Re: The religion meme

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Fri 08 Nov 2002 - 00:30:27 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: Aunger speaks, London 11th November"

    > > From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    > >
    > > What I said was that the memes of conquest were flourishing in the minds
    > > people who have been indoctrinated in the memes of Christ. The minds
    > > contain both sets of memes. The actions of the people who run the
    > > demonstrate which set was dominant. Even in my own mind, after years of
    > > indoctrination by the Catholic Church, I was ready and willing to go out
    > > kill people if my country asked me to. It was the years of
    > > that contained the memes of Christ. It was not the words of my
    > > although they had been exposed to the memes of Christ, just as I had
    > > Although they often said things like "There are no athiests in
    > > and "We are God fearing men."
    > >
    > > Chaplains were part of the makeup of every military unit. They often
    > > us the words of Christ. They read from the bible and preached sermons
    > > on it. I can't believe you're not aware of all this. It's more like
    > > just want to twist what I say to mean something else. I remember one
    > > chaplain telling me, "I only believe in two books -- the bible and the
    > > manual for Courts Martial." But again, my point is that the military
    > > were all familiar with the words of Christ. Their actions were just the
    > > actions of killers, conquerors and opressors. They were in the business
    > > empire building. Their actions were anti-Christian.
    >I know of only one theory that can explain this, and it was put forth by
    >Barbara Ehrenreich in 1997 in her book, *Blood Rites: Origins and History
    >the Passions of War.*
    >Ehrenreich's thesis is that religion began as a response to our status as a
    >prey species. From time immemorial we were preyed upon by lions, tigers,
    >leopards, cheetahs, bears, wolves, etc. The original "gods" were predator
    >beasts. All the prehistoric religions, judging by the artifacts they left
    >behind, equated gods with predator beasts. We gained our meat from
    >scavenging the kills of the same animals that also preyed upon us. This is
    >the origin of the notion that God gives and God takes away. Eventually we
    >transformed from "man the hunted" to "man the hunter." But the trauma left
    >behind from eons of being preyed upon remained with us. Religion began as
    >way of placating the "gods" in the same way that a lion was placated when
    >entered a human encampment. Just feed it the flesh of a vulnerable child,
    >and it will go away. Religion originally meant nothing more than ritual
    >human sacrifice, as a means of pleasing the "gods" in times of crisis.
    >Gradually, as the trauma wore off, humans were replaced by animals or a
    >symbolic part of the body, such as the foreskin. But another strand of
    >human sacrifice lives on in the form of war. Approximately 12,000 years
    >ago, when the trauma was still fresh, war provided an alternative means of
    >sacrificing humans. This explains why, from the beginning, war has been
    >essentially a religious enterprise. We are sacrificing our youth in order
    >to please a "bloodthirsty" God. Christianity is the failed attempt to
    >replace actual sacrifice with the symbolic sacrifice of Christ, to
    >reenvision God as a "lamb." However, the meme represented by old-style
    >religion is too deeply ingrained, and the Christian meme has remained
    >dormant. Even those who consciously proclaim themselves Christian are
    >unconsciously devoted to the ingrained meme of ritual sacrifice.
    >Of course, it's impossible to convincingly impart Ehrenreich's ingenious
    >argument in a few sentences.
    I think there may be something to that. The Greeks and Romans were definitely into animal sacrifice and we carry these with us today in the form of the bullfight in Spain and South America or the idea in more primitive societies that you can see the future in the the body or blood of dead animals. The power of the god is represented in the body of the animal. The Hebrews also sacrificed animals in the religious rites and the old testament mentions sacrificing a member of one's family to please God.

    Why is it the young who go to war and not the older and wiser members of society? That may just be a meme that has refused to die. Of course, we justify our selection process with logic today, but we seem to come up with the same solutions as our ancestors. Is that because it's the best solution or because we are driven by something inside us that shapes our way of seeing the world?

    Who said the tool shapes the hand that uses it? I think it also shapes the mind that uses it.


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