Ideas from a Manger

Religion is a spiritual concept that has over 200 years been turned into a product.The opulence of the papal church in Rome is a far cry from the original non materialistic doctrine Christ brought to the world.  Christmas present giving has become an economic force that almost single handedly sustains the malls of America. The nativity scene in the malls are an iconic narrative of how humans relate to the universe and one another.

How did religion begin and how did it become so commercialized?

Emile Durkheim, who founded Sociology as a distinct discipline in 1895, said that sociology must respect and apply a recognized, objective, scientific method. This method he stated must at all cost avoid prejudice and subjective judgment. Durkheim argued that religious rituals are designed so that society can separate the sacred and the profane. Religion, he argued, is not only a social creation, but it is in fact society divinized. The wine given at communion is not in and of itself sacred.  A religion or cult gives the wine a sacred aura.

Durkheim states “Religion in its essence is a transcendental representation of the powers of society.We must discover the rational substitutes for these religious notions that for a long time have served as the vehicle for the most essential moral ideas. Society is the father of us all; therefore, it is to society we owe that profound debt of gratitude heretofore paid to the gods.”

Durkheim makes a religion out of sociology. He says that original sin occurred back in the cave days when there was dominant male who was not sharing the women in the tribe. The other males rose up to kill him. After they killed him they felt guilty so they performed the first burial of any human being. They then erected a grave marker which like the Christian manger scene became a symbol of religion.

Fast forward to 2014- A fusion of secularism and religion

Both religion and secularism have big holes in their worldview. Ross Douthat, author and NYT columnist, sees a fusion of secularism and religion coming down the road.

“The spiritual picture lacks the biblical picture’s resources and rigor, but it makes up for them in flexibility. The secular picture, meanwhile, seems to have the rigor of the scientific method behind it. But it actually suffers from a deeper intellectual incoherence than either of its rivals, because its cosmology does not harmonize at all with its moral picture.”

Will the 21st century form a new utopian message? Enjoy these links as I feel together they provide context for each other.

http://www.cf.ac.uk/socsi/undergraduate/introsoc/durkheim6.html

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/12/22/opinion/sunday/douthat-ideas-from-a-manger.html

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