Essay:Potential For NOMA
NOMA is often viewed as an attempt to describe an existing situation and as a means of avoiding conflict. I suggest that it could be so much more. It could be a description of a situation to be striven for and as a means of exposing (engaging in) the conflict between religion and science and giving religion a better way forward. My basic argument is that 400 years ago (or so) we discovered a better way of doing science, the scientific method. This is what established the magisterium of science, which I would argue is all fact and theory. Religion is still done more or less the same way it was done for thousands of years. It has no magisterium. When the Pope claims one for it, it is a claim of power on his part not a justified magisterium, IMHO. Science placed strict limits on itself when it established its magisterium. It said, only if you follow the scientific method are you doing science. In practice, a lot of crappy science was and is still being done and so science established the peer-review model to ensure that bad science got criticized. My argument is that a similarly restrictive magisterium needs to be established for religion. Once that is done we may see religion move forward in a rational and useful way, like it has never done before.
Potential for NOMA
Gould said that the NOMA of religion should be "ultimate meaning and moral value". Dawkins criticized NOMA as being inaccurate because religion comments on scientific (factual) questions like "Does God exist." I am saying that, rather than throwing NOMA out because religions make comments in the magisterium of science, we tighten up NOMA, straightening the joint border of the magisteria of science and religion so that they are no longer, as Gould described, "interdigitating in wondrously complex ways". I say we create a vocabulary for describing religions as compliant or non-compliant with a new religious method (Religion 2.0) and then support those religious leaders, prophets, speakers who comply with it. There are people and organizations out there like Naturalistic Paganism, The SolSeed Movement, Michael Dowd and Gretta Vosper who are compliant in that they don't make stuff up. They accept the results of science as dogma and then move forward from there to proposing ways of deriving meaning for our lives and of defining a system of moral values.
The Magisterium of Moral Philosophy
If we do this, we will be critized as attempting to reduce religion to moral philosophy. I would argue that again there are separate magisteria. Philosophy demands proof and not arbitrary choice. I argue, quoting from moral psychology, that moral value, like all value is aesthetic in nature. It is a human reaction of revulsion to a situation in which there is harm, oppression, inequity, disrespect, betrayal, perceived uncleanliness, or weakness of will. Alternatively it can be a human reaction of attraction to one of their opposites. Moral psychology describes this situation and establishes that, therefore, morality is an arbitrary choice by the individual about what attracts or repels him or her. This is all taken from the works of Jonathan Haidt who has surveyed the literature of moral psychology and contributed to it himself. So what I am saying is that the magisterium of science can be used to help define the magisterium of religion. Moral Philosophy may conject about the universal or at least general consequence of such a framework for the genesis of moral value but it cannot make those arbitrary choices itself. In fact, it is in the magisterium of moral philosophy to take the facts from moral psychology and define the magisterium of religion.
But once the magisterium of religion is defined by moral philosophy, it is inside the magisterium of religion to make the arbitrary choices of value and then gather communities together for whom those arbitrary choices make sense. Following Religion 2.0 will mean, recognizing that each religion's choices about what is important and what is right or wrong are arbitrary. It will mean recognizing that every individual should be free to choose their religion instead of thinking of ways to punish apostates (past followers who try to leave). It will mean recognizing that it is right and good that there be many religions in the world so that individuals have many choices. It will also mean recognizing when your peers, even big, powerful, aggressive peers like the Roman Catholic Church or theocratic Islamic states, exceed the magisterium of religion and calling them out on it. If the Roman Catholic Church says that souls were infused into evolved human bodies 20000 years ago then all Religion 2.0 leaders must stand up and say, "No, science finds no evidence of this. Your just making that up and that isn't valid religion. If you can't find justification for your moral values in the dogma of science, then it is time to change your moral values." It will take courage but, I believe, courage can be a virtue. Virtue, can be defined as a human trait that leads the individual who has it toward attractive moral choices.
Thanks to User:Zero for guidance to a newbie on where to put this article.