Tuesday, March 15, 2005


It seems like the big criticism of religion today involves the loss in potential that comes from following a pre-determined path. The set agenda of religion (or any other established instituion) leaves little wiggle room for differences. It doesn't facillitate different rates of progression and different interests. It creates, as Issues in Mormon Doctrine would say, shepherds and hirelings. In short, institutions narturally lead to a dichotomy of expectations. On one hand they will indicate what should be done but can't by their very nature let everything become an exception. Some open ones will acknoweldge that while the ideas espoused may be universally beneficial, because of the infinite randomness of life, they may not be universally applicable.

I wonder if the current disdain for conformity doesn't cause us to lose sight of the fact that institutions arise because of the needs of people. Thus individualism may need as many institutions to support it as any other tendency. The difference only lies in the type of institutions that are wanted. I would hazard a guess that for strong individualism there needs to be an equally strong institutions around to prevent the natural friction and opression that this causes. So perhaps all that people can really hope for is the euphoric lull that occurs in regime change before natural consequences catch up.

(If changes happen very frequently does that mean you can always out run natural consequences? I would hazard a guess that many theories of social change would say, yes. Religious theology seems to say, no. Long term stability is the only solution.)

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