The Shortcomings of Religion and the Coming Revolution, with Roberto Unger

The Shortcomings of Religion and the Coming Revolution, with Roberto Unger


For over 200 years the world has been set
on fire by a revolutionary message. The message is that every individual human being is divine.
That all of us despite the constraints and humiliations that surround us can share in
a greater life and share even in the attributes that we ascribe to God. Nevertheless the ordinary
experience of human beings remains an experience of belittlement. This revolutionary message
can only be made real through a series of transformations. Transformations in how we
organize society, in how we live and in how we understand the world. It is not enough
to innovate in our politics. We must also innovate in our basic ideas about who we are.
Unless we innovate in these ideas as well as in the arrangements of society, we cannot
turn the message of our divinity into a real experience. And thus the need today for a
spiritual revolution as well as for a social transformation. The focus of my thinking expressed
in this book, The Religion of the Future, lies precisely there. In the relation between
the transformation of personal experience and the reorganization of social life. All the major religions and philosophies that
have exerted the greatest influence over the last 2,000 years arose from a series of religious
revolutions that took place around 2,000 years ago. And these religions took three main directions.
One direction one might call overcoming the world and an example is Buddhism and the philosophies
that prevailed in ancient India. But it is a position also represented in modern Western
thought, for example, by Schopenhauer. According to this view all the distinctions and changes
that surround us are illusory. Our task if we are to escape from suffering is to communicate
with the hidden and unified being and to escape this nightmare of the apparent world. A second
orientation, one might call the humanization of the world, and it teaches us that in a
meaningless world we can create meaning. We can open a clearing space, a social order
that bears the imprint of our humanity. And in particular we can do so by creating a society
that conforms to a model of what we owe to one another by virtue of occupying certain
roles. The most important example of this position
in the history of religion and of philosophy has been Confucianism. The third direction
is the direction that I call in this book, The Religion of the Future, the struggle with
the world. It tells us that there is a trajectory of ascent by which through changes in how
we live and in how we organize society we can rise to a greater life and share in the
attributes that we ascribe to God. And thus this ascent requires a struggle and so I call
it the struggle with the world. Now this third direction has had two main faces in history.
A sacred face and a profane face. The sacred face is represented in the semitic monotheisms
– Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And the profane face in the political projects of
liberalism, socialism and democracy and in the project of personal liberation that has
been represented by romanticism, both the original romantic movement and the worldwide
popular romantic culture. The third direction teaches us that each of
us is bigger than he seems to be. That each of us is called to share in the greater life
and to participate in this divinity that we sometimes treat as a separate entity that
created the world and that intervenes in history. It is this third direction that has exerted
the greatest influence on humanity over the last couple of centuries in forming a series
of revolutionary projects in politics and in culture that have set the whole world on
fire. But all of these religions in each of these three directions that I have just described
– despite their immense differences share certain common characteristics. One of these
characteristics is that they have represented as it were a kind of two sided ticket. One
side of the ticket is a license to escape the world. A second side of the ticket is
an invitation to change the world. And this ambivalence has never been fully resolved. Another common characteristic of these religions
is that each of them in some way denies or seeks to compensate for the incorrigible flaws
in the human condition. Our mortality, our groundlessness and our insatiability. Despite
the fecundity of our experience, despite this fundamental aspect of our humanity which is
that there is always more in us than there is in all of the social and conceptual worlds
that we build and inhabit, we are all doomed to die. We cannot look into the beginning
and end of time or understand the framework of our existence. Our presuppositions never
reach rock bottom. The bottom is bottomless, thus our groundlessness. And all of us, human
beings, demand the unlimited from the limited and project this demand for the unlimited
onto particular inappropriate objects, thus our insatiability. All of these religions
have attempted to say that there is a solution, an antidote that we, in fact, will not die
or at least that there is some compensation – some compensation for these enigmas and
terrors of our existence. An entirely different moment in the history of religion would begin
if we accepted these realities for what they are and no longer attempted to deny them. Given the enormous impact of the third direction
that I described, the struggle with the world on humanity over the last two centuries, one
might ask what is the core of its message. And why has this message been so seductive.
There are two ideas that stand at the center of this view of the world, both on its religious
side. The Near Eastern religions of salvation, Judaism and Christianity and Islam, and on
its profane side, the projects of political and personal liberation. One set of ideas
has to do with the relation between the self and others. The dominant view in the history
of world religion and philosophy, and indeed in modern academic moral philosophy, is that
the fundamental problem of moral life is selfishness. And the solution to selfishness is a principle
of altruism. And this principle of altruism is to be enforced by conformity to certain
rules that define our obligations to one another. And these rules are to be determined by some
conceptual method like Kant’s categorical imperative or Bentham’s calculus of the
greatest happiness for the greatest number. There is an attitude connected to those ideas.
The attitude is that we should try to come to the end of our lives bladeless, with clean
hands, having discharged our obligations to one another on the green side of our book
of moral accounts. But that is not the view that stands at the core of the moral beliefs
of this third tradition. There the view is that the basic problem of our moral experience
is not selfishness but rather a contradiction in the conditions of personality and in our
relations to other people. We need the others. We make ourselves into human beings only through
connection. But every connection is a threat. Every connection jeopardizes our freedom,
our autonomy, our self-construction. And thus all of our relations to the others are shadowed
by an inescapable ambivalence. Chartres says the others are hell describing aphoristically
this one side of this ambivalence. So what is then the solution that lies at
the center of this idea? The solution is radical love in the circle of intimacy and then some
