Royce Shook

2 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Do you believe in magic?

According to Adherents, there are over 4,000 faiths and spiritual movements in the world today. So, what is a religion? Some would say it is a type of magic. While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, defines it as a "[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in people by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and giving these conceptions an aura of factuality that seem uniquely realistic."

Religions have stories, figures, legends and divine tales that are intended to give purpose to life or to reveal the origin of life or the world or our existence. Religions tend to assume virtue, values, spiritual laws, or a chosen lifestyle created from their ideas about the cosmos and individual nature. 

The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief because it has a public aspect. Most religions teach their faithful organized practices and teach a belief in the value of their particular hierarchies. The religion defines who and what constitutes membership. The leaders set up a routine for the followers including regular meetings or services for the purposes of worship of a deity or for prayer. The leadership also identify holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts for the followers. 

All religions have language that is sacred. Religious practice may also include sermons, the commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Spiritual beliefs have also been used to explain out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and otherworldly experiences.

One theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a similar model. Social constructivism is a theory of knowledge according to which human development is socially situated and all knowledge is constructed through interaction with others. 

All social constructs impact us in ways they affect our behaviour: money causes us to move material goods all around the world, war causes us to kill and destroy, justice can create peaceful communities (or violent ones, when absent), etc. Religion clearly also has an impact: we construct temples, write books, come together for prayer, contemplation, and we persecute those who believe differently than we believe.

Some have theorized that it doesn’t matter what faith you believe in as long as you believe in something that gives you meaning, guidance and peace. But others believe that believing in something that isn’t true is a definition of insanity.

Believing in religion is the same as believing in magic. It can be fun and harmless, but it can also be counterproductive if for no other reason than it’s a waste of time. It keeps you busy while ignoring real-world issues that have consequences. Your life and everyone else’s would be improved by focusing on and solving real problems.

Do you believe in magic?

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“Religion is like a pair of shoes.....Find one that fits for you, but don't make me wear your shoes.” ― George Carlin

Lyon Brave

2 years ago #4

Magic is my business motto

Jerry Fletcher

2 years ago #3

Royce, If not the magic of religion than what? Humanity seems to have a yearning that must be filled. It isn't logical. It simply is. And so it goes.

Comment deleted C

2 years ago #2

I personally feel that there are as many belief systems as there are people on Earth. I was born into a ''way of life'' (Hinduism) that is most tolerant - embraces all other faiths, once spread right across Asia, preaches against none, considers no other follower of other faiths a beast, has scoped in divinity that is both with Form and Formless, has numerous deities representing various aspects of the Creation, has scriptures and teachings that are highly scientific, rituals which may seem magical but are again imbued with a super-rational undertone not discernible to all unless they are proficient in Sanskrit and other native tongues, dating back to the most ancient epochs of settlements of Gods, Demigods and evolved humans on the planet, and is quite, really quite a lot more. But everything is threatened now. Mankind has evolved into an intolerant, impatient, loud, noisy, superficial, over-populous, power hungry, self-indulgent and self-destructive race. (Exceptional souls apart). Religion is being used as a weapon by the morally depraved and corrupt everywhere, who want to be in control. We really need to push all these under the carpet and think of improving things; think of the challenges facing humanity and life on Earth and how rapidly we are contributing to those issues uncaring about consequences. That pic! Big Mouth? Could just mean Large Appetite Royce ;)

Ken Boddie

2 years ago #1

Interesting encyclopaedic view of religion, Royce. As one who neither practices nor preaches any of your reported "4,000 faiths", I find your statements informative, although somewhat simplified (from a psychological and sociological perspective) and water off a duck's back (in terms of potential offence). I for one, however, wouldn't be standing in any one or other of the temples, shrines, mosques or churches associated with any of these faiths and attempting to suggest that their believers are participating in a "counterproductive ... waste of time". 😄 I tend to like the way my head currently sits on my shoulders.

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