Re: The Origin of Religions, From a Distinctly Darwinian View

From: Van oost Kenneth (
Date: Wed 25 Dec 2002 - 09:48:01 GMT

  • Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "Re: Origin of Religion"

    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Wade T. Smith" <>
    > Q. So what's special about religion that makes it such a powerful force
    > in human history?
    > A. I think that religion has been very good at rearranging the
    > nonreligious furniture of our mind into a coherent whole.

    >> This sounds very strange to me though !
    In saying that religion rearranged something nonreligious, IMO he implies that already in our mind there were two kinds of information, religious and nonreligious stuff ! I don 't really see how that could be possible, where and how is the distinction being made !? I have always misdoubts when people drag religion, whatever that might be and for whatever reasons, into a discussion about the origins of man, individualistic and groups- bounded.

    Why for the matter should the nonreligious furniture be rearranged in the first place !? I can see that faith and trust were and are needed, but I don 't grasp why something like religion ( any kind) was and is needed to make of our mind a coherent whole. Why not the rationale way !?

    > Q. So if the egalitarian impulse is strong within us, can we assume that
    > institutions like slavery were unnatural blips in human history?
    > A. Unfortunately not. Religions and other social organizations may
    > preach kindness and cooperation within the group, but they often say
    > nothing about those outside the group, and may even promote brutality
    > toward those beyond the brotherhood of the hive. That has been the dark
    > side of religion. But it is not an inevitable side of it. I don't want
    > to come across as na´ve, but there's no theoretical reason why the moral
    > circle can't be expanded to ultimately include everybody. Nor is there
    > any reason why we can't take a surgical approach to religion, and keep
    > what is positive about it while eliminating the intolerance.

    >> Again, I don 't trust this ! Maybe his intentions are good, but with the
    moral circle- bit he implies that religion, whatever kind, is good for the people, moreover, he implies that religion got a ' morality ' to sell for everybody ! What kind of religion is he talking about, and what is that morality !? What is the contents of that ultimately savier- device of his...

    I didn 't read his book, but fine- reading is the proper way....



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