form of cooperation – of free and equal cooperation outside the circle of intimacy.
But this practical solution, if one can call it that, depends on an imaginative capability,
the capacity to imagine the others, to imagine their otherness. And that is then the teaching,
the real teaching that lies at the center of this tradition. For the ancients and for
most of the world religions and philosophies the highest ideal was the ideal of an impersonal
and detached benevolence from on high, from a distance implying no risk on the part of
the altruist, of the benevolent person. But here now comes a different conception. That
this impersonal altruism, this gift of benevolence from on high is, in fact, not the center of
our moral experience. That the highest form of moral experience is reconciliation with
the other on the basis of equality and at the price of a heightened vulnerability. Now
there’s a second set of ideas at the center of this tradition and the second set of ideas
has to do with the relation between the structures of social life and the human spirit. Now what I mean by spirit is the aspect of
our humanity that has to do with our excess over all the regimes that we create and inhabit.
Now there are two distortions that have had a long career in the history of religious
and philosophical thinking. One distortion might be called the Hegelian heresy. It’s
the idea that there is a definitive structure towards which history is evolving and which
will be the final home of the human spirit. And the other heresy one might call the Sartrean
heresy or the romantic heresy or the existentialist heresy and it was prefigured by the mystics
within Judaism, Christianity and Islam. According to this heresy every structure is death to
the spirit. So the routines of marriage by contrast to romantic love or the bureaucratic
apparatus of the state in opposition to the crowd in the streets. We can’t get rid of
the structures definitively but we can momentarily rebel against them. And these interludes of
rebellion are then the time when we become fully human. So it is a kind of despair. It
is a failure of our hope of changing the relation of structure to spirit. Now these two sets of ideas about the self
and others and spirit and structure have never been adequately developed, much less fully
realized in political and personal practice in the history of our civilizations. Both
the political doctrines and the religious traditions have lived in compromise with the
existing forms of social organization and with ethical attitudes that contradict their
impulse. That is another reason for spiritual revolution now. If we were to take these ideas
seriously, if we were to push them to the hilt, if we were to ask how we should live
under the light of these ideas, we would come to a completely different conception. A completely
different conception of our situation in the world and of the way to organize society.
We have, in fact, in the history of our culture, in the history of the culture that has been
shaped by this third tradition, the tradition of a struggle with the world, only two completely
developed images of how to live. One is the image of the sacrificial altruist who devotes
himself to the others without experiencing any intimate risk or jeopardy. And the other
is the image of the romantic adventurer who experiences life as a perpetual trial in the
effort to deepen and affirm his subjectivity. Neither of these images is adequate as a conception
of how to live. And the absence of an alternative view demonstrates once again the need for
religious revolution now. One should begin by understanding the points
of departure, the provocations for such a spiritual change. So one provocation is the
need no longer to deny the incurable defects in the human condition. Our mortality, our
groundlessness and our insatiability. A second provocation is the importance of not confusing
our belittlement with these inescapable defects in human life. We are belittled and humiliated,
all of us in some way to some degree. But this belittlement has a cure unlike our mortality,
our groundlessness and our insatiability. The cure is for us to make ourselves bigger,
to ascend to a higher life and that cure requires a reorientation of the way we live and of
the way in which we organize society. And a third provocation to this spiritual change
is then the unwillingness to allow those ideas about self and others and spirit and structure
to be compromised and circumvented as they have been in the history of our religions
and of our societies. So what does this mean? What does this mean
by way of a moral orientation and what does it mean by way of a political project? Let
me illustrate what it means by way of a moral orientation by referring to how each of us
is to respond to one of the characteristic incidents in every human life. As we grow
older, each of us, a shell of compromise and routine begins to form around us. The self
becomes rigidified in a character. The ancient Greeks said that character is fate. Character
is the rigidified form of the self. And the marriage of the character with a social circumstance
to which we are resigned then becomes a proxy for the living self, a mummy that begins to
form around each of us within which each of us slowly dies many small deaths. What we
must then do is to break the mummy apart. The better to live and to become more God-like
so that we can live. We do not live to become more God-like, we become more God-like to
live. And how are we to break the mummy apart? We cannot simply will ourselves transformed
but the will can project us into situations in which we are unprotected, in which we lose
our habitual protections, in which we are forced to become more vulnerable. And in this
way awaken to a greater life. So the rebellion against mummification is one of the many telling
consequences of such a reorientation to existence. And what does it mean by way of a political
project? For two centuries now ideological debate in the world has taken the form of
a contrast between what you might call shallow equality and shallow freedom. The major political
forces in the world accept the established institutions and then we think that the conservatives
are those who within that institutional framework give priority to freedom and the progressives
or leftists are those who give priority to equality. But it is shallow equality against
shallow freedom because it’s based on this acceptance of the established framework. Now suppose we imagine that we can begin to
change this framework, to innovate in the institutions that define the market economy
and democratic politics. To democratize the market economy and to deepen democracy. The
method is the cumulative institutional transformation of society. And what is the objective? The
objective is not equality of outcome or circumstance. The objective is a greater life for the ordinary
man or woman. Thus I would say deep freedom. Who then are the progressives or revolutionaries
today? First they are those who refuse to take the established institutional structure
for granted and second they are those who demand not simply to sugar coat those structures
with some compensatory redistribution but to bring the mass of ordinary men and women
to a greater level of intensity of capability and of scope so that they can live eyes wide
awake and share in these attributes, in these attributes of transcendence that we ascribe
to the divine. And that then projects us into a world of institutional proposals and institutional
changes.

