Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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Religious Evolution

I find it fascinating that people are not just debating the truth or validity of religion, but actually debating its worth. Does our multiplicity of religions help humans on their ascent to illumination, or is it pulling us down the slope? The answer is: both are right.

What Patrick brought to Ireland was an improvement to the people's world view. Instead of malicious and capricious spirits bent on one's misery if not placated with sacrifical offerings of humans… that evilness became smaller and less threatening under the justice and love of an all-powerful God who will send you to Hell if not placated with morality.

But with all the wars, inquisitions and crusades of this new religion, if all it did was end human sacrifice, it was a big improvement. Granted, the conquered Mayans missed the point that Jesus was supposed to be the last human sacrifice, and thought the priests with their bloody symbol of a human on a cross, would be impressed with them if they increased their sacrifical quota.

However, the Celtic and Mayan religions were improvements to the religions they supplanted. The best explanation I've heard for this sort of evolutionary improvement is from Robert Pirisig, in his book Lila, where he compares the static good and the dynamic good. You see, an improvement comes along in the capacity of being a dynamic force for good, and overthrows the oppressive establishment. However, if this "good" doesn't become the new establishment, and becomes a static force, the improvement is lost.

But now this static structure, while originally good, and probably working goodness for a while, now becomes the oppressive establishment and needs to be overthrown by a new, dynamic good. To come full circle, religion isn't good, if it doesn't continually knock down the previous superstitious religion for a more enlightened version.

However, while politics don't have to even give lip service to the previous regime, religions have a hard time claiming authority without paying a certain tithe to the previous religion. I suppose this is the real reason why there is a clear evolution tree of religion. Christianity comes out of Judaism, Protestantism comes out of Catholicism, Mormonism comes out of Protestantism, etc.

So with that in mind, what are we to do with our current crop of religions? They seem to be killing more people than they are saving, so perhaps we should come up with some new ones? I'm sure every one has one they'd like to nominate, eh?

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