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Featured Religion without words?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Wild Fox, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Religion without words - How do we identify religion without a textual representation or language? Considering religion as behavior and experienced not read about might give a different insight into what is religion.
    If you were to observe a group of people in which you could not communicate with nor understood their language, how would you determine if they have a religion. What can we learn about religion without language and is language absolutely necessary to understand religion? Given that religion is felt and experienced beyond the written word, what can we learn experiences and behaviors without the attached linguistic context.

    So. if you were to go on an expedition and come across a group/tribe of people with an unknown language who had no written words, what could you observe in their behavior individually and or collectively that would identify they have a religion and the behaviors that could be associated with their religion?
     
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  2. MikeDwight

    MikeDwight Well-Known Member

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    well hey I've been all over this internet, yet not one person's going to do this standard schoolhouse protestant reformation. Some Kings and Queens, the statues fall over, the 95 Theses, martin luther, maybe those 2 are textual, Spanish armada, you got protestant reformation.
     
  3. leov

    leov Well-Known Member

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    Watch if they meditate, or meditate yourself and watch their reaction.
     
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  4. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    It might involve music. I like this quote: "God gave us music...that we might pray without words."
     
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  5. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Might we try your thought experiment by Imagining that we had to create a description of religion using only photographs or drawings? I don't think we'd do very well.
     
  6. Howard Is

    Howard Is Lucky Mud

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    Silent sharing of tears
     
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  7. RoaringSilence

    RoaringSilence Active Member

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    there are many documentaries on amazon tribes on youtube, maybe those would be relevant .
     
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  8. Amanaki

    Amanaki Veteran Member

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    I think if we look at the body language, their eyes. the way they act toward each other or toward strangers would tell a lot.
    But also how they sit, they do sit in silence, with closes or open eyes. Do they hold their hands in a certain way? does it look like they recite words when they sit? Do they sit on their knees and do kowtowing?

    Only by looking at their body language we could get a clue toward if they do practise spirituality or not
     
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  9. Moz

    Moz Religion. A pox on all their Houses.

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    Hi. Cool question.
    Many angles to come at this from..... Yes i think language, at least story, is necessary for religion as we understand it to exist.
    Ritual would also be an indication i suppose, although politics or ruling hierarchies always have a manipulative influence on religious development. It is a lever of control after all. (Although small traditional tribes tend to negate this through familial connection)

    The phychedelics available in the region might also give an indication.

    I think your religion is behaviour line is very apt, especially for politically unsophisticated societies. Without sophistry it is hard to be a hypocrite. We are what we live and lie about our behaviour with elaborate self justification in the world of words.

    The comment that suggested the Amazon documentaries was a good one.... but their has been cultural contamination for 5 centuries so though isolated some knowledge of the outside world has surely seeped through the whole continent to some extent.

    Anyway, thanks for the question i've enjoyed the think.
    Peace
     
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  10. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Religions are collections of ideals, rituals, and life practices intended to help the participants live according to an accepted theological proposition. So, identifying the presence of those would be the key to identifying the presence of religion. But understanding their connection to a specific theological proposition would be quite difficult.

    Spirituality, on the other hand, could be identified quite easily through the empathy of the observer, as some of the comments are suggesting.
     
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  11. Moz

    Moz Religion. A pox on all their Houses.

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    Hi. Not meaning to disparage anything you said, which was pretty spot on , i would just suggest that cosmological be inserted for theological, at least at the stage of development indicted by the proposition. I think the cosmological, theory of how the world works, precedes the theological. It seems that most non-revelatory belief systems begin from answering the "choas" question through nature spirits and progress, sometimes, into a theology.

    I would say that the Australian aboriginal belief system, for example, could be described as more cosmological than theological if you get my drift.
    (Possibly i'm just being a pedant but precise terminology clarifies things for me.)
    Peace.
     
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  12. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I think that in the case of we humans, the further back in the process of our "development" we go, the more conflated these memes become. At some point religion and medicine combine, art and spirituality combine, philosophy becomes perceived reality (no longer an ideology based on perceived reality), and so on. And of course how it works, why it is, and what's it for all become a singular mystery.
     
  13. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    So seeing someone quiet maybe in an isolated location who is not in a position/stance that would not resemble just rest could be something that could be observed. This could represent some form of behavior of reverence. This seems reasonable.
     
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  14. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    This is a good possibility. Vocalizations or other forms of making sound that do not appear as a direct communication such as being alone or not directed to an individual. Thus rhythmic sounds which could be interpreted as music could be related to a religious belief. Dance seems to fit this type of pattern also.
     
  15. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    If not associated with a pain stimulus (or argument with someone they like) then this is clearly an emotional event. Emotions and our sensory experience are utilized in religious experiences. This could also be an empathetic expression and empathy seems closely connected with religious experiences.
     
  16. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Yes, it makes sense to me to add dance.
     
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  17. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Ritual like activity - repeated patterns of behavior which have no direct connection with behaviors for survival are observable and connected with religious experiences. These do not have to be associated with theological beliefs. Ritual like behavior may be one of the earliest behavior patterns that might be connected clearly to religious behavior.
     
  18. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    I wish I knew more about Australian aboriginal belief but it is a fascinating cosmology and the variations between groups does give some insight to variations in religion outside of an organized system.
     
  19. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Spinoza and Einstein thought that studying the cosmos and all in it was more enlightening, thus more "religious", than theology. Matter of fact, Spinoza's alternative name for God was "Nature", as he believed that they were so intertwined that we shouldn't even try to separate them.
     
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  20. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    I think language is essential, although language means more than just words -- either spoken or written. Religion is the way in which we define, encapsulate or organize our spiritual experiences, which are internal. In order to do that, some sort of language is necessary.

    While spiritual experience may be deeper than that for which we have language, when we organize those experiences in front of us, we need some language, whether it be written, spoken, sung, or acted out. Because our spiritual experience needs to be grounded in something we can make sense of and communicate.
     
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