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100 Comments

  1. Those of you who don't believe in the Lord ,,,Here's something you may want to consider… Jesus Christ in the book of Revelation describes a evil kingdom that will rise up in the Middle East before his second coming, called the kingdom of the beast. Some of the characteristics of these people are that they where symbols, or marks on their four heads, and they ,,,,behead ,,,,people who refuse to convert and join them , Revelation chapter 20 end of verse 4. Also The symbols that were interpreted as the Greek numbers 666 or 616 in the bible look surprisingly similar to the Aramaic symbols that stand for ,in the name of Allah with the two cross swords. But who believes in some 2000 year old book in which Jesus reveals what will come in the future…

  2. so, judging by the comments I'm guessing said revolution isn't happening in our lifetime :c BUT on a happier note we did come a long way so here's to our painfully slow but equally determined evolution. LOVE YOU FILTHY SPITEFUL WONDERFUL HUMANS.

  3. Religion is not the problem, Religious identity is the problem, and we have been having a religious identity crisis since Jesus left. The biggest issue is that people cannot recognize that God is greater than religion. Just because they were brought up with one piece of the puzzle, doesn't mean the puzzle is complete. God has sent many witnesses to teach us, thus there are many pieces of the puzzle, the differences can be accounted for by the changing times, cultures, morals, values, and customs

  4. A very interesting point of view, enjoyed listening the man's connection between religion and our political institutions/structures. These are the types of videos which should be uploaded more often, our society needs more examples of such connections which can be ever so overshadowed by other aspects of everyday life.

  5. Religion sucks ass. Its all bullshit so who cares… people are stupid so go ahead and believe… you believers are missing out on the true beauty and wonder of the universe. You argue who is right and tell each other fairy tales about total childish beliefs. In 500 years people will look back at you as total idiots who wasted time and energy on total bullshit. Odoyle rules!

  6. Holy crap that is alot to take in.
    But he is correct in saying that we need to start thinking in revolutionary social ways, we are currently limited to how we think and live based on policies and directives from centuries ago. Without social re structure we have limited our capabilities and have effectively segregated ourselves to the outside world, evidently going against this religious belief of treating each other with equality and togetherness

  7. I understand perfectly what he was saying, I just disagree with some of his points. In fact, I was able to process his lecture while playing video games.

  8. You can believe in god without believing in religion. I am 100% convinced that our explanation of god is likely wrong and perverse in some instances.

  9. New age and transhumanism… Could it be more obvious? This time only in a more philosophical words…
    God has no religion… Drop your distortions and research Jesus Christ!
    "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free"

  10. I am an advocate against all religion as well, but frankly, I did not enjoy this video.  He did not speak very clearly, did not back up much of what he said with specific examples, and appeared to ramble at times.  I would not watch another video featuring him if it were to be uploaded on this channel.  But I would definitely watch other videos on the same topic with different hosts

  11. The problem with our world is that people find it difficult to differentiate fact from opinion, belief from knowledge, fantasy from reality, etc.. And a lot of people aren't realizing this and will never be able to realize this till the end. There ignorance and arrogance deluded them to think they are doing fine, if and only they know how to think..Peace..

