- --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "walto" <calhorn@...> wrote:
>I'd argue that they subsist on -or rather, exploit- that need. One could say church-goers pray, and churches prey. :)
> As JDK will be quick to tell you, I'm not terribly sympathetic to organized religion, and I generally agree with Matt's post. The only thing I'd disagree with (as being overly cynical) is the claim that the main point of these organizations involves clergy enrichment. I think the main basis has always been human fear of death and separation. Or, more generally, loneliness. So religions fill a natural need. No doubt the organizations take advantage of those frailties and (like nationalism and sports) play on homerism/team spirit, which has often just translated into fear and loathing of other such groups. And they have been more than willing to scoop up the money, power, land, etc. to be gained from the business. But I don't think that the greed preceded the need.
> What interesting along these lines are Dennett's recent findings that the so much of the clergy tends to believe so much less of their doctrines than their parishioners. They go to seminary because of their needs/beliefs, but they learn there that it's mostly hocum. E.g., they may be taught as children that the Bible is the divine word of God, but when they get to seminary they learn how it was actually scraped together. And they find that many of the arguments they bought as children are actually fallacious or contrary to the modern science that brought them airplanes and microwaves.Another point I want to make here, is that I don't necessarily argue that the clergy does this knowingly. As you point out, many surely do. But that's somewhat irrelevant to the point; it's the entire organism of the religion that does the exploiting. That said, its definitely more repugnant when the church was set up and exists specifically to knowingly exploit people, as is the case with Scientology or one of those churches run by a "faith healer."
> Anyhow, even though it's a huge and painful revelation for many of these students, many of them have gone so far down their career path they just stay on it. They come to feel that both they and their churchgoers get something out of the malarky and convince themselves that it decreases suicides or increases charity or whatever else makes them feel ok about living in that fashion.
It's an interesting way of looking at human institutions. What's really interesting is that, even though Henry George was a devout Christian, he argued somewhat along these lines. In SPE, he argued at length of how societies are like a great organism, with the culture as its organs, and the state as its brain.
- JDK,Those who survive are presumably the fittest to survive for the "fittest" just describes those who have survived.With regard to your last sentence – Stalin got there first.Harry
********************The Alumni GroupThe Henry George Schoolof Los AngelesTujunga CA 90243(818) 352-4141********************
On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 9:54 AM, JDKromkowski <jdkromkowski@...> wrote:Evolution is not really: the survival of the "fittest" It is just survival of that which survives. Evolution is a way of describing the process of how variation within a population will lead to variation eventually of species. There are plenty of genes along for the ride which are not particularly "the fittest".Yes the survival of the two apostolic lungs of Christianity (Catholics and the Eastern church) despite its massive weakness and in fact embracement of weakness of the god who becomes human and is rejected and put to death is a puzzle and crazy on its face. It drove Nietzsche crazy (well that and syphillus drove him crazy). It also drove the communists crazy too. Massive defense? How many tanks does the church have?Jdk
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On Nov 16, 2012, at 11:26 PM, "mattbieker" <agrarian.justice@...> wrote:
--- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, John David Kromkowski <jdkromkowski@...> wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM, mattbieker <agrarian.justice@...
> > wrote:
> > The catholic church has one real function: serving the clergy. When it
> > was able to, it dominated a large swath of the earth in an imperial form.
> > It can't now, so it fills out whatever niches it can; but the main thing is
> > ensuring that members of clergy don't have to go and get real jobs.
> Thanks for sharing this one too. I'm getting better picture of Land Cafe.
> It really is best if we get it all out in the open. It's for the same
> reason I won't hide my background.
> This isn't a cocktail party, where we need to avoid the topic for
> charitable purposes - or at least for the purposes of not interfering with
> mutual love of beer or gin or your choice. I'd still have a beer in
> Baltimore (once), with any of you clowns.
*shrugs* Whatever one thinks of Roy's evolutionary basis for morals, I think there's fairly clearly a pseudo-evolutionary basis for ideas and institutions. Dawkins made this case in his "The Selfish Gene." Basically, ideas are duplicated, with variation, in the minds of individuals; from there, it's survival of the fittest. The conceptual equivalent to a gene being a "meme." Why do religious institutions survive despite being a load of crap that generally act as a drain on society? They're very advanced critters in the world of memes; they've evolved a whole host of defenses to offset their massive weaknesses, such as the notion that it's not polite or even acceptable to question a man's faith, or that without beliefs in these memes, we have no basis for social behavior.
Catholicism isn't necessarily the most egregious case of this sort of memetic virus (that has to go to Scientology, don't you think?), but that's what it is, and all the bottom line of them all is the same: enrichment (both financial as well as emotional) of clergy. Still and all, its senseless and generally ad-hoc opposition to contraception, even in the light of AIDS epidemics, is horrible enough in and of itself to give me a fairly thoroughgoing distaste for it in particular, and I'd pretty much rather not see any meme I deem useful or good to be mixed up with it.
Personally, I think one of the best parts of online discussion is that there's less tendency to hold back one's beliefs; many lament this, saying that the internet just makes everyone rude because they don't fear social repercussions, but I believe there's inherent value there, as it allows for a more rapid evolution of memes. The noise and nastiness comes with the territory, and I think people will just eventually find a new normal.
One common Christian meme is certainly right though: hate the sin, and not the sinner. I agree, I'd have a beer with any of you. It's worth making a conscious effort not to take attacks against our beliefs too personally, because it turns out everyone tends to be wrong quite often.