But metaphors and narratives can be described. They can be described as meaningless, for example. Or false. Science and religion are opposed to each other because religion offers narratives that say that stem cell research is wrong, for example. Science offers a different narrative. Philosophy uses the scientific narrative to criticize the religious narrative.
Well, I can philosophically do without religious narratives, but if one can enjoy them strictly as poetry, they do indeed have meaning, at least for me. I do indeed understand the frustration with religion that invades the pragmatic territory of science. Of course religion can be justified as "subjectively" pragmatic if it helps a person find their way in life. And it must be admitted that questions of value are primary. Still, I personally don't think abstract religion is satisfying. True or truer religion would seem to be a matter of the heart, and not just the mind.
Personally, I think a person can enjoy both, but perhaps only if they allow each their proper sphere, and this seems difficult if religion insists on itself as history or cosmology. Still, science is a method with blindspots. It depends, I think, on consensus and the senses. Internal experience is difficult or impossible to quantity or share sometimes. Of course if a person interprets these claims in a way that re-describes the social reality, certain other humans are naturally going to demand proof/persuasion, and not just assertions. That said, there is much that science can not tell us, and sophisticate speculations by those civilized enough to express their opinions without imposing on the freedom of others seems perfectly respectable. For me it's a case by case basis. Personally, my view would currently be considered radically skeptical in regards to concepts.
Religions tend to offer abstractions that please us subjectively, and science tends to offer us more objectively useful abstractions. In either case, it's easy for humans to take these abstractions as the whole story although sensation and emotion are every bit as real.
---------- Post added 06-06-2010 at 12:57 AM ----------
Spirituality has different connotations to different people. It is not just some neurological or bio-chemical activity. Thats what drugs do. It is gross experience. The activity of consciousness has to be experienced to be realised. This is only possible, imho, by being in meditation. This kind of experience (within the mind) is not a religious experience.
Religion is all external aspects of human life. At the core of all religious experience's lies an ubiquitous sense of awe and wonderment. This need not be intellectual, although this sense can also be reasoned out.
The problems lies in intellectualism and reasonings. We tend to forget that religion and science, both are attempts by humans to know the truth. One uses faith and spirituality, the other uses materials and reasons. One uses tradition and reverence, other relies more on senses and data.
One deals with moral codes, and regulate human behaviour, while the other is concerned only with the natural laws.
I agree w/ everything you say, except that I don't consider your bias against drugs 100% justified. Personally, I think a person should be able to get there w/o drugs, but we all like coffee. Or most of us.
Yes, it's over-intellectualized. The great thing about philosophy, which is intellectual, is that is questions this very intellectualism. And Wittgenstein did a great job of showing the danger of mistaking propositions for life. That's my interpretation. No, it's not
bio-chemical as experienced,
and "bio-chemical" is an abstraction
, an intellectualization
. But this abstraction is useful to natural science and physiology, so I don't object to it. In my mind, the important thing is to remember that life is experience first-person, and that emotion and sensation are irreducible. No concept of any kind changes that. Period. Concept or Form is just another intelligible layer of experience that is laid against sensation and emotion like a measure.
If meditation has worked for you, I am glad to hear. The fact that you speak against religion being over-intellectual is something I relate to. Still, one should remember that different drugs have different effects on different people. The world is wide. Lives have radically different shapes. I don't like junkies or addicts, and I have known some. This doesn't negate the value that drugs have had for humanity. A trip to the dentist should make us all grateful. Why should there not be a biochemical element to the effects of meditation? Ken Wilbur hooked a machine up to his brain while meditating, to show how he could change the waves. I have learned something from his books, but hardly idolize the man. Still, he sought to fuse East and West, philosophy science and religion. He didn't need a bad guy. He took what he thought was best in all of these, and did his thing. I wish you well.
---------- Post added 06-06-2010 at 12:59 AM ----------
A human life confined to pure objectivity and pure reason is really not a life to be admired or emulated. We are both emotive (subjective and passionate) and rational (objective) creatures and any metaphysical world view which does not take both into account is inadequate, not applicable and is inherently incomplete.
I absolutely agree. We don't have to sacrifice one to the other. A life without passion is a sad and empty life, in my opinion. Value does not fit into propositions. As far as friends go, I would choose those with "wisdom of the heart" over those with objective know-how, but I would let the know-how guys design the automobiles and airplanes.
---------- Post added 06-06-2010 at 01:02 AM ----------
Indeed. There is a view that all the religious philosophies are finally concerned with liberation, that 'the kingdom of heaven', and that the various other terms such as moksha, nirvana, enlightenment, salvation, deliverance, are all ciphers for the same state of being. This is the 'perennialist' view, as described in Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy. It has also been of interest to scientists - for example William James' Varieties of Religious Experience addressed this kind of idea (although his approach has regrettably been abandoned in favour of Darwinian rationalism).
I like this view, because it includes potentially all humans, and is not ethnocentric, and does not depend on exclusion. If no one has watched that video posted by Attano on my profile, I highly recommend it. This stroke victim is a scientist. She describes an intense experience in terms of right and left brain hemispheres.