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The importance of ritual in religion


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Anyway, agnihotra is supposed to bring rains not to drought effected area, but, to places that experience delayed rains. That's all. It's a bit like geoengineering. .

 

For context, I am fairly certain that this is untrue... Little more than an "old-wives tale" or local belief, and not something that has any connection to reality. If they are seeding clouds with a specific chemical, then sure... There's a mechanism and good science underlying it. If they're just performing a ritual or some sort of sacrifice, then it's nonsense.

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For context, I am fairly certain that this is untrue... Little more than an "old-wives tale" or local belief, and not something that has any connection to reality. If they are seeding clouds with a specific chemical, then sure... There's a mechanism and good science underlying it. If they're just performing a ritual or some sort of sacrifice, then it's nonsense.

I may not put my thoughts out properly enough. I had read there that the ( clarified ) butter and the other stuff added to the fire might seed the local air, so may be inducing rains.

The problem with these things is that they come with lots of unnecessary spirituality and other mumbo-jumbo.

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I may not put my thoughts out properly enough. I had read there that the ( clarified ) butter and the other stuff added to the fire might seed the local air, so may be inducing rains.

The problem with these things is that they come with lots of unnecessary spirituality and other mumbo-jumbo.

It might, or it might warm the air and reduce the probability of rain.

I'm willing to bet that nobody has done a proper double blind controlled study.

So it's unreasonable to assert (as Immortal did) that " if agnihotra works in bringing rain to regions affected by drought then start taking the existence of these gods seriously because without Agni there cannot be Agnihotra." because it begs the question: it presupposes that the effect is real.

 

It's also a logical fallacy in that he said "because without Agni there cannot be Agnihotra."

This like saying that without Father Christmas, there can be no ritual of leaving cookies out for him (and carrots for Rudolph too).

 

It's clearly simply not true.

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Oh boy. What is there to say to this?

 

How can ritual prove anything about reality? To suggest that religious believers verify their theories by performing rituals is to suggest that they are all completely nuts.

 

And for a person to persistently call people who disagree with them stupid is very revealing.

 

Immortal - you are way off. You say - "The message of all these religions Buddhism, Taoism, Advaita Vedanta(Hinduism), Neoplatonism, Gnostic Christianity etc are one and the same and i.e. Gods are real and these Gods are everywhere in all aspects."

 

This just gives away your failure of scholarship. Anybody here, assuming they know how to do a simple literature review, will find it easy to verify that this is not true. It is not even worth arguing about it.

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Oh boy. What is there to say to this?

 

How can ritual prove anything about reality? To suggest that religious believers verify their theories by performing rituals is to suggest that they are all completely nuts.

 

And for a person to persistently call people who disagree with them stupid is very revealing.

 

Immortal - you are way off. You say - "The message of all these religions Buddhism, Taoism, Advaita Vedanta(Hinduism), Neoplatonism, Gnostic Christianity etc are one and the same and i.e. Gods are real and these Gods are everywhere in all aspects."

 

This just gives away your failure of scholarship. Anybody here, assuming they know how to do a simple literature review, will find it easy to verify that this is not true. It is not even worth arguing about it.

 

 

You are badly misinformed and you fail to acknowledge that fact either due to your arrogance or you are showing double standards. I have politely explained to you that your views on eastern mysticism are wrong and I even gave you evidence from literature and you carelessly ignored it by saying "its not quite my thing" which clearly shows that you and people who hold the same position as yours cherry pick those things from the literature which suits your ideology and ignore those which explicitly shatters your cornerstone beliefs and by replying to this thread in this way you have shown why my accusation in the original post still stands.

 

Yeah fair enough, I have his whole book but it would be really hard to read from that copy, if you can buy it or else if you're really interested in it, I can send you a PM of chapterwise links to it.

 

Thanks but it's okay. I read a bit more and it's not quite my thing. Nothing wrong with it but not quite aimed at me.

 

I suppose I have been keen to say that I am an atheist here because I assumed it needed saying without any ambiguity for any credibility. For many people God is a person who created the universe intentionally, interferes in the laws of nature, lives somewhere 'out there' or 'over there' and must be worshipped blindly as opposed to admired and aspired to. I would not want to be associated with that idea. But there is a more subtle idea of God that makes sense to me. This would be the God of Schroedinger, Schopenhauer and the Upanishads. I have no problem with this God and won't argue with you about His importance. But I will not mention him on a science forum any more than I have to.

 

 

Before you criticize that its a failure of scholarship on my part let me remind you one thing, much of the views which I hold is based on the views of the Sanskrit scholar Devudu Narasimha Shastry who was under the tutelage of S. Radhakrishnan, the works of whom which you often cite without knowing the implications of it. Leave these scholars behind I can show why your views are wrong by simply citing the concept of non-dualism that exists in different traditions.

