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Author Topic: Living religions - what qualifies?  (Read 3217 times)
BGMarc
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« Topic Start: January 12, 2010, 11:04:11 pm »

Something my mind keeps turning over just recently (thanks to something said in another thread:)) that I'd like broader input on.

We say that a religion is a living religion if it has current adherants (I'm not sure if there are any other criteria, chime in if you think so). What about religions that had adherants then didn't have any (or at least none tht we can prove were), but now do? Are they also living religions? Your reasoning behind why/why not would be interesting too Smiley
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Ellen M.
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« Reply #1: January 12, 2010, 11:10:07 pm »

We say that a religion is a living religion if it has current adherants (I'm not sure if there are any other criteria, chime in if you think so). What about religions that had adherants then didn't have any (or at least none tht we can prove were), but now do? Are they also living religions? Your reasoning behind why/why not would be interesting too Smiley

Undead religions, obviously. The real argument comes from whether these are zombie or vampire religions. Alas, the two factions will never see past their surface differences...

I would find it difficult to believe that a religion, once died out (and probably for centuries, if not longer) could ever be resurrected as the exact same thing. Even if one miraculously has the original texts and the ability to read them, extant architecture, and a thorough understanding of the culture... it's still not the same era. History has happened. Wars fought, people died, and the world moved on. The current incarnation of that religion may certainly be inspired by the original, but it can never, 100%, match up with it. And that's fine, imho. This new religion, inspired by the old, can be just as vibrant and meaningful, just in different ways.
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« Reply #2: January 12, 2010, 11:25:09 pm »

I would find it difficult to believe that a religion, once died out (and probably for centuries, if not longer) could ever be resurrected as the exact same thing.

I'd have to agree with you on that one Cheesy

I can't help wondering if they were ever the exact same thing from year to year before they died...
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Ellen M.
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« Reply #3: January 12, 2010, 11:27:19 pm »

I'd have to agree with you on that one Cheesy

I can't help wondering if they were ever the exact same thing from year to year before they died...

Probably not, but then, are individuals? I'm a lot different than how I was last week, last year, or last decade. I've changed, been through a million different labels, and all my cells have replaced themselves a couple times. I think, act, speak, and live differently than I've ever done in my life. And yet, I've always been me throughout my lifetime. Instead of facts, I think individuals and religions have trends, that are mostly true, most of the time, unless they're not. Wink
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« Reply #4: January 13, 2010, 05:14:27 am »

We say that a religion is a living religion if it has current adherants (I'm not sure if there are any other criteria, chime in if you think so). What about religions that had adherants then didn't have any (or at least none tht we can prove were), but now do? Are they also living religions? Your reasoning behind why/why not would be interesting too Smiley

I'm pretty much with Ellen here.  I know there are some recons who try to rebuild their religion exactly as it was in whatever-year-BC, but realistically I don't think that's possible.  Especially not when you're not living in the same area of the world as the original, but even if you are things are vastly different now than they were then.  I'd still call them living religions under the definition you give; they're just different living religions than the originals were.
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« Reply #5: January 13, 2010, 03:30:58 pm »

I'm pretty much with Ellen here.  I know there are some recons who try to rebuild their religion exactly as it was in whatever-year-BC, but realistically I don't think that's possible.  Especially not when you're not living in the same area of the world as the original, but even if you are things are vastly different now than they were then.  I'd still call them living religions under the definition you give; they're just different living religions than the originals were.

*nods*  Yeah, I'm with you and Ellen.  The religions of the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Celtic and Germanic tribes, etc., are dead, dead, dead.  Modern revivals -- even the most hardcore Reconstructions -- are *fundamentally* different, because they are coming from a vastly different cultural context.  Modern Reconstructions have a different history, different development, different practices than did those ancient religions.  The ancient religions targeted for reconstruction were community-wide affairs, while modern Reconstructions are solitary or small-group based.  Recons, for the most part, are operating in the context of modern democratic societies, with modern constructs of human rights.  They are dealing with the shadow of centuries of Christianity, and of being tiny minority religions in their own cultures.  Modern Reconstructions owe as much, philosophically, to the 18th-19th c. Romantics as they do to the ancient culture they're inspired by.  And so forth. 

The very term "reconstruction" implies this -- it's not a continuation, but a rebuilding of something destroyed, a revival of something dead.   
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« Reply #6: January 13, 2010, 04:16:43 pm »

The very term "reconstruction" implies this -- it's not a continuation, but a rebuilding of something destroyed, a revival of something dead.   

I can't recall who or where, but I remember seeing someone say that reconstructionism was less like trying to recreate a destroyed building exactly as it had been, and more like using the foundations of the old building to construct a new building.  I like that analogy.
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« Reply #7: January 14, 2010, 10:53:05 am »

I can't recall who or where, but I remember seeing someone say that reconstructionism was less like trying to recreate a destroyed building exactly as it had been, and more like using the foundations of the old building to construct a new building.  I like that analogy.

I think you're referring to this post by Lykaios in the "Reconstructionst vs Reformed Reconstructionist" thread.
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« Reply #8: January 14, 2010, 10:54:15 am »

I think you're referring to this post by Lykaios in the "Reconstructionst vs Reformed Reconstructionist" thread.

Actually, I don't think that's specifically what I was thinking of, but it's close enough.  Smiley  Thanks!
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« Reply #9: January 14, 2010, 01:12:23 pm »


This is exactly what I think about the recon thing.
But you word it so much better.  Cheesy

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