Re: Religion and narcissism

From: Dace (
Date: Sun 29 Jan 2006 - 21:11:46 GMT

  • Next message: Kenneth Van Oost: "Fw: Religion and evidence/ for Kate"

    Keith writes:

    > At 01:26 PM 1/23/2006 -0800, "Dace" <> wrote:
    > >Barbara Ehrenreich makes an excellent case for this in her 1997 book,
    > >Rites.* Human societies were so accustomed to periodically losing
    > >to animal predation that the inevitability of human sacrifice became
    > >ingrained in our worldview. So successful was this meme that it lived on
    > >long after animal predation ceased to be a major factor in human life.
    > >Prior to this time, attack by wild animals, especially lions, tigers and
    > >bears, was so common
    > Is there evidence for significant predation on humans since we started
    > chipping rocks? (2.2 million years or so)

    There's evidence of significant predation on humans right down to the present day, particularly in India. The New York Times reported that 33 children were killed by wolves in the summer of 1996 in the state of Uttar Pradesh. A study of the Gir Forest in Western India found up to 40 lion attacks on humans each year between 1978 and '91. Even in the American West, mountain lion attacks occur with alarming frequency. I myself was chased by a mountain lion down a hillside overlooking Boulder Colorado in the summer of '87. When I got to the bottom of the hill and told my friends what had happened, one guy asked if I was sure it wasn't just a dog. Yeah, I was sure. Dogs don't sound like a cross between a kitten and a Harley Davidson. Sightings of mountain lions on the eastern range of the Rockies continued increasing after that, and the first killings of people occurred by the summer of '90, if memory serves.

    > I have a hard time imagining significant predation
    > on humans who had fire at least half a million years ago.

    The earliest conclusive evidence of the artificial creation of fire only goes back 15,000 years, to a Belgian site that includes a single iron pyrite ball with deep grooves from repeated striking. It was also about this time that effective long-range weapons came into use, which greatly enhanced our ancestors' ability to hunt and kill animals. This was the era when humans were making the transition from prey to predator, just prior to the onset of organized warfare. With the end of the ice age and the emergence of "man the hunter," both prey and predator populations collapsed worldwide. We can be certain that how ever much predation we endure today, it was vastly more 15,000 years ago. Ehrenreich refers to predation as the "original trauma" that triggered the rise of fear-based religion.


    > > 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
    > > unChristian
    > > 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
    > > coming
    > > along quite nicely!
    > Hmm... And where, exactly, does this show up in the writings of the
    > founders?

    Fair enough. This was probably not consciously intended by the FFs (I can't find my source who claims otherwise). According to Ehrenreich, the civil religion, also known as the cult of the flag, didn't get going in the US until about 1900, following the conquest of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Later, the phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance and "IN GOD WE TRUST" was inscribed on our currency. Far from the God of Christianity, this God is more concerned with order and law than salvation and love. As Ehrenreich says, it's the Old Testament God,
    "short-tempered and tribalistic."


    p.s. thanks to Chris for his positive comments!

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