 

Take Kabbalah for example:

 

Concealed and Revealed_God

 

"The nature of the Divine prompted kabbalists to envision two aspects to God: (a) God in essence, absolutely transcendent, unknowable, limitless Divine simplicity, and (b) God in manifestation, the revealed persona of God through which He creates and sustains and relates to mankind. Kabbalists speak of the first as Ein/Ayn Sof ("the infinite/endless", literally "that which has no limits"). Of the impersonal Ein Sof nothing can be grasped. The second aspect of Divine emanations, however, are accessible to human perception, dynamically interacting throughout spiritual and physical existence, reveal the Divine immanently, and are bound up in the life of man. Kabbalists believe that these two aspects are not contradictory but complement one another, emanations revealing the concealed mystery from within the Godhead.

According to Kabbalistic cosmology, the Ten Sefirot correspond to ten levels of creation. These levels of creation must not be understood as ten different "gods" but as ten different ways of revealing God, one per level. It is not God who changes but the ability to perceive God that changes. "

 

Adavaita Vedanta is not anything different from Kabbalah, here the absolute transcendent, unknowable divinity is known as Brahman and the manifested personal God is known as Ishvara and this personal God is an emanation of Brahman and he is the first-born of all creatures and all other gods form the body of this God and dwell with in him.

 

And this thought is no where well expressed than in the Valentinian tradition and they where looking for something beyond the Father i.e. non-dualism means being one with God and that's what the Gospel of Philip explicitly says,

 

"People cannot see anything in the real realm unless they become it...if you have seen the spirit, you have become the spirit; if you have seen Christ, you have become Christ; if you have seen the Father, you will become the Father" (Gospel of Philip 61:20-32 cf. 67:26-27)

 

This non-dualism or apotheosis was achieved through the means of ritual and this is what Iamblichus who was well versed in the Egyptian mysteries taught, just intellectualizing these things is not enough you need to have practicality and that's what Iamblichus introduced into the Neo-platonic school of thought.

 

"Unlike most religious movements, the Valentinian eschatological myth does not present events that are postponed until the afterlife or the end of the world. They believed that those who had gnosis experienced the restoration to Fullness (pleroma) here and now through visionary experiences and ritual.

They believed that the experience expressed through the myth was real and that through visionary experiences (gnosis) and ritual one could experience the events it described. Thus the "myth" is not merely a teaching story. It is a metaphorical description of the experience of redemption."

- Realized Eschatology(Valentinian Tradition

 

That's how much the importance of silent ritual worship is given in these pagan religions and anyone can practice Theurgy anytime one doesn't need any justification from modern science for it, the polemic ideas of these pagan religions are itself quite compelling enough to investigate them and perform those rituals.

 

One criticism of Gnosticism though is how they dealt with the problem of evil, they made the Demiurgus a lesser god and identified it to the Jewish god and portrayed him as an evil god which was strongly criticized by Plotinus in his Ennaeds,

 

Criticism of gnosticism by antique Greek Philosophy

 

"As a pagan mystic Plotinus considered his opponents heretics[69] and elitist blasphemers,[70] arriving at misotheism as the solution to the problem of evil, being not traditional or genuine Hellenism (in philosophy or mysticism), but rather one invented taking all their truths over from Plato,[71] coupled with the idea expressed by Plotinus that the approach to the infinite force which is the One or Monad cannot be through knowing or not knowing (i.e., dualist, which is of the dyad or demiurge).[72][73] Although there has been dispute as to which Gnostics Plotinus was referring to it appears they were indeed Sethian.[74] Plotinus' main objection to the Gnostics he was familiar with, however, was their rejection of the goodness of the demiurge and the material world. He attacks the Gnostics as vilifying Plato's ontology of the universe as contained in the Timaeus. He accused Gnosticism of vilifying the Demiurge, or craftsman that crafted the material world, and even of thinking that the material world is evil, or a prison. As Plotinus explains, the demiurge is the nous (as the first emanation of the One), the ordering principle or mind, and also reason. Plotinus was also critical of the Gnostic origin of the demiurge as the offspring of wisdom, represented as a deity called Sophia. She was anthropomorphically expressed as a feminine spirit deity not unlike the goddess Athena or the Christian Holy Spirit. Plotinus even went so far as to state at one point that if the Gnostics did believe this world was a prison then they could at any moment free themselves by committing suicide. To some degree the texts discovered in Nag Hammadi support his allegations, but others such as the Valentinians and the Tripartite Tractate insist on the goodness of the world and the Demiurge."