  12. I get lost on anything that deals with religion. Mostly just fluff and grossly generalizing the experience of human life. When he's talking politics and society, he makes more sense. I'm not so sure about his classifications on conservative and liberal people. It seems to me that he's just flat out ignoring corruption and money as a contributor to changes in religion, politics, and society. What's more, he didn't say anything about how technology will affect those things either. We'll likely reach a point of total automation by the end of this century, this will have a huge impact on religion, politics and society. How do you find meaning in life when your life is technically, physically, and totally without value?

  13. Religion to me is a necessity for a great civilization. It's a word that already strikes opinions in people just by the mere incorporation of it in a sentence. It's a guideline for humanity itself. Humor me for a second.

    I strongly believe that because of this concept of a higher being we as humans create a goal for ourselves, a divine version of ourselves. This being has to be closely related to man so we can learn and hopefully achieve this divinity. It's the same concept of us and science fiction. We set these ideas and goals for ourselves based on thoughts that we can perceive in our mind.

    However those who cannot accept anything but fact cannot fully accept the fact that religion is a GOOD THING. I encourage you to entertain the idea that we can still be spiritual and understand that these ideals are merely tools that we use. We can sit here and argue about opinions, beliefs, and faith but those things are for YOU and you alone. 

    We are on the verge of achieving this divinity and just how a book can teach you a lesson without you having to physically experience it, the bible does for soooo many. Life is all about picking what rules you want to live by, rules that provide a longer and healthier existence.

    I encourage you all to try to adopt some of these rules not as a definite unchangeable thing but as an adaptable ideology.

    We can use philosophy to teach through asking the right questions.
    You can believe in true creation and science.
    Philosophy is not dead as some may think, it just needs to be updated to incorporate new fundamental ideals.

  14. People tend to forget what the role of religion really is. Yes, it has been used to try and account for the way the world works, but can you blame the civilizations from 2000 years ago for not knowing anything about the planet and the cosmos? No, you really cant. 

    More importantly, religion is used to help an individual identify him or herself with his or her humanity. What does it mean to be human? what does it mean to be alive? how should I identify with this planet and all the other people on it? These questions are pretty unimportant from a scientific point of view, which is why this man is saying we need a "Religious Revolution." A shift in the way people look at and approach religion. It has nothing to do with "spiritual mumbo-jumbo" its simply about identification. 

    These old world religions are beginning to get thrown out the window by many people (including myself) but it shouldn't be about abandoning religion all together. Its about having a religion that falls in line with our current scientific knowledge (just like they did 2000 years ago) and allows humans to understand their place in the vast universe. No need for rigid systems and unrealistic "spiritual mumbo-jumbo," just discussion, debate, and cooperation. 

  15. no religion preaches hate, anyone being cruel should be punished, its people with their mislead ,misunderstood perceptions that act with hate.unless we change , nothing else will

  16. Some people get too smart. So smart that they can't communicate ideas because they too worried about displaying that they have degrees. I understand his point, but it could have been said much simpler and much shorter.

  17. So why would God require a sacrifice You ask, you say it isn't logical. Who are you to say what God believes is logical or necessary , his understanding far surpasses ours and he knew what was required to bring us back to him. Even though the cost was high the price was paid, because he loved us and gave himself for us.

  18. No matter which god you believe or what religion you follow, none can buy you a true meaning in this meaningless existence. We are all drifting away into eternal oblivion. 

  19. Who needs this over intellectualized maze of nonsense when we could simply listen to our hearts?  Wake up people.  if it feels wrong discover why.  If it brings peace and joy ask yourself; why?.  If we align our thoughts and actions to what the heart feels we can blossom in so many ways. 

  20. Important things I took from this:

    The essential setup: "We need the Others… But every connection is a possible threat and hence shadowed by an inescapable ambivalence." 

    "The solution: radical love in our circles of intimacy, free and equal cooperation in our broader social circles. This depends on a capacity to imagine the Other and their Otherness." Imagine a religion inculcating such imagination and compassion (i.e. Buddhism with structural empowerment). Unger claims that this has yet to be fully developed and realized; political doctrines have lived in compromise with spiritual doctrine (i.e. a shallow tolerance has numbed our critical inquiry towards our organizational society).

    "The highest form of moral experience is reconciliation with the Other, on the basis of a quality and price of heightened vulnerability." Seems to require a degree of imaginative critical sympathy which ideally should be reinforced constantly, not simply called upon when a dispute arises.

    Key provocations towards these ideas:
    1. Accept our mortality, groundlessness, and insatiability
    2. Do not confuse belittlement with these three inescapable defects of human life. Unlike our "defects," the cure for our humiliation is to make ourselves "bigger" i.e. dignified, deeply free (implies a sense of justice).

    How must one react?
    "We cannot will ourselves transformed," but we can thrust ourselves into vulnerability through which we awaken reborn.
    Socially, we must "democratize the market economy, and deepen democracy; the objective is not equality, but a greater life."

