If you say you’ve got a church, people will quickly ask about your God. Most of my friends would describe themselves as Atheists. All of them grew up in a consensus that matter moves by mechanical force, and agency is something rather mysterious, but surely individuated, residing in (primarily human) individuals. If you assume all this, then you probably have an opinion about the God question.
If you can get away from the assumptions about mechanisms and volition, then the question of God or Not becomes meaningless.
So what if we recognise that it is impossible to adopt an unaccented, culture-free, standpoint. From where I’m standing, I see some variation in how things are and how things are understood. What are the kind of things that co-vary with Abrahamic faiths, and with those other things that we might (with due awareness of our biases) describe as faiths, in full awareness that we see this as Christians, from a Christian culture?
- Creation: where does anything come from? Go to?
- Death: meaning of
- The relevance and dominion of scientific objectivity
- Sin, Karma, Ethics, Oughts, and Lust, Desire, Intoxication
- The mechanics of intentionality
- Relation to direct ancestors
- Division of responsibility between clerics, legislators, soldiers, and others
- Embedding of the present in a historical narrative
- Authority, in the most general sense
- Tolerance for the simple, the odd, and the eccentric
- The relation of good to evil
- Availability of altered states of consciousness
- Manner in which pain is borne
- The definition of “us”
- Aesthetics, and the sensorimotor embedding of daily life (and of ritual)
- Prevalence and status of monastic-like communities
The Pharisee is interested in all of these.