 

Its actually wrong to call the creator of this universe an evil god like the way the Sethians did it or even to make him a lesser ignorant being like the way the valentinians did it, demiurge is actually the first emanation of the One and this was the view of the Neo-platonists and also the view of Advaita and Kabbalah.

 

That's how much ignorant you are when you say that Advaita is atheistic, its the most silly thing I have ever heard. I being a follower of Advaita Vedanta of Shankara myself one of the things which we strive for is to go beyond the Holy Father and plead him that he reveals the non-dualistic truth to us so that he reduces his intense rays which is impending on us.

 

13 One thing, they say, is obtained from the worship of the manifested; another, they say, from the worship of the unmanifested. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this.

14 He who knows that both the unmanifested prakriti and the manifested Hiranyagarbha should be worshipped together, overcomes death by the worship of Hiranyagarbha and obtains immortality through devotion to prakriti.

15 The door of the Truth is covered by a golden disc. Open it, O Nourisher! Remove it so that I who have been worshipping the Truth may behold It.

16 O Nourisher, lone Traveller of the sky! Controller! O Sun, Offspring of Prajapati! Gather Your rays; withdraw Your light. I would see, through Your grace, that form of Yours which is the fairest. I am indeed He, that Purusha, who dwells there.

- Isha Upanishad, works of Shankara.

 

I am not citing from any new age works, this is from the Vedas and the Upanishads, either accept that you were wrong or accept that you are a dogmatic absolutist who don't even know the implications of your own position, no wonder you doesn't want to argue with me, using logic you might prove that the universe is a unity but it is through ritual that you prove that assertion and make it practically happen in reality.

 

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There are various evidence in literature which criticize your position. A good review of the literature will do it.

 

"Richard H. Jones is the author of a dozen books on science and religion and on Eastern mystical traditions. He has an A.B. from Brown University, Ph.D. from Columbia University, and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in New York City. His interests include science and religion, the history of science, philosophy of mysticism, the scientific study of religious experiences, Asian religions (in particular Madhyamaka Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta).

Piercing the Veil: Comparing Science and Mysticism as Ways of Knowing Reality

This book explores an area in the field of "science and religion" that scholars usually neglect -- science and mysticism. It examines the recent efforts of popularizers and scholars who see a convergence of modern science and various Asian schools of mysticism -- in particular, Madhyamaka Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. The works examined include the Dalai Lama's The Universe in a Single Atom: The Conver gence of Science and Spirituality, the essays in B. Alan Wallace's Buddhism and Science: Breaking New Ground, the physicist Victor Mansfield's Tibetan Buddhism & Modern Physics: Toward a Union of Love and Knowledge, and Fritjof Capra's best seller, The Tao of Physics. The entire New Age idea of any "quantum mysticism" is shown to be groundless."

- Richard Jones books.com

 

Quantum physics is not epistemologically compatible with mysticism, in the former we deal with photons, quarks, quantum fields etc where as in the latter we deal with Gods, rituals and eternal Platonic forms. Much of mysticism is not even concerned with the empirical world at all, they are least bothered whether the universe is local or non-local, if there is any similarity between quantum mechanics and mysticism then it is their similar conclusions about the nature of reality of the empirical universe that's all, mysticism stands on its own it doesn't require any justification from modern science, if its anything the experimental results of quantum mechanics provide us additional compelling reasons to perform the rituals of the pagan religions and study their polemic ideas.

 

One more double standards is that you don't reveal what the controversy is to the public instead you are playing around with lives of people which is very decietful and cunning, what are you afraid of? No one put the controversy in the right context other than Max Planck I think,

 

"Still other physicists had different views. Marin argues that Max Planck, an adherent of Christianity, framed the controversy as the objectivity of science and Christianity against the mysticism of Schopenhauer and his popularization of Buddhism and Hinduism."

- Quantum Mysticism gone but not forgotten

 

Its a battle between orthodox Christianity and the pagan religions, a battle between atheists and atheistic scientists vs theists and religious scientists, a realistic philosophy of science vs an idealistic philosophy of science.

