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The Role of Religion

“The word religion comes from the Latin word religare which means “to bind”, as in, to bind oneself to set of views of beliefs about the world and thereby creating that particular reality through one’s actions, thoughts, words, and deeds.” – Grant Ifflander

Understanding religion can be an important part of weaving and integrating together the spiritual philosophies expounded through Yoga and what we have so far covered. Observing the need for humans to create a “God-concept” helps us orient to the overall idea of spirituality. Allow us to investigate the role of religion and how it emerges out of humanity's innate spiritual quest in the module.

According to psychology and neuroscience religion is a way that humans can organize their prone-to-chaos psyche into a certain level of coherence. This is the case due to the fact that our brains function optimally when we employ higher order beliefs. Higher order beliefs are beliefs that transcend the individual and assist us in behaving in ways that are supportive to our families, our communities, our societies, and the Earth as a whole. These are beliefs that, when believed in, move us away from selfishness and towards a less limited sense of self. Interestingly, this process – the process of transcendence that we are describing – is fundamentally a Tantric process. Therefore, it may be said that the mechanics of spirituality embedded in all (effective) religion is fundamentally Tantric. We put (effective) here in parentheses to suggest that religion can be ineffective. We are not interested in debating the efficacy of the different types of religion and faith, per se, but we are very much interested (being the spiritual scientists that we are as yogis) in understanding what produces a positive result. As yogis, we are interested in the underlying mechanics that ensure good harmony within our organism and between our organisms – as Yoga is the pursuit of unity. Thus efficacy is important!

So, what beliefs serve us? How does religion fit into this?