Homo Deus: Religion

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Homo Deus: Religion

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1lorannen
aug 21, 2017, 9:00am

In this book, the author uses "religion" to mean a foundational system of beliefs—not necessarily in a spiritual or godlike being or experience, and contends that humans have supplanted God with science, with humanism, and other ideals, that these have become our new religions. Do you agree?

2PuddinTame
aug 21, 2017, 2:00pm

No, I don't like that blurring of the concept of religion. It begins to make it another word that people have to define every time they want to use it, like forgiveness. People use forgiveness to mean everything from simply ceasing to be angry about an offense, to being require to reconcile with the offender and offer them compassion and gestures of good will (if they are still alive.)

3Brigunath
aug 22, 2017, 2:40pm

The author's treatment of "religion" is rather like that of Richard Dawkins, who tends to choose a Bible-belt fundamentalist rather than an open-minded spiritual aspirant.
Although science has certainly made some advances in the past century or so, not all of it has been progress. Several mainstream theories, such as the Big Bang, Darwin's natural selection, have been disproven to my satisfaction, whilst significant advances in knowledge involving consciousness, morphogenetic fields and the paranormal have been sidelined by the Academy, despite being taken on board by the military and Intelligence agencies.

4ChristyDrewry
Redigeret: aug 24, 2017, 6:44am

There are other words that convey a "system of beliefs" without the connotations of religion, organized or otherwise. The "ism" suffix - communism, racism, humanism, for one. Also, we could subscribe to a political doctrine, or hold the values of scientists, or believe in karma, or adhere to a certain economic theory. Let's not throw everything into "religion."

5KatHoagland
aug 24, 2017, 11:52am

I personally agree with it. The way he defines religion, if I understand it correctly, is a belief in something that is outside of our manipulation. The belief in a capital 'T' Truth. Humanists believe that the individual is sacred and that there is an 'authentic self' that must be respected and not constrained. They don't believe this is the case because they believe it to be so, it is a universal Truth and cannot be changed by man. Like in his football scenario, there are rules but these rules can be changed because they are man made. The fact that we are all sacred individuals isn't manmade, Humanists believe it is an inherent fact. I personally really like this interpretation. Religion isn't just theist in my opinion. It is whenever someone believes in something that is out a human's control. Just like our ancestors worshiped the sun and the Earth. These things were outside of our realm of control so we worshipped them. Once we gained knowledge of the solar system and agriculture these things were demystified. The point that he is making is that once we have enough knowledge about humanity and why we do the things we do, Humanism will also fall by the way side. When we can biochemicaly INDUCE feelings of euphoria, enlightenment and bliss...when we discover that all human life might be able to be reduced to a complex algorithim Humanists will have to answer the question, what makes singular Me so special? I don't think Humanism is that far from mainstream religions. In most religions empathy, compassion and respect for fellow human beings is stressed. It's the same belief without the G-O-D component. For Humanists it's an inherent Truth not a tenant set by a divine being.

6modalursine
sep 19, 2017, 7:37pm


I think Harari's point is that having invented language, we gained the ability to speak about not only all those things that are there. but also about things that should be there, that we imagine are there, or that we would like to be there. I particularly like his treatment of things that are there because, and only because, we all agree that they are there. Your paper money is "good" because you believe that everybody else also believes that the little pieces of paper can be exchanged for the things you want or need. Even gold is valuable only because other people think the same thing, The states, governments, corporations and so on are in one sense fictive entities, but in another sense, "real" because everybody agrees they are real. If suddenly everyone decided to ignore the King, he wouldn't be King anymore.

To the extent that religion or religious ideas stem from the imagination, as opposed to empirical verification, some aspects of religion fall under that category of "things which either don't exist at all, or exist only because everybody else thinks they exist"