Sunday, June 15, 2014

The religious conveyor belt

I'm looking over the section of Integral Spirituality on the conveyor belt. A few points of relevance for this IPS thread.

He notes that agnosticism and atheism via formop cognition are legitimate forms of orange spirituality (191). They just need to acknowledge the legitimacy of other levels of spirituality, both above and below it. Hence the need for the conveyor belt. I'd here disagree with the statement that seeing absolute reality in terms of finite matter and energy is a reduction, but that's an argument long rehashed in many other threads.

Amber religion though needs to open up to orange and above religion. So is that saying religion itself must go through an orange agnostic or atheist stage? Or are there other forms of theistic orange religion. I don't see that addressed here. While there are examples of orange and green religion they are apparently not openly discussed by religious hierarchies.

Nonetheless, a key point of the conveyor belt is that everyone goes through each stage starting from scratch and we must honor that everyone has the right to stop at whatever stage they want. Religion thus must allow for the entire spectrum from pre to post. And religion must provide an environment for those that want to go post to support that development.

However, he uses an analogy on 193. Modern medical education does not start with the mythic level in applying leaches or using phrenology in diagnosis, then moving on the antibiotics etc. But this is legitimate for religions? He understands that in other domains certain worldviews and correlative practices are outmoded, i.e, transcended and replaced. But not with religions for some inexplicable reason. (Recall the thread on transitional structures.) For the moment I'd add that some rational and post religious views like Caputo and Keller do not continue to contain pre-rational elements.

Now I can see that religion retains its amber level myths for children as they grow up, since it appropriate for their cognitive level. But should they be able to decided to not grow up any further? Remain as children in their religious beliefs? In any other modern standard that would be arrested development and dysfunction, not ok. Again, religion is given a pass here that in inapplicable to any other domain. I can see where stopping at the general level of the rest of society's domains, like orange to green. But stopping at amber not so much, since this is in fact where we get the sort of ethnocentrism that hinders rather than brings together humanity.

His suggestion that religions provide state training so that whatever level one chooses to stop will have some numinous experience. And interpret it from their ethnocentric level, just adding fuel to their myopic fire providing further justification that they have God on their side and the heathens must be damned to hell at best or killed in jihad at worst. And there is obviously no empirical evidence to the Lingam's claim that having such state experiences accelerates one's stage development, given he provided ample examples elsewhere in the book, even of the Dalai Lama, still having some rather disturbing ethnocentric beliefs.

On 198-9 he does give a list of come representatives of orange and green religious views. He also notes that it is urgent to move religious practitioners from amber to orange, from ethnocentric to worldcentric, which is religion's job. He admits that religion needs to grow up. Agreed. And as I said, it can retain its amber expressions for children. But it also needs to make the kids grow up too, and let go of the amber religions expressions at the appropriate stage, not allow them to remain as children in the religious line because they decide to stop there.

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