    Sounds like a revamped version of the Enlightenment project, with a touch of Buddhism and aesthetic creativity.

    The biggest thing though is Unger's lack of emphasis on safety or security, which implies that the things neo-liberalism values like mass surveillance, militarised police forces, and general propoganda scare-tactics must be torn apart, fought against, and nullified.

    Very thoughtful video. Thank you

  21. This guy is a utopian. That makes him very dangerous.  Listen to the nonsense he spouts, endless high-sounding but meaningless snippets of bs.   He's one of the madmen who wants to tell you how to live your life, and wants a "revolution" to impose HIS view of your life on you. He thinks you are not smart enough to manage your own life. He is the enemy of all Free People who belief in self-determination of the individual.

  22. This all sounds enlightening and all, but the simple fact is that humankind is far from that level of consciousness. We are too preoccupied with the mundane and the petty. We are recreating our vision of a simplified paradise at the expense of our personal freedoms and our humanity.

  23. I have found that the BEST way to communicate political or religious thoughts is to imagine we are FRIENDS simply sharing stories and thoughts.  My arguments, metaphors and personal stories might resonate with you. I am Agnostic and will NOT assert that a god exists or does not exist.  

    After dedicating 22 YEARS of my life to the CHRISTIAN faith,  serving as a disciplined infantry combat paratrooper in both IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN, study/living/meeting people from other religions, and achieving a degree in liberal arts (anthropology, psychology, philosophy, science, economics, history, art); I have learned that most religions are a means to an end (for better or worse) rather than being the answer to all your historical, ancestral and ethical questions.  Here are FIVE  important ideas to consider before adopting any faith, or supernatural belief:

    1.  Evidence: virtually all religious or supernatural texts, claims, experiences and doctrines consistently fail to show any evidence of miracles, efficacious prayer, consistency,  communication with a deity or reliable fulfillments of specific prophecies.  Usually the belief in these events stem from confirmation bias, a predisposition to believe, social pressure, ignorance (limited knowledge), the placebo effect and/or wishful thinking.  All of my previous prayers as a Christian had close to a 50% success rate, prophecies are usually ambiguous at best (and not time-sensitive), and reports of miracles or supernatural phenomena are too often regurgitated myths which are used to convey themes rather than hard facts (the best lies are rooted in truth so they usually contain some facts as well).  My sister used to wear a t-shirt which read, "It is not a religion, it is a relationship".  That mind sound pleasing to the ears, but it would be an odd relationship indeed if I am supposed to love this god more than my family or myself and can't even be sure that it exists.  That is like telling another person that I love my sister more than anything, she talks to me, she has all the right answers, and I have a deep understanding of her, but when people ask to meet her I tell them that I don't even know if she exists.  Huh?  Lastly, the evidence for souls are lacking.  Every decision we make is an expression of our past nature and nurture.  A damaged brain can change a persons personality and capacity for belief–which are two functions usually reserved for this "immortal soul".  

    2.  Faith:  faith can usually be defined in three ways which can disrupt many philosophical debates.  I have heard it defined as: believing without evidence, hope for the future, and/or trusting an individual/deity.  You hear people use these terms interchangeably, "I have faith in you!" or "It is important to have faith in people", or "I don't have evidence, just faith".  I like to use the first definition, since we can easily use HOPE and TRUST for the other two.  Hope is beneficial for humans due to the placebo effect and positive hormones it releases, it motivates humans to maintain a positive outlook which increases you're ability to be successful despite obstacles.  Hope is a state of mind, not a path to knowledge.  Trust is tentative and relies on evidence (if someone lied to you in the past, you are less likely to believe them in the future).  Is believing (accepting something as true, not just guessing) without evidence ever good?  Which area of our life, other than religion, do we ever use faith?  In the courts? No way. Scientific evidence is ALL that matters, and the courts are deciding whether to put people to death or not. Does a doctor just have faith that you are well? No. They use their senses and their instruments to save your life. They could be sued for malpractice if they only used faith. Do you tell your kids to cross the street after praying, or after looking both ways?  The scientific method is not infallible (you can miss seeing a car), but it our best approach to understanding the world around us.  Scientific theories (theories can be facts too, like the theory of gravity, atomic theory, or the cell theory) are the best models we have currently to describe reality and are very modest in terms of absolutes.  I defend the statement, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".  I have been best served when gauging my certainty by available evidence.  Most children are spoon-fed logic and reason to gain their belief in god before their brain is fully developed (especially the frontal lobe, responsible for judgment and critical thinking), then later when the arguments lose their validity, the young adults are told to use faith (to abate sound agruments).  People choose to abandon reason when studying religion as an adult because they know deep down inside that the arguments are silly and contradictory.  You were convinced of your religion by means of reason (miracles, history, perfection of Jesus, Mohummad's unexplainable wisdom, consensus, etc.), and reason can get you out of it.  Don't climb up on a roof using a ladder, then kick it out from under you and profess that you got up there all by yourself (leap of faith).  

