Religion is Social Control

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posted on Apr, 12 2007 @ 04:40 PM
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I do think, however, that we are seeing the