Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Religion – Practical, Philosophical or Both?

Here is an interesting comment from an article entitled 'Design Flaws' by Martin Bell in The Philosophers' Magazine (Volume 54, p80 - 3rd Quarter, 2011).

"Popular religions are practical; they're used as guides to living. But philosophical religion has no implications for how we should live."

It is interesting to ponder over this suggestion. It seems reasonable to suggest that the churches that appear to be growing are those which offer clear guidance about how to live. (Even if one might not agree with certain behavioural restrictions many of them seem keen to apply.) Those that are not growing and appear to lack relevance are those more closely associated with thinking and talking about religion rather than living it out. Broadly speaking, 'free churches' belong to the former category and 'established churches' to the latter. The question is, can the latter, given the way they are set up as human institutions, stop looking like places were religion is only a cerebral thing and become places where it is a more active part of life? (I very much doubt that the former would want to become anything like the latter. So the converse question doesn't really apply.)