    3. Morality: it is important to remember that morals precede the existence of homo sapiens, are found in other animals and are/were necessary for our survival and the survival of other organisms.  We never would have made it this far as a species without working together and developing rules for a more organized, peaceful existence.  Your body is a network of cells which came together to communicate, divide labor and defend each other to the death (apoptosis) for the sake of survival.  Jane Goodall, a leading anthropologist, has asserted: "a primate who is alone in the wild, is a dead primate".  Ever watch survival shows with only one adventurer?  What happens to their health over the span of a few days or a week?  Survivors are considered successful when they reach other humans.  You cannot perform your specific job unless your fears of adultery, murder, theft, dishonesty and selfishness are put to rest, so naturally humans will adopt some kind of constitution, laws or tenets to live by in order to preserve themselves.  Have you ever argued with another person and then found out that you needed them for some reason?  Sucks don't it?  Religion might have been helpful in assisting altruistic behavior through fear for a time, but like our insatiable crave for sugar, it is outdated and sometimes harmful.  Since becoming agnostic, I have been more truthful about what I believe (so therefore, more truthful),as well as being more understanding and open-minded.  I have stopped looking at others as unfortunate or incomplete, I care more about this world because I probably won't get another one, and I can treat all religions with equal scrutiny (not play favorites).  I also do the right thing because it is right, not because I will be rewarded later which is more satisfying.  

    4. Functions of Religion:  I am not blind to the many positive services which church's or religious-based intuitions have provided or currently provide: sense of community/service to others, consoling persons who lost loved ones, meeting new friends/connections, singing soothing hymns  and structure for children.  But it is also hard to accept that any one of these functions are dependent on a God, or cannot be better implemented or emulated by institutions devoid of religious discourse.  Other institutions such as non-profits have to account for their spending and the exact services rendered to obtain donations–not churches.  Government agencies must worry about voter sentiments and checks/balances.  In terms of prayer, we pray for answers but all we really do is ask our brains to come up with the moral answer, then after you weigh the evidence, you come up with a decision that apparently "god" gave you.  Praying for others does absolutely nothing when practiced but makes you feel like you have helped when you haven't.  Next time try to sacrifice some time or effort to make them feel better or get back on their feet.  Singing, asking for forgiveness, touching, shaking hands, positive thoughts and feelings of security are all therapeutic according to science, and require no metaphysical explanations.  

    5. What are you left with?:   A god might exist or might not exist, but just like bigfoot, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, fairies, demons and boogie men, I will not be in search of them my whole life to feel whole, or to legitimize my moral compass.  This universe could be a matrix or a six-grade science experiment conducted by an alien–but it is irrelevant at this time.  You can be successful, altruistic, enjoy this world, marvel at its beauty, raise moral children, love everyone to the best of your ability, hope for an afterlife, and earn the trust of your peers without being divinely warranted.  If a god created logic and reason to protect you while you're here on earth, why would it condemn you for using it?  There are two occupations which thrive in a faith-based system of knowledge–religious leaders and con men.  I love all of you–god or no god–and for better or worse.  

  24. Religion, giving mankind false hope since the beginning.  You're all going to die !!! and so is this old geezer, who had to complicate the same shit we already know to sound smart. Sure, enlighten yourselves philosophically, religiously, intellectualy all you can and be satisfied and comfort your asses till you DIE !!  No one can save you from DEATH !!! It's been like that forever !!! Prove me wrong fools. Of course u can't never do that cause we all Die !! deal with it, you srry bastards. Happy DEATH to you all. 

  25. Religion of the future, you ask? Atheism. A simple thing to do: compare the ammount of atheists today, 5 years, 10, 15 etc years ago on a graph. And you will see, how % is growing and the %-growthrate is growing as well. So, yeah, I believe atheism will be "the new religion", and I even didn't need to write a book about it. It's just a simple analysis of reality.

  26. I think the reason this guy looks like he's falling asleep while is is talking is because of the huge expenditure of energy used to move his mouth in that way. 

  27. I've been reading the various threads for this video. What I've noticed is the glaring absence of discussion concerning Roberto Unger's statements concerning the three incorrigible, permanently fixed, conditions of humanity.

    Our mortality – we are each going to die and there is nothing after death.
    Our groundlessness – our presuppositions never reach rock bottom.
    Our insatiability – we demand the unlimited from the limited.

    He defines these 'conditions' so that he can make the points:
    1) If we, as a species, do not accept our immutable flaws, we will never escape our self imposed belittlement, which is holding back and down.
    2) That it is the religion's and some philosophies of the past two thousand years which have tirelessly campaigned to set up  special cases, compensations, and denials to avoid the acceptance of these three flaws inherent in humanity.

