Comparative Religious Studies/Draft abstract for paper - comment


The following is a draft abstract for a paper. I appreciate if you can read it and provide any advice and comment.

Conference title: The second-person perspective in science and humanities.

Paper title: Relationships with the divine emanating from second-person statements and their influence in defining relationships with those in outgroups.  

In religious scripture and tradition there is always second-person statements made by one or more gods and founders of the religion.

[Reference and not part of abstract: second-person statement is a form of the verb that makes direct commands and requests and uses the pronouns you, your, and yours to address a reader or listener directly.]

As the result the reader or listener enters in to mental conception and possibly feelings, whether positive, negative or indifferent, with one or more gods and founders of the religion. The divine relationship is with regard to a relationship a follower has with regard to one or more gods.
At developmental and impressionable years the socio-emotional development of the child can be influenced in such environment. (Will mention something based on neuroscience and developmental psychology)

Religions define the characteristics and behaviour towards individuals based on ingroup (i.e. those of same religion) and outgroups (i.e. those outside of the religion) classifications. These classifications have an influence on factors such as personal identity and social cognition.

Exploration of challenges particularly arising when personal ethics and reason contravene with such religious classifications, and of approaches to remove social barriers and achieve conflict resolution

Some basic statements of the Christian faith do not contain second person statements. The creeds of the church, such as the Apostles' Creed, and others, and even the 39 Articles of the Church of England, express what is believed about the divinity and the creation without using such statements.
The proposal combines statements made by "one" or "more" gods and "founders." If it is desired to talk about what commandments there are, and how their being addressed to "second persons" affects those persons, then it would matter whether the statements come from one god, more than one god, or from one or more founders.
If the focus is on how people of different faiths think of those who follow other faiths, then it might be better to start directly with this question--how do the followers of a certain religion think of others. And when this is seen, then to ask what is the relation of these attitudes to the ideas taught in that religion, and especially, its ideas about persons who do not follow that religion.
It does not seem to me that the form of expression, whether in the second person or not, is essential to this discussion. If the subject is what people think of the duties of the creature toward the divine, could this not be addressed directly. After that one could address the influence of  commandments and prohibitions on the formation of a person's attitudes.

Comparative Religious Studies

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John Mason


graduate work in new testament, knowledge of hebrew, greek, latin; interest in buddhism, also cross-cultural communications. not high pressure. but not agnostic either.

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