Re: Christianity Redux?

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Tue 26 Apr 2005 - 12:57:14 GMT

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    Chris Taylor wrote:
    > I'd suggest that the persistence of many cultural thingies in the US is
    > as a result of the slower pace of cultural evolution for the exact same
    > reasons that genetic evolution occurs more slowly (on average) in large
    > interbreeding populations. Inertia essentially; cf. the persistence of
    > words like 'gotten', which have died out in British English -- a much
    > smaller population in which stochastic effects are more pronounced and
    > change more straightforward.

    This is a really interesting explanation for this sort of example. Does it hold beyond particular words like "gotten"? I know there are lots more like this, which we in the UK think of as US imports but actually originated over here. But is this a principle that can be extended over
    "bigger" meme pools like the US? I'd be interested to hear more about it.

    > So that is what I'd offer as an explanation of why the US still claims
    > high church attendance etc. As to why christianity is dying all over in
    > the first place; look to the Catholics who seek to reinterpret 'the
    > word' to keep it alive (the reason to have a priest act as the bridge
    > from codified [once Latin] 'genotype' to GxE 'phenotype' -- the
    > interpretive principle even survivied the translation out of Latin for
    > Catholics, not hard as biblical scholarship shows you can usually find
    > conflicting guidance in the bible, so which to apply -- cue the
    > Leviticus++ based jokes that I'll send separately);

    The only snag with these jokes is that, amusing as they are, they kind of miss the point wrt Christianity, which holds that "we are free to serve God not in the old obedience to the letter of the Law, but in a new way, in the Spirit." (Romans 7 for this particular quotation, but that's one of the key messages of the whole of the New Testament.)

    > they have little
    > problem with evolution which is rather different to the much more
    > literal readings of 'the word' in some of the more extreme protestant
    > flavours. It's dead already, it just hasn't realised; and it still
    > provides some comfort a la Marx so we keep it around.
    > I reckon...
    > Cheers, Chris.

    Hmmm. Here we have to agree to differ!


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