    Yes, I'm going to die, but not really, because all of us will live forever… after we die.
    Yes, humans have nothing to base their lives on, but if we believe in "X" we will have a rock solid foundation on which to build our lives.
    Yes, humans are greedy and selfish, but if we believe in "X" we will become complete.

    You can discuss whether you think these three conditions are permanent or changeable, or even valid or not. You can discuss whether or not the acceptance, or rejection, of these conditions has or will have an affect within our current societal structures . You can discuss whether or not his ideas of a society built on the acceptance of these conditions, along with the implementation of his ideas of how a society should be run, will produce the society that he describes will be the result. But it is pointless to discuss current social structures, or current religious beliefs, while ignoring the basis of his proposition which is that we humans are mortal, groundless, and insatiable.
    He is not talking about socialism, capitalism, communism, the free market, or any other current social structure, other than to point at them as failures as they are being practiced today.

    The above video is a 25 minute synopsis of 385 page philosophical/religious thought/sociology treatise on how we, as individuals and collectively, can break free of the belittlement which our religions, and philosophies along with our political, economical, and societal structures have trapped us into participating in our own belittlement in servitude too them. It is about a revolution of thought and action, not guns. Guns are not needed for this rebellion.

    The above is my observation of this issue after merely scratching its surface. If I am in error on any point above, after verifying that I am in error, I will accept my error and correct my thinking/opinion… publicly. I do not fear my mistakes. Butterflies, yes. My mistakes, no.

    I reserve my right to change my mind as I read further into his book. "The Religion of the Future"

    "If I don't die, I'm not human. My death is validation that I have lived." Orbnorian

  28. Roberto Unger actually wrote a whole book on this issue: the Religion of the Future, in which he developed a highly innovative view of religion, which started with a thorough re-definition of the term "religion".  The reason this lecture is so hard to follow is that Professor Unger is trying to crank the contents of a 500+ page book into a 20+ minute video.  Go read that book.  It's fully downloadable from the website of Harvard Law School.  I found it a very enjoyable read.  

  29. Nearly cried by the end of this. I am a recent victor of my own cognitive dissonance here in LOVE GOD Tennessee. I am now enrolled for a teaching career and look forward to sharing my passions of physics and math with another generation. Loved every word of this!

  30. My free e book The Spiritual Future of Christianity (or Celebrate Eve, Take a Bite of this Apple.) can be had by e mailing me , put in the subject line FREE E BOOK, man in black 2014 at yahoo dot com all lower case no spaces. 

  31. Gotta love philosophers straight up making bald claims with no grounds whatsoever. "Humans are insatiable." Okay? I mean, I seem to feel pretty good after eating a hamburger, at least for a little while. Where is the mention of the basic fact that I am a biological machine that needs to consume food in order to maintain the biochemical reactions that keep me going? Do these people know anything about science? Did they even get a high school education? Why do we give these people a public stage when they seem to understand so little about basic scientific ideas like evolution, chemistry, physics, and biology?

    I listen to this and I hear uninformed mumbo jumbo. Not because I don't care (I really don't). But because there is no meat to any of his claims. Shame on you Big Think. You know this is bullshit and you let it continue.

  32. I cannot share this. There isn't one person in my circle who could even come close to understanding this concept. I'm so starved for such intellectual interaction. Feeling lost at sea.

  33. I personally cannot, nor can anybody else prove that there is 100% proof and evidence that GOD does or does not exist. However in saying that, if GOD is real than he made defective, why? Because I do not just bow down and serve a being that I cannot experience with my five senses. Instead I question, I seek answers as to why this and that, I look for, study and cross reference the evidence that is current or hasn't been sort after. I do not Except books that were written over two thousand years ago in an ere were many questions could not be answered and mythology ruled the world. I do not except anybody's religion or faith, because who is right? they all just except what is, it just is and wont question it. I'm sorry GOD but I am just not that type of person you made .I hope you understand. and if not than I look forward to meeting you because I have lots of questions, oh but you will already know what I will say, so I will say nothing as you will just tell me lol. now would be good.

  34. Spirituality has always known what he is talking about which is why this video is funny. Even the ancients knew this. Religion just makes it easier for people to believe in love and we are transforming pass that religion phase to become a phase of unity and love with no religious image.

  35. I hear a toilet flushing and religion going down it.
    The future is secular humanism.
    The only thing that makes sense.
    You can't prove that God exists nor can you prove God doesn't exist.
    Let alone the individual religions that just breed ignorance and dogma.
    The ONLY logical conclusion is to "minimize the amount of suffering in world."
    Its as simple as that.
    Minimize suffering and the result will logically be a world where everyone is happier.
    No need for spiritual jumbo.

