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Nothing New Under The Sun
(the ARX acta diurna)
The biggest problem imo with organized religion
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bellatrys From: bellatrys Date: December 7th, 2009 08:54 am (UTC) (Link)


"Pay/give status to someone else to show you how to be a better you." - it's like paying someone else to do pushups hoping you'll become healthier in the process...

Well, the argument is that it's like hiring a personal trainer or a coach...but yeah, it often turns out like "You do the exercising, we'll reap the benefits!" Clericalism as a division of labor to appease predatory gods makes a certain amount of common sense; Clericalism in an ananda-based religious system becomes ever less theologically justifiable. But then, for all the talk of "joy" and "love" and "inner peace" it usually is a fearful one of old predatory gods, underneath. So you end up with the worst sort of feudalism, an elite supported by the labors and wealth of the "lower" classes and immune from the rules, in the name of "protecting" and "serving" as Spiritual Warriors and Lords Bountiful.

Or you can have the worst of both worlds: not just an an elite who gets away - as in the recently-revisted in light of the Murphy Report case of Bernadette Connolly with even murder, but who at least take on the "burden" of doing all that propitiation stuff, but also a populace who is haunted by the same fears of ritual impurity and impiety that the sacrifices of the priestly classes are supposed to be taking care of, though with no confidence in their own ability to take spiritual care of themselves. It may be an inevitable result of social pressures to justify supporting a Standing Clerical Army, in spite of the questionable theology, the need to convince the majority that yes, Virginia, there ARE armies of demons and that's why you need to subsidize the Watchers' Council and their Slayers resulting in a haunted & miserable populace who find no comfort in the Invisible Rat Catchers' assurances of their ability to whistle away the Invisible Rats - I don't know. It could just be simple human heirarchicalism born of innate authoritarian impulses, fixing on whatever target is at hand regardless of logic, too, combined with that need to feel *some* sort of control over life and the universe and everything.

IMO it comes down to what does more harm - "an it harm none" being a good counteractant against fanaticism of the sort that leads to Jansenism or mandatory atheism (I don't see much difference really) and attempts to purge out folkways in the name of purity and avoidance of superstition.

But the flip side of that is that you *do* have to ask if it's doing harm, and sometimes it is. Sometimes the comfort it gives is that of the barbituate bottle or the heroin syringe, and *damaging* to the one who holds on to it and to others.
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