
07 Evils of Justice
08 Cultural Victimization
09 Rational-Ethical Religion
10 Rational-Ethical Government
11 Global Human Zoo
12 "Homo Rationalis" Wants YOU
Relevant Autobiography
 
"HOMO RATIONALIS" AND HUMANIANITY
 
HELPING TO PROMOTE OUR THIRD EXPONENTIAL CHANGE
 

9. RATIONAL-ETHICAL RELIGION



In this ninth of twelve monthly articles (available with free "textbook" at HomoRationalis.com), I continue to describe what I believe will be the ultimate maturation of our now-just-a-toddler species. We at that time will cause ourselves drastically less pain, suffering, disability, and early death. We will have undergone our third exponential change, from authoritarian ethics (we should obey the most powerful) to rational ethics (we should do what will promote not only our survival but the good life for everyone, now and in the future). (The first two changes were the development of language and science/technology.)


What, based on our other predictions, will the religion of "Homo rationalis" be like?


Religions have always had several components. The most basic component has been that of helping individuals to live optimal lives, by doing the right thing. Religions have of course differed somewhat as to what the right thing is, but they have been the institutions providing the central organizing activity for the lives of their members, aiding them to develop their basic ethical philosophies. Thus, religion will continue to be essential.


But probably from the very beginning of what could be called religion, another component has been the provision of an explanatory worldview, that is, a set of existential beliefs (about what exists, existed, or will exist). Each religion’s explanatory worldview has served in part to explain its ethical beliefs (about what we should do). For instance, we should sacrifice our virgins because there is a deity in the volcano that likes them, or we should treat each other a certain way because the deity wishes it.


Now we know that originally there were thousands of these worldviews, perhaps one per religion. With time, as cultures have blended, the number of religions has decreased considerably, and so have the explanatory worldviews. But amidst these many explanatory worldviews, the scientific explanatory worldview has grown like a skyscraper in a village of many one-story houses. Its relative tallness symbolizes both the extent (complexity) of its beliefs and the fact that the beliefs have been built upon each other, with continual reconstruction and ever increasing accuracy, comprehensiveness, and effectiveness, while the other worldviews have remained pretty much the same.


As described in past articles, our species has always had both accuracy and comfort as criteria for legitimating belief. To question comforting belief produces discomfort and thus feels like attack, often therefore producing a hostile response, sometimes even murder. Much religious belief has been maintained as an act of obedience, with precautions against skepticism, including the induction of fear of reprisal should doubt be revealed. Consequently, religions have had a tendency to divide us from one another.


Similarly, religions have tended to see science as an enemy, best kept separate from religion. In extreme cases, religions have seen science as evil, with dire consequences for individuals advocating scientific understanding.


My earlier articles proposed that "Homo rationalis" will value accuracy of belief most highly, and will not use comfort as a legitimating criterion of belief. Therefore, their religion will embrace science as our grandest achievement, and will turn over to science the responsibility for the provision of an explanatory worldview. They will say religion without science is as dangerous as science without religion.


Their religion will be focused on promoting maximal empathy, acceptance, support, and connectedness, as consistent with rational ethics. Their religious organizations will provide for the partial restoration of supportive communal life, lost somewhat as we moved from tight-knit hunter-gatherer bands ultimately into our currently more secure but isolating boxes, and as we traded extended kinship support for extreme individual mobility.


Our many religious explanatory worldviews will become cultural heritages, equivalent more to our clothing and music, as the honored vestiges of our emergence from the magical worlds of our species’ childhood. Their explanatory worldviews will no longer be reasons to avoid, shun, and kill, but instead will be seen as having been our best efforts at rising above our basic chimpanzee nature by means of a deeper understanding of the world. Our deities will be our role models, and since we will no longer be punishing our children and each other, but instead will have the highest regard for mutual understanding and benevolence, so too will our deities give up being so angry, competitive, judgmental, and vengeful. Our deities will grow with us, as we and they help each other to achieve the good life and make the world a better place.


Should we promote this change? How?


To be continued…