Fruits: How to judge a religion

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This was a session at Sol 2012.

Brandon: Pseudo-religion has been described as "something that produces no fruits other than adherence to itself" - so what fruits does religion produce?

  • Eric: community (same as adherence?), comfort, meaning and purpose
  • Brandon: individual virtue/moral guidance: generosity, loyalty, service, groundedness, empathy/compassion, listening
  • Eric: a lot of those specifics are choices a religion can make ... it doesn't have to include them all
    • Ben: that's okay, we may not be looking for a definition that fits all religions
  • Lion: Brandon says he's religious but not spiritual ... I agree: I'm religious about life
    • The reverse statement implies to me a bubble isolating a person inside his/her own spiritual beliefs from others
    • By contrast, I believe what we're doing in the world is serious and important and connected across people ... that's what I want "religious" to mean
  • Hank: Does that relate to a church behavior?
    • Lion: All Along the Watchtower ... we're doing something important ... that means organizing for a common mission, which is church-like
    • Hank: That has made successful commun[iti]es in the past
      • Twin Oaks (Skinnerian behaviorism)
      • Oneida (perfectionism?)
      • Aurora colony, south of Portland (don't know their philosophy) ... they do spinning and weaving crafts as it was done 100 years ago
      • Rajnishis ... took over a county in Eastern Oregon
  • Brandon and Lion: Doing something that matters, that's as essential as your very being
  • Eric: People start to believe that their religion has universal value, so they want everyone else to do the same thing
    • How to resolve the conflict with our belief in religious freedom?
    • Gradient between individual spirituality and universal(izing) religion ... good religions should find a middle ground
  • Hank: How are these fruits realized?
    • Religion becomes a controlling mechanism that culture produces to create these benefits
    • Could a group of "spiritual bubbleheads" function together as a religion?
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