 

"According to Marin, the opposition to mystical interpretations of Quantum Mechanics that Einstein and others had stemmed from their adherence to the philosophical school of realism. Yet in the 2007 Nature paper An experimental test of non-local realism, Anton Zeilinger and his colleagues wrote that, "Most working scientists hold fast to the concept of ‘realism’—a viewpoint according to which an external reality exists independent of observation. But quantum physics has shattered some of our cornerstone beliefs. According to Bell’s theorem, any theory that is based on the joint assumption of realism and locality (meaning that local events cannot be affected by actions in space-like separated regions) is at variance with certain quantum predictions. Experiments with entangled pairs of particles have amply confirmed these quantum predictions, thus rendering local realistic theories untenable. Maintaining realism as a fundamental concept would therefore necessitate the introduction of ‘spooky’ actions that defy locality. Here we show by both theory and experiment that a broad and rather reasonable class of such non-local realistic theories is incompatible with experimentally observable quantum correlations. In the experiment, we measure previously untested correlations between two entangled photons, and show that these correlations violate an inequality proposed by Leggett for non-local realistic theories. Our result suggests that giving up the concept of locality is not sufficient to be consistent with quantum experiments, unless certain intuitive features of realism are abandoned."[17] Professors Richard Conn Henry and Stephen R. Palmquist, commenting on that paper, stated: "Now we are beginning to see that quantum mechanics might actually exclude any possibility of mind-independent reality and already does exclude any reality that resembles our usual concept of such (Aspect: 'it implies renouncing the kind of realism I would have liked')." They concluded their commentary by adding that in their view, because of these findings, "a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism."

- Quantum mysticism

 

At the heart of this controversy is the human mind and strong AI which Roger Penrose has argued in his three books The Emperors New Mind, Shadows of the Mind and Road to Reality. This is one of the main reasons why I am on the theists side and not on the side of atheists. One of the main pagan beliefs is the existence of Nous, a metaphysical human mind other than the brain and if this hypothesis turns out to be falsified the entire mystery religions of paganism will be falsified and my intutive reasoning suggests me to put high stakes on the mystery religions of the pagans.

Immortal, seriously ? I can't believe you said that. That sentence makes no sense at all. Just because it is postulated that agnihotra helps bring rains, you say that we have to believe in Agni God ? You have no concept of science whatsoever.

 

This is the religion forum and here we should speak about Theurgy or the Theurgical sciences and not about the exact sciences like physics or chemistry. Do you realize that you are digging your own graveyard by mixing science with religion when you said that the ghee somehow affects the atmosphere? That's the most silly argument I have ever heard, don't try to rationalize eastern mysticism. You are just showing double standards by placing western philosophy on a pedestal while arguing about eastern mysticism without understand it in its own milieu.

 

Significance

 

"Agni, god of fire acts as the divine model for the sacrificial priest. He is the messenger who carries the oblation from humans to the gods, bringing the gods to sacrifice, and interceding between gods and humans (RgV.1.26.3). When Agni is pleased, the gods are generous. Agni represents the cultivated, cooked and cultured aspects of Vedic ritual. Together with Soma, Agni is invoked in the Rig Veda more than any other gods."

The rituals only work because the Brahmin priests invoke the gods and we need to adopt their model of the cosmos while arguing about eastern mysticism.

 

It might, or it might warm the air and reduce the probability of rain.

I'm willing to bet that nobody has done a proper double blind controlled study.

So it's unreasonable to assert (as Immortal did) that " if agnihotra works in bringing rain to regions affected by drought then start taking the existence of these gods seriously because without Agni there cannot be Agnihotra." because it begs the question: it presupposes that the effect is real.

 

It's also a logical fallacy in that he said "because without Agni there cannot be Agnihotra."

This like saying that without Father Christmas, there can be no ritual of leaving cookies out for him (and carrots for Rudolph too).

 

It's clearly simply not true.

 

You yourself have confessed that you have no interests in religion and without understanding how these rituals work you have in prior dismissed it as rubbish, for someone who is not interested in science much of what science says seems nonsense to him but the one who has studied both science and theurgy knows very well how both are done and how intellectual those ideas are.

 

Why not read some thing about theurgy and do a controlled study by invoking the gods and an another trial without invoking the gods and figure out the truth for yourself?

 

THEURGY: RITUALS OF UNIFICATION IN THE NEOPLATONISM OF IAMBLICHUS, GREGORY SHAW

 

Theurgy and the soul, The Neoplatonism of Iamblichus

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You have missed the points.

This

"" if agnihotra works in bringing rain to regions affected by drought then start taking the existence of these gods seriously because without Agni there cannot be Agnihotra.""

is still begging the question and

this

"because without Agni there cannot be Agnihotra."
is still like saying that without Father Christmas, there can be no ritual of leaving cookies out for him (and carrots for Rudolph too).

 

And as for "Why not read some thing about theurgy and do a controlled study by invoking the gods and an another trial without invoking the gods and figure out the truth for yourself?"

Well, the simple answer is that it's not my job.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. You made the claim, so it's your job to supply the evidence.

These are faults of logic, not of theology.

 

 

Start producing some evidence.

Old books are not evidence

People writing about old books are not evidence

A few anecdotes of events in uncontrolled conditions are not not evidence.

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