Saturday, 12 August 2006

All in the mind

I am a traditional believer. I happily assent to the credal statements of the Christian Church. Though that statement is not without qualification...another story.....
Recent discussions and reading raise the question about whether religious experience is, to put it in a shorthand way, all in the mind. This is more than Freud's (to my mind) crude analysis that religion is a kind of universal neurosis, or Marx's analysis that it is the opium of the people. (It would be presumptuous of me to pretend that I understand the subtleties of what these significant thinkers were talking about...they are perhaps more referred to out of prejudice than out of knowledge. ) Any way, the question emerged from reading about what sorts of people eneter into the caring professions.
This is less straight forward than saying "people who care". There are clearly many people in caring professions who don't care, and equally well people in non-caring professions who are profound examples of people who genuinely care.
The question is more do people who enter caring professions (priests and ministers included) have a need within themselves that is satisfied by the task of caring for people. I think there is something in this.
It is not necessarily a negative thing, but something which needs to eb acknowledged.
Likewise, by extension, we might ask whether the religious have something within them that draws them to religion. That is, they need to be religious.
And is this a bad thing, or just a reality that needs to be acknowledged. It raises for the question for the evangelist that if we believe the Gospel truth has a certain objectivity about it....How do you communicate to those who do not have a religious need?
This question is not new but is certainbly an important one in our world.

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