Date: Mon 06 Jan 2003 - 14:42:44 GMT
> At 11:48 PM 29/12/02 -0600, you wrote:
> >I concur with Keith Henson's analysis of Wahhabism as a virulent
> >offshoot of Islam, and add that Deobandi is another, less well known,
> >virulent offshoot. The question arises, however, to what degree ANY
> >"new" religion is an offshoot of existing forms (Christianity, from
> >Judaism, Islam and Mormonism from Christianity, etc.), although
> >Zoroastrianism is also in that mix. Some religions also seem to be
> >syncretistic blends of two major pre-existing forms, particularly
> >Buddhism (Hinduism and Taoism) and Sikhism (Hinduism and Islam), and
> >one wonders how the 'offshoot' theory deals with such examples. If
> >course, Hinduism finds its own roots in Jainism. The origins of the
> >Bah'ai faith are interersting, too, as it seems to be an offshoot
> >that is LESS virulent and more peaceable than its predecessors.
> >Another question is whether Protestantism was more virulent in its
> >beginnings than the pre-existing Catholic faith from which it sprung,
> >if Shi'a was in the beginning more virulent than Sunni Islam, and
> >where to place the Druse.
> I think the factor that makes offshoots more virulent than their
> predecessors is that to spread to the point a new variation gets
> noticed they must have intense effects on their early converts,
> motivating them to extraordinary efforts to spread the "word."
> Intense personal effects don't always result in violence. I have not
> studied Bah'ai but I would expect it to have had intense internal
> effects on its early converts. You might note that the Druse and
> Bah'ai are not very large by comparison with the others in the general
It could also be that in a violent society, peacefulness and the acceptance of everyone's prophets has its own memetic attraction as a defensive or self-protective reaction to such an environment, although it has not worked very well for them in Iran, for instance (many Bah'ai have been killed there as apostates).
> >It certainly seem that an overarching model of religious
> >mutation/selection/evolution is indeed possible, but such a model is
> >likely to be much too complex to be completely explained by a
> >'virulent offshoot' theory, although such a theory would remain a
> >major component of any possible model.
> True. For example, while it has many sources, a major source of
> scientology is Crowley's OTO. That is still around, though not very
> active. A splinter group from the OTO was the Discordians (still
> around) and in turn that split off the parody "Church of the
> SubGenious." (Slack!) Most of the people fighting scientology on net
> are either open or secret SubG members, some of them are High Popes in
> the group.
> Keith Henson.
And you didn't even mention the IOT (grin!) It also seems that the offshoot theory should apply to political ideologies as well as religions. Of course, the roots of communism are to be found in Christianity, and the roots of democracy are to be found in ancient Greece. The question of the roots of fascism then presents itself.
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This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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