Universal Life Church Seminary
Master of Religious Philosophy
Lesson 4 ~ Organized Religions
Rev. Fr. A. R. M. Manley
Q. 1): If those zoo keepers are right in thinking that gorillas "get something" out of a wake when one dies, what does that say about religion? Does it diminish faith and make it "just biological" if we were to discover that the great apes do it also? What do you think: are these gorillas expressing some type of proto-faith, or are the zoo keepers 'anthropomorphizing' (assigning human attributes to animal behavior) the gorilla behavior?
A. 1): This statement refers to the great apes as being "some what human". In reality they are not, they are however, animals that have some human traits. The old adage "monkey see, monkey do" comes to mind when I precive the notion that apes are religious by some fluk of nature or natural aspect. It is inconcivable that this concept or trait can be construed as a form of religious intent. I know and have seen animals from many forms of life take notice to one of their own that has passed on or better yet sat by and grieved the loss of life from their companion. This trait does not in my opinion give or even should be given in respect to the idea of religious interruption. Yet it is an understandable trait of compassion that is noticed when we have the ability to witness the act of grievous intent. As for the questions references to "proto-faith or anthropomorphizing" is absurd for the reason I have mentioned. The act of grievance is an outward expression of compassion.
Q.2): If Karl Marx was correct, and religion is only useful in maintaining the political and economic status quo, does it really matter whether that religion believes in Heaven and Hell or whether it accepts reincarnation? How could religion work as this "opium of the people" in each type of society?
A.2): Faith is the aspect of believing in what is not tangible, but excepting it on the merit of the level of enlightenment by the Devine powers that reveals its truths to the individual believer. The existence of "Heaven and Hell" by faith must exist in order for the believer to be truly faithful and or fearful in the spirituality of the unknown. By keeping the aspect of morality and conciseness in the forefront of the mind and heart of one's particular belief we can presume that they do exist because of the many studies and translations by prophetic individuals of past cultures that now influence our understanding of reality and spirituality. If it is to be classified as the "opium of the people" then I say we as a world society need more of it.
Q.3): Finally, what if Sir Frazer and Sir Tylor were correct (being American, it does sound strange to refer to people as "Sir" and mean knighthood)? They considered religion to be the end result of enough people accepting the "answers" offered by some savage philosopher – someone who had thought about the 'great questions of life' and had come to some conclusions. Can you think of anyone from the 20th century who might be thought of in this way? You don't need to agree with them; but, they would need to be someone who had pondered these questions, come to conclusions, and then had others follow their teachings – eventually organizing into a structured religion. Anyone come to mind? If not, how about the 19th century (1800s)?
A.3): One that comes to mind would be Joseph Smith and Brigham Young the founder of the Mormon Church also known as the Church of Latter Day Saints and also the cult factions of Jim Jones leader of the Peoples Temple movement and also there is the incident at WACO, Texas with the followers of the Branch Davidians of David Koresh. Even though these are not all cults they have had a profound impact on individuals and communities. Some would even say that Charles Manson is a prophetic man that has his own following.
Reverend Father Andrew R. M. Manley
The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more.
Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free, and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.We also offer many free wedding ceremonies for your use.
The ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.
Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar