From: Jerry Bryson (email@example.com)
Date: Tue 24 Jan 2006 - 03:26:09 GMT
On Jan 23, 2006, at 4:26 PM, Dace wrote:
> Michelle writes:
>> "...The point of religion is bind oneself to divinity, to forge a
> with a power greater than oneself.For this reason, the essence of
> is humility...."
>> But, (pls correct me if I'm wrong), isn't this inate desire of
>> forging a
> link with a power greater oneself is the "product" of the fear of the
> from our hunter-gatherer ancestors?
> Barbara Ehrenreich makes an excellent case for this in her 1997 book,
> Rites.* ...
> So one God is born of fear, the other of love. One is merely a meme
> in the
> pool of human mentality, the other an expression of the pool itself.
That's an awful stretch. Really.
> Jerry writes:
>> On Jan 21, 2006, at 5:47 PM, Dace wrote:
>>> Ben writes:
>>>> A man believes he's the reincarnation of Elvis Presley. He's utterly
>>>> convinced of it. He brings his two young children up to believe he's
>>>> Elvis too, and demands that they address him as "The King". Every
>>>> Sunday, he takes them to the local music hall and subjects them to a
>>>> horrendous karaoke rendition of his favourite Elvis classics. He
>>>> offers them each a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, in
>>>> commemoration of his past incarnation. He tells them that as long as
>>>> they stay true and believe in the Power Of The Quiff, they'll all go
>>>> to Elvis-land when they die and make some great rock-and-roll music
>>>> It's a relatively harmless belief, just like Christianity, and just
>>>> like your faith in Christianity, it's a belief that is based on the
>>>> man's subjective personal experience.
>>>> OK, it's a hypothetical situation (I hope), but do you think this
>>>> man's behaviour is ethical?
>>> I hope Kate doesn't mind me jumping in here.
>>> It is absolutely unethical for this man to impose his delusion onto
>> He doesn't know this is an illusion. It's ethical in his case; he's
>> acting in good faith. If we think something is true, we tell the
> Hitler thought he was the savior of Germany. Does that make the
In Hitler's eyes, I suppose so. Many of us don't agree.
>>> But this says nothing about religion. The word "religion" is
>>> derived from the Latin "ligare" meaning to bind. The point of
>>> religion is
>>> bind oneself to divinity, to forge a link with a power greater than
>> And to the nation-state
> As Ehrenreich observes, the institution of human sacrifice evolved into
> warfare. Instead of the priest slaughtering the victim, he must only
> "sanctify" the battlefied, at which point the victims can slaughter
> other. The nation-state is the modern predator beast and therefore the
> modern God, always seeking new prey to satiate its blood-lust. The US
> "founding fathers" insisted on separating church and state, in part,
> so as
> to create a new religion built around the state, a distinctly
> creed in which the new God, while commanding allegiance at home, is
> free to
> prowl the earth in search of new victims. Seems their project is
> along quite nicely!
Hmm... And where, exactly, does this show up in the writings of the
>>> For this reason, the essence of religion is humility. To the extent
>>> religion teaches humility and respect, there's nothing unethical
>>> cultivating this belief in children.
>> No doubt, Daddy was teaching children to be humble before him.
> That's not humility. That's humiliation.
>>> The Elvis man is doing exactly the opposite. Essentially, he's
>>> divine and incorporated it into his own inflated ego. This
>>> example, strange as it seems, isn't very far removed from what
>>> happened with L Ron Hubbard and the "church" of Scientology. Hubbard
>>> himself into the god around which his church revolves. While
>>> Christians aren't quite as bold as Hubbard, they tend to treat God as
>>> of an alter ego.
>> Need examples here; I didn't see this as I grew up fundamentalist.
> President Bush's biggest backers in the invasion and occupation of
> Iraq are
> fellow fundamentalists. In identifying themselves-- to the exclusion
> nonbelievers-- with God, both the righteousness and the success of
> cause are guaranteed. As Bush says, God told him to invade. He
> wanted to
> invade for personal and geopolitical reasons but justified it through
> association with God. On his own he's puny and weak, but through his
> ego, you might say, he's mighty and unstoppable.
Yes, this goes on, as a political tactic. And it may not be working as well as hoped. People are backing away from this unholy union; Pat Robertson has pretty well discredited himself over the ID question. I think that is the real meaning of "taking God's name in vain."
>>> The infantile need to be all-powerful is institutionalized
>>> in the form of cultlike churches in which humility is brushed aside
>>> of taking pride at one's special relationship with the Almighty.
>>> Those who
>>> don't belong to the only true church are to be despised and cast into
>>> rather than being respected as children of God who took a different
>> Some do, some don't. Frex, most Christians recognize those of
>> different denominations as Christian--just a little off-track. As for
>> that "special relationship with the Almighty," that's what brings
>> everybody to the same level. There is a difference between narcissism
>> and the positive self-image that comes from this relationship of God
>> and each human. And proper Christians will tell everybody that
>> relationship is open to all.
> As I say, religion is double-stranded.
It's your *other* strand I can't run with.
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"In theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they're
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
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For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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