Looking at historical sites such as Stonehenge allows us the luxury of hindsight and we can become bemused by the strange things that people will do in the name of religion. At the time no doubt it was intensely sacred and serious for those involved, with their limited knowledge compared to today.
Fervent passion followed by inevitable decline is an observable historical pattern for all religions of the world. As scientific knowledge plus experience replaces superstition and traditional belief, and new ways arise to bond communities, the need for religion as we now know it diminishes. (Please note that we are discussing institutional religions and not the existence or otherwise of God.)
When considering the establishment of what could be called a “religion” on a large scale today the movement which sprung to mind during our discussion was “Climate Change”. Similarly, but on a lesser scale, football is often referred to as a religion because it incites great passion and draws fans together into “clans”, many of whom spend lots of time and money in pursuit of the “heavenly” grand-final win.
Our June session also discussed the agenda for the rest of term 2.
Our main topic for July will be pilgrimages with a presentation from Jenny Geer who has walked the Camino trail in Spain and recently walked a pilgrimage trail in Japan. We may also discuss the modern SBNR (Spiritual But Not Religious) phenomenon, as suggested by Joy, if time allows.
In August Linden Hilgendorf will visit us from Chiltern. Linden, a Buddhist practitioner and teacher, will talk to us about Buddhism and answer questions.
Anyone from U3A interested in Buddhism is welcome to attend as we are a small group and I would like to make it worthwhile for Linden. We would appreciate a donation towards Linden’s travel expense.