Having had a good nights sleep, I find myself turning back to this discussion, particularly because I felt confused by the direction it was going in.
I feel like my perspective has not been well expressed- I am being misunderstood. That often spurs me to want to work harder on being more concise.
The subject is one that interests me, my first paper in a philosophy class when I was 16 was on the subject of religion and spirituality, I chose to
focus on the possible benefits, in particular for those of a group who are in a state of vulnerability.
My point of view is apparently not common, and most often provocative precisely by people who had religious background, and have “a bone to
pick” with it. I was not allowed to go to any church or be exposed to any religion as a child, so perhaps that is why I became fascinated with it
(being drawn to the forbidden).
My opinion comes much from observing, as an outsider, others experiences with organized religion, mixed with my experiences having a more
(for if I understood correctly, the OP refers to all the forms of spirituality and belief).
-Breaking down analytically, the first paragraph of the OP describes the benefits of hardships and challenges in life, which I agree with.
-The second asserts “The path of least resistance is the current flow of common spirituality". » Through escapism.
(which gets in the way of fully experiencing future challenges in life)
This is what I responded to in particular- prolonged cortisol secretion in response to traumatic events causes some pretty serious damage to the
body. The list is long, of negative effects, (worth googling)… but in reference to the fore mentioned principle we have agreed upon (the benefits of
overcoming challenges in life and those memories as part of forming our self awareness). While a bit of stress can enhance your memory…
However, long-term exposure to cortisol damages cells in the hippocampus; this damage results in impaired learning. Furthermore, it has been shown
that cortisol inhibits memory retrieval of already stored information
Here we find that at a certain point, the first assertion ceases to be applicable. In fact the ability to face future challenges and hardships in an
intelligent way, applying memory and knowledge, and analysis, becomes impaired. You can become dependent upon your automatic survival based reflexes.
You may have climbed mountains, but you didn’t learn anything from them, did not stay highly aware as you did so, and don’t remember them.
Any sort of tool which can help the body cope through extreme stress conditions, like meditation, prayer, visualization, that can have effects upon
the hormonal secretions, and things like heartbeat, blood pressure, etc. Can diminue the damage to the body and mind, for future use.
Furthermore, from the most passionate of religion opposers, usually with a past of having to escape its clutches, I often question why they can
perceive the benefits of facing difficulty, opposition, challenge, and yet not appreciate the challenge they faced in religion as one of those great
beneficial experiences ???
To me, as an observer, I see it like this- some people have to take Oxycontin, or morphine, after a serious injury or operation. It is addictive, and
getting off it can be challenging. It entails a very strong will, and as in all challenges of that sort, the exertion of will power serves to make one
conscious of that power they have.
Religion and spirituality could be seen the same way. Necessary at one point, difficult to get off of, but worth it in the end, like all challenges.
Perhaps it is just the phenomenon of grass being greener on the other side ; imagining that the pain would have been beneficial if one had never taken
the Oxy at all, and deciding that others should go without.
There are other reasons I think spirituality and religion can benefit humans, like in cultural bonding of groups, but I will try to stick with the
aspect I have already approached and not been able to express clearly yet.
edit on 6-7-2014 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)