Developing A Universal Religion

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Since the universe behaves in a reasonably predictable way, life forms able to correctly predict forthcoming events have a survival advantage. Sentient beings, able to plan ahead before acting, behave rationally when they predict a situation and make decisions that, when acted upon, help to achieve the chosen purpose.

As well as rational decisions, human beings also use instinct and emotion, a 'quick and dirty' decision process based on successful habits. According to the meta-science of evolutionary psychology, religion is a survival tool, an attempt to develop those 'feelings' that help us survive - dealing with our neighbours, accepting certain constraints, and holding certain opinions, working together for some purpose such as world peace, international justice, or the glory of God is as much an emotional response to things that we find life-threatening as it is a rational response to 'making the world better'.

We might decide that "supporting life's journey for humanity to become an omnipotent Being (oB)" is a worthy goal, and we could make it our "meta-purpose" to guide moral decision making. However, this is too loose a statement for many practical purposes. While it might convey some emotional desires or feelings, it is not precise enough to guide the moral (and therefore physical) behaviour of an entire civilization

A universal objective must be able to withstand all manner of challenges — legalistic, moralistic, religious, economic, scientific, rational, emotional, and many more. A clearly defined “universal purpose,” could turn wishful conjecture into tangible and beneficial practices. Moreover, if a “universal purpose” were to be derived from the concept of assisting the survival of our species, then a worthy but dry legal document such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can come to life by providing the vision empowering people to constructively criticise the powerful.

In eras past, religions took generations to develop, with emotions playing a large part. Nowadays a sound religion might be rationally grown in a decade or two, via electronic communications. As shown in the title of this book, the emphasis is upon the need to develop a universal religion, and where one might look, not upon actually doing so. Nevertheless, it seems appropriate to outline how such a fantasy might someday become a reality.

Preface To The Book

Part One: Thinking And Moral Problems

Introduction

Thinking

  1. The Brain
  2. The Mind
  3. First- And Second-Level Thinking
    1. First-Level Thinking—Awareness
    2. Second-Level Thinking—Association
  4. Third-Level Thinking And Language
  5. Language And Uniqueness
  6. Thinking And The Universe
  7. Thinking And Intelligence
Summary

Solving Problems

  1. Mathematical Problems
  2. Scientific Problems
  3. Problem Environments
  4. Moral Problems
Summary

Making Decisions

  1. Practical Decisions
  2. Moral Decisions
Summary

Conclusion

Postscripts

  1. Consciousness And Conscience
  2. Purpose And Meaning

Part Two: Religions And Their Source

Introduction

Religions' Origins

  1. Assumptions
  2. Ancient Assumptions
    1. Life After Death
    2. The Existence Of Gods
  3. Beliefs
  4. Leaders
Summary

Revelations And Conversions

  1. Memory Linking
  2. Constructs
  3. Reformations, Conversions And Revelations
    1. Reformations
    2. Conversions
    3. Revelations
  4. The Source Of Revelations
Summary

Present Day Religions

  1. Some Major Religions
    1. Christianity
    2. Islam
    3. Hinduism
    4. Buddhism
    5. Judaism
    6. Atheists And Non-Believers
  2. Common Features
Summary

Conclusion

Postscripts

  1. Rationality In Science And Religion
  2. Creativity, Free Will, And A Revelation

Part Three: Purpose

Introduction

The Universe

  1. What We See In The Sky
  2. The Expanding Universe
  3. What Happened After The Big Bang
  4. The Life Of A Typical Star
  5. The Earth
  6. What Started It All?
Summary

Life

  1. Possible Origins Of Life On Earth
  2. Development Of Life On Earth
  3. Evolution
  4. The Probability That Life Exists Elsewhere
  5. Intelligent Life
Summary

Looking For A Purpose

  1. Can We Adopt The Universe's Purpose?
  2. Can We Use Life's Purpose?
  3. Learning And Purpose
  4. What Purpose Can We Use?
Summary

Life And Exploiting

  1. The Behaviour Of Living Things
  2. Energy And Life
  3. Life's Beginning
  4. Exploiting
  5. Complexity, Intelligence And Evolution
Summary

Conclusion

Postscripts

  1. Gödel’s Theorem, General Systems Theory, and The Conservation Laws
  2. Origin Theory Modifications

Part Four: Development

Introduction

Why Bother?

  1. Why Develop A Universal Purpose?
  2. Why Choose Life's Possible Endpoint?
  3. Why Do Anything?
Summary

Possible Applications

  1. World Problems
  2. Exploitive Excesses
  3. Globalization
  4. Genetics
Summary

Determining Moral Behaviours

  1. The Facts Of Life
  2. Behaviours Rewarded By Life
  3. Behaviours That Enhance Life
  4. Determining Moral Behaviour
    1. Killing
    2. Personal Freedom
    3. Genetic Manipulation
Summary

A Universal Religion

  1. Characteristics Of A Universal Religion
  2. Developing A Universal Religion
Summary

Conclusion

Postscripts

  1. Multi-year Targets