Monday, August 27, 2012

Does religion require commitment to the supernatural?

Apparently not. 

These are the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism:   


unkleE said...

Surely it depends on one's definition of religion? And I imagine some people's definition would include the supernatural, some wouldn't.

B. Prokop said...

Also depends on whether you include the soul, or whatever it is that survives your death to be reborn, as supernatural.

rank sophist said...

Traditional Buddhists are committed to the supernatural. They just don't have a deity. Taoism offers a similar example: its main developers argued against identifying the Tao as being in any way personal, but they still gave it supernatural status.

Victor Reppert said...

I wonder if they draw the natural-supernatural distinction, or do we draw it for them.

Crude said...

For mormons, all things are material, so under quite a lot of supernatural definitions they're entirely naturalistic.

On the flipside, simulationists among the transhumanists and singularitarians strike me as pretty obvious theists/polytheists.

"Supernatural" is a bluff word. Hell, the same goes for "natural" and nowadays "material/physical".

I was checking out Massimo Pigliuicci's blog recently, watching him describe a new type of naturalism. One that not only rejects reductive materialism, but apparently denies that any material "things" actually exist - only relations do. Sounds as supernatural as anything could be.

It gets especially tricky if anyone buys Dan Dennett's move that communism under Stalin was a religion or proto-religion - in which case the Cult of Gnu starts to look an awful lot like a religion, with Carrier as a wannabe bishop.

Jeremy said...

Needn't be 'supernatural', but for those claims to be true, other things must be true. They all depend, if not on a view about 'God', about a view about the ultimate nature of reality; namely, that is is impersonal. Attachment is only suffering because attachment depends on a type of selfishness, which itself depends on a notion of self which is ultimately illusory. That is, if not a religious claim, at least a metaphysical one, and one that I find ultimately very dissatisfying when compared with the opposite answer that Christianity gives.