Saturday, October 31, 2015
Resolving the problem of the individual and the group in traditional religion
I agree more or less with those scholars who say Christianity, in the West, invented the individual, and as a consequence developed liberalism. That is, those who mention Paul saying that there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free man, no male or female, and we are all the same in Christ Jesus. ( Modern Age, 2015, “The Individual and the Liberal State”)
The ancient world was grounded in group-selection, the city, the ethnostate, and they understood inequality in the order of nature. This accords with the renewed view of group-selection as the central unit of natural selection in human nature, as described by sociobiology
Pagans, of course, appreciated the individual, but it was the individual Greek or Norse warrior heroically sacrificing himself for his group which was especially celebrated.
I believe that the Twofold Path in theological materialism can resolve this dilemma, while upholding both traditional religion and the secular Enlightenment. It is in the Inward Path where the individual ascetic seeks the individual experience of the God or Father Within, and it is in the Outward Path where we evolve in the material world to real supermaterial Godhood, first symbolized in the Inward Path.
Real human nature, with kin and group-selection, and even xenophobia, can re-enter the religious world. The preferred political form of ethnopluralism with federalism can protect our human differences. Individual selection follows and is secondary to group-selection, which was the original creator of altruism, or caring about others in ones group. The radical rejection of each others social philosophy by religion and secularism need not take place. Deep conservatism can continue.