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Could this be the real reason for religion?

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posted on Aug, 17 2006 @ 11:53 AM
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Originally posted by Englishman_in_Spain
Hey ArbitraryGuy, what a brilliant response, thank you.

I had never considered myself to have anything in common with Karl Marx before, but clearly I see that we share certain views in this regard.


Thank you.

The writings and philosophies of Karl Marx have been so distorted and misrepresented in popular thought, that many people are surprised how much they actually may agree with him on some points.


Originally posted by Toromos
Marx might say, given our analysis of wealth indexed to religiosity, it might stand to reason that the perceived wealth in the U.S. is held by a very few people, while the masses themselves turn to religion due to their lack of input into the mode of production.


And Marx might further add that they turn to religion because the alienation caused by the capitalist mode of production (especially in its current, extreme form) contradicts the universal part of the essence of human nature, i.e. the part of human nature that demands the individual be connected with the general. The underclass thus finds a false universality in religion. Incidentally, many argue (and I agree) that post-modernism is also a symptom of such extreme alienation and the philosophy of capitalism.


Originally posted by Toromos
His [Strauss'] basic argument, if I've understood him correctly, is that religion is useful as a means for the intelligentsia of a society to maintain control, as it keeps the common man's more vulgar aspirations and drives in check.


That's very interesting. I've never dabbled too much into Strauss, who is, as you point out, very important for current American political philosophy.

I found this somewhat akin to Thomas Malthus, who argued that by keeping, to use your words, "man's more vulgar aspirations and drives in check," religious morals act as an important check on population growth. This keeps the poorer classes from exploding in population and gaining too much power (for Malthus’ tastes). Such an argument is probably less valid today that in Malthus' time; because, although the ratio of urban workers to the upper classes is greater and more pronounced, the capitalist mode of production has endogenously found ways of perpetuating itself despite the numerical supremacy of those with interests counter to such a system.

P.S. Thanks for your kind U2U, Toromos. I don't have 20 posts yet, so I couldn't thank you privately.

EDIT: Clarity.

[edit on 17-8-2006 by ArbitraryGuy]




posted on Aug, 17 2006 @ 07:06 PM
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Interesting discussion!

The French Philosopher Rene Girad maintained that in order for a society to function in a cohesive manner it must have a way to assuage humanities more violent natural impulses. Christianity, he claimed, had done this through having a 'founding sacrifice' as its central figure. This allowed belivers to project their aggressive impulses towards this figure (scapegoat) and the ritual of his horrific death rather than ouward into the community.

I'm not sure how far this theory (of a founding sacrifice) would apply to other organised world religions though?



posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 07:28 AM
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Originally posted by Winefried
Interesting discussion!

The French Philosopher Rene Girad maintained that in order for a society to function in a cohesive manner it must have a way to assuage humanities more violent natural impulses. Christianity, he claimed, had done this through having a 'founding sacrifice' as its central figure. This allowed belivers to project their aggressive impulses towards this figure (scapegoat) and the ritual of his horrific death rather than ouward into the community.

I'm not sure how far this theory (of a founding sacrifice) would apply to other organised world religions though?


Girard put forward the theory of mimetic violence, yes? Where the competition over desires results in the sacrifice of a "peace token" for lack of a better term, and thus this person become sacred? Could be interesting to explaining the force of persuasion for many Christians.

Dang, but ATS needs a philosophy forum!



posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 09:11 PM
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Using the sacred to overcome competing desires - sums up organised religion and its conspiracies for me. Girard's deconstruction highlights a system in which artifice is used to subjugate 'difference' by making it the negative of an oppositional pair. The scapegoat (difference/weakness/victim) becomes divine through sacrifice.

Nevertheless, I maintain that in this post modern era, we are moving towards a period in which the sacred scapegoat can no longer maintain cultural cohesion. The traditional desires of patriarchy and capitalism and the conspiracies they engender, cannot maintain their control in the face of the rising tide of spirituality (not necessarily religion) that celebrates difference.



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