Re: Did we change, or did the world change around us?

From: Tonie Putter (
Date: Tue 17 Jan 2006 - 12:09:43 GMT

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    > Chris Taylor <>
    > Subject: Did we change, or did the world change around us?

    > Point is almost as soon as I had critical faculties, I chopped
    > it; and not just for a lie-in on a Sunday.

    There's your answer: religion is a crutch until reason prevails. You either create values using your own mind, or, as Dan Dennet put it so succinctly; you leave the dirty work to others. (Unfortunately reason is a necessary but not a sufficient cause. Furthermore, some things are, intrinsically, really tough to understand no matter how high your IQ. Then there is the 'fact' that we are rather good at copping out.)

    I read somewhere that by the time roughly 27% of any given nation has telephones, military dictatorships become impossible. Of course such a threshold concept does not say anything about the financial clout of lobbyists in Washington; the power of intimidation, indoctrination, brainwashing and social marketing in general. (It may, however, say much that positively corroborates Jürgen Habermas' Theory of Communicative Action, which I submit as a rich vein of ideas for memetic inquiry.)

    Its also hard to believe that prayer hacks it, when the only reliable
    (honest) way to get money is to work for it or earn it in rather concrete ways. (Further thanks to Dan Dennet for this cleaver meme...)

    Obviously prayer does bring in salaries for some; largely by (i) conning others into thinking that they are not worthy; (ii) convincing them that they are not praying enough and/or (iii) that they, themselves don't
    *really* know what's best for them. (And which one of us can doubt the power of guilt, and isn't vice so very, very nice ;-)) This keeps them fearful and stupid enough to pay the guy with the Hell-fire and Brimstone's salary.

    What a dirty business....

    All of us can fool ourselves some of the time, but many of us can still fool ourselves all the time. Perhaps simply because religion is wonderfully self-serving and open to infinite *personal* interpretation.

    By the way, Thank God for religion: just imagine a society wherein guys who seriously believe in un-measurable force fields were also to make up the moral rules whereby we should all live! Keeping my hands off my neighbours wife is much less scary.

    As Flip Wilson used to say; "The devil made me do it...." and where's there sin there's redemption for the sinner and business for the pastor.

    There are good reasons why Jesus as a fall guy for our sins was such a good social invention. But I will leave that for a later post.

    Tonie putter

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