What is Religion (again)?

Well, something freed me in my sleep last night, so I'm starting over again. I'm discussing with an ancient friend behind-the-scenes Karen Armstrong's definition, in the video below, of "Religion":

If you want to watch more of the speech, here's a longer version of (I think it's not!--it's better!) the same talk. Sidenote: I used to think the highest aim for my career was to make it on C-Span. Now I think it's to get to do a Chautauqua lecture. Monica, don't miss the reference to midrashic reading around 15:30 in this longer version!

Anyway: the question that most interests me here is: can there be Religion without rituals? And on the other hand, is there any sensible justification for rituals?


Insignificant Wrangler said...

Religion has a very particular meaning in Levinas: “It [the transcendence of Good in relation to Being] should have served as a foundation for a pluralist philosophy in which the plurality of being would not disappear into the unity of number nor be integrated into a totality. Totality and the embrace of being, or ontology, do not contain the final secret of being. Religion, where relationship subsists between the same the other despite the impossibility of the Whole—the idea of infinity—is the ultimate structure” (Totality and Infinity 80).

Casey said...

Wow, it's like he's speaking a language that's foreign to me. I mean, I recognize all of the words individually, but the whole reads to me like a bowl of Campbell's Alphabet Soup.

I will say this: I'm not faulting Levinas, but reflecting on some shortcoming in my own reading ability.