Friday, July 01, 2011

locating myself in the irreligious taxonomy

I chose to use "irreligiosity" as a broad category for four reasons. First, "areligious" is too easily confused with "religious" and it doesn't seem like a popular coinage. Second, I felt that the "non-" prefix on "nonreligious" sounds too, um, noncommittal. Third, on the other hand, "antireligious" insinuates excessive and active opposition. Fourth, "irreligious" shares the "ir-" prefix with "irreverent", which is appropriate. Irreverence merely indicates that, unlike others, someone doesn't revere something. As I understand it, irreverence of religion is an adequately-drawn yet far-flung border for irreligiosity. For irreverence could take many forms of thoughts or actions.

Nevertheless, after wading through Wikipedia, starting at the Irreligion page, I've learned of finer distinctions communicated by other terminology.
  • I hadn't considered the possibility of honoring or obeying aspects of a religion, integrating it into personal identity, but not believing its ideas. Religion may be a cultural/ethnic institution as opposed to a belief system. Therefore someone who doesn't claim the existence of any gods could deny being "irreligious" because religion retains importance in their lives. In my opinion, "irreligiosity" applies to the status of held conclusions rather than circumstances of birth or upbringing. I would say that irreligious individuals sometimes perform religious acts. For example, I've ceased personal religious behavior, but that won't stop me from participation in societal holidays of religious origin. Meaningless customs can still be enjoyable. I don't feel a need to associate myself with specific religion, but I comprehend that my situation is not universal.
  • I agree to the philosophical stance of naturalism or materialism. This is a stricter judgment than general irreligiosity. I'm dismissive of all supernatural speculation. But this need not be true of everyone who doesn't assent to religious notions. They might reject every religion they've ever heard and opine the positive existence of unknown or loosely-defined gods. Perhaps they're ambiguous on the "god question" and maintain that human spirits can exit bodily confines. Maybe they're fond of trusting that "someone" is always watching or they simply assume that there can't be a universe without a creative Force to jump-start it. Anyway, none of these beliefs in supernaturally-based things are sufficiently convincing to me.
  • Along the same line, I'm not impressed by the idea that the supernatural is unprovable. I understand that the absence of proof isn't a proof of absence. However, in my interpretation of Pragmatic philosophy, absolute proof isn't a realistic or necessary standard. Coming to the point, the dubiousness of supernatural hypotheses doesn't justify a provisional judgment in favor and/or changes to future actions. I can invent a multitude of unverified explanations, but I'm not obligated to incorporate the fictions into the working assumptions that affect my actual existence. Believable theories display Pragmatic truth through implications that are susceptible to human actions like experimentation and calculation and observation. Under these guidelines, supernatural "stuff" that has no effect detectable by human means, not even in theory, is...not..."true" like everything else is "true". Anything supernatural that supposedly has such effects has the possibility of being true. In short, imagined supernatural objects that are completely ignorable could only be "true" in a pitifully weak sense. Since almost all proposed supernatural objects impinge on reality, almost all proposed supernatural objects can be judged as true or false via the usual methods and evaluations. I can't prove that irrelevant gods cannot exist, but I think it's reasonable to pragmatically determine, by induction, that theoretical gods whose alleged traces are missing or indefinite do not exist. By and large, "atheist" seems like a label that closely approximates my perspective.
  • As I keep repeating, I don't wish to annihilate religion. I'm eager for breaking links between religion and political power. Religion shouldn't affect a citizen's status. Government shouldn't endorse or fund religions. Religious and irreligious can exercise their democratic freedoms. Furthermore, religion is beneficial insofar as it provides motivation for living with more considerateness and deliberation. I don't mind attempts at non-coercive conversion (I'll grant that all too many cases veer too close to emotional exploitation and manipulation). These opinions set me apart from "antitheism".
  • At this time, I'm unsure whether "Humanist" is an accurate description of me. I support happiness and freedom and not being egocentric, but surely Humanistic ethics has more substance than what I'm seen so far?

No comments:

Post a Comment