  36. i think its a little funny that religious individuals some how flock over these types of youtube channels and other scientific media outlets just to bash it, some out right, others a bit lighter but its just back and forth with everybody anyway people who don't believe in spirituality freak out on these people but its completely warranted in most cases. personally i think religion is just well a big fat lie it may have historical facts in metaphor but no grounds on creation or death. and yeah i am a firm believer in evolution and various scientific theories but i let religious friends i have believe whatever they want to, But i don't believe that religion should have capital on world view that's just plain bullshit there's no equaility in that

  37. Religion is the same to philosophy like alchemy was to chemistry. We don't need religion. 

    The ONLY WAY that someone thinks ANY religion is reasonable is either ignorance and lack of knowledge, OR continuous indoctrination. Sadly, religions have built in indoctrination systems that work extremely well.

    I think that every religious book should have a Warning label with "WARNING, Do not take seriously… can lead to cognitive dissonance, ignorance and mental retardation".

  38. Selfishness vs. Altruism and the ambivalence that can occur in the process of determining how humans can/cannot relate to it?!!!?  Sounds like another potentially Quasi-Divine/Religious Dichotomy.

  39. As we all know, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the one true religion. All hail his noodly appendage!
    Ramen.

  40. And of course the majority of people in the comments get hung up on the word religion and become entirely unable to the discuss the actual video.

    Fuck you guys.

  41. Not so complicated….we all have chosen the wrong tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of Life…..
    No matter how high up in the wrong tree its end is death….a dead tree
    Christ went through the dead tree to open the way for us to the tree of Life! Christ is the tree of Life
    No need for us to remain in the wrong dead tree and be confused…
    There is no religion in the tree of Life not now not ever
    Get out of the wrong tree
    No more Jew, gentile, greek, christian, muslim…..
    Just one new man in Christ, the tree of Life….
    His New world order is on its way….you can live in it all ready right now….!

  42. This is nonsense. Unger is reading a whole lot into the evolution of religion that is simple not there. It just evolved, randomness + selection.

  43. never trust a guy that talks out of the side of his mouth. that just stands to reason. he mentioned the word God . God doesn't exist! God is the creation of man God is a fallacy. God was created by man to get us out of the paganism and the Barbarian ism and the cannibalism. God was created to give us a conscience to make us feel guilty about every little thing we do that is somehow deemed immoral irregular or unconventional. I'm not looking for an argument I'm stating facts that cannot be disputed. when the New Testament was written about 150 ad- 200 ad opium used was excessive and prevalent. now you know why these people were hallucinating when all these fucking stories is nothing more than writers embellishment and creative writing of the times. they had to attract people's attention with Tales of grandeur and miracles and it's all nonsense. these people are not that far Advanced from fucking cave men. now you're going to tell me you believe what these archaic Antiquated individuals wrote down while they were high on opium. archaeologists and paleontologists have uncovered evidence conclusive evidence that opium was an excessive use back in those days in that region. that's a fact. you got nothing after that was exposed. religion is a scam all believers have been successfully duped. indoctrination is the same as being brainwashed. people putting money in the basket The Collection plate at church have the hopes and dreams that they're buying their ticket to heaven. that's a fallacy obviously. enclosing anyone believing in God and religion is an idiot. you can't consider yourself an intellectual list if you believe in such nonsense that has no proof of its existence. enough with the fucking religion of the God bullshit. open your fucking mind think about it common sense rational thought and logic shall prevail. providing you have the competency to use them to your benefit. once more there is no God and I can prove it. if you think you can argue this with me you'll be sadly mistaken.

  44. If god were kind it would have cooled this guy off as he rattled on and on about whatever he was talking about. Is this an example of post-modernism?

  45. This guy just purports more feel good religious thinking than actual intellectual honesty. Juicy…

  46. Define divine, define spiritual and prove their existence other than as concepts that help you believe more "I'm special" balogna because you refuse to acknowledge the apparentness of nihilism…Loquacious, well read idiot.

  47. 20:40 – Nietzsche's übermensch ideal will find its manifestation in the world, and we will either die trying to achieve it or be successful… it's up to us.

  48. WOW! All Unger is describing here (hidden under a mountain of philosophical gobbledygook), is what the serpent said to Eve in the Garden of Eden … "Your eyes shall be opened and you shall be like God". There's nothing new under the sun. Unger, if he lives long enough, will see the realization of his philosophy when the antichrist is revealed on the Earth and takes control, not only of the political machinations of the planet, but also of all religions, combining them together to receive worship from a "united" humanity under his domain. Believe it or not!

  49. When humanity's intelligence raises to a level high enough to ascertain the logic behind Unger, we will find that he will be one of the most significant political theorists of our times, better than liberalism's scholars, or Marx's, et al.

    Just writing this here for the future, his philosophy stems from his first work 'Passion', highly recommended to all

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