Re: virus: Why People Believe in Religion

B. Lane Robertson (
Thu, 25 Feb 1999 15:05:07 PST

A tendency toward animism (Is this the same? Meaning to give objects human characteristics...) MIGHT lead to "religion" (a slippery word) in the sense that a person who self-negates and attributes their actions circularly to the necessity exhibited (in their observation) to certain objects which "require" being placated in order that the person can find *self* completion in the good characteristics of these objects of desire (as in idolatry)... animism might lead to religion in the case of deliberate self-promotion. I say this because heathenism (self-as-god) suggests power in the form of physical
accomplishment (through the attainment of control over such objects). BUT, the basic assumption of distinct objects which act as a system to negate individual promotion suggests that a single omnipotent "object" doesn't exist (except perhaps as a symbolic scepter... this is a Catholic idea, or a monarchistic argument).

As to a bicameral split: This is an argument for emotion... such that no single *thought* is without its opposite. As such, two perceived "truths" must be resolved to a single feeling state which can't be represented in an objective way (but which may be felt, as in "love" between two such individuals). While this DOES resolve to a type of "faith" in the basic notion of "good", the type of "god" that this tends to suggest is one which is un-accessible to humankind. This is a protestant notion of god as spirit and establishes an ethic for social behavior but doesn't establish a moral code for individual behavior. Such a religion is pagan... and is given lip-service by "rote" but is never internalized as an active force.

As to the good-mother/ bad-mother split: This really resolves to a trinity (good-mother, bad-mother, NO-mother-- or mother at odds with herself). As this suggests good self, bad self, and ultimately NO self; it manifests most often in *mysticism*, atheism, and scientific skepticism.

You have left out an important observation-- "Presence". As self-observation suggests that there is "something" which exists, and as this something has observable effects, and since these effects can't be attributed to chance (without violating the first observation... that what exists DOES exist rather than-- by chance-- existing only sometimes or possibly not at all); thus, a primary cause is suggested which acts lawfully.

Religion is the action of a causative agent (an individual) working within the arena of effect (which is *aware* of this action as regards the change it causes). This "effect" circularly requires that the agent question his own existence since the manifestation of change is not explained completely through observing the immediate effect (bringing about *consciousness*). This allows for the justification of one's actions according to the logic defined by that which precedes the individual's existence (it allows for
*self-consciousness*... as realized symbolically through the subtraction of one's effect as this relates to the beginning assumption that one is prime cause).

Being *present* in the moment and realizing one's immediate effect, one sees the causative "self" and discovering this intuits a prime cause which includes self but which transcends the immediate.

----Original Message Follows----
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 13:02:06 -0700
From: Freespeak <>
Subject: virus: Why People Believe in Religion Reply-To:

In my opinion, there are three fundamental reasons why people believe in religion.

The first factor is the human predilection for anthropomorphism. See '#TL05AB: ANTHROPOMORPHISM AND

[The above was inspired by the book 'Faces in the Clouds:
A New Theory of Religion' by Stewart Guthrie -- mentioned
on this list some months ago.]

The second factor is what remains in the human brain
and psyche from our "bicameral heritage." See 'The Other
Side of Religion'
with particular emphasis on 'Appendix - The Biological Basis
for Religion.'

The third factor can be inferred from Al Siebert's book,
'Peaking Out: How My Mind Broke Free from the Delusions
of Psychiatry.' It could be called the
phenomenon. It derives from Melanie Klein's insight she
called the "good-mother/bad-mother split": "...each infant
experiences two different beings in its life -- a good,
powerful, nurturing, comforting, all-knowing being and
a bad, hurting, dangerous one." [Look up "Melanie Klein"
in the Index.]

These factors may also illuminate why certain memes are
more powerful than others.

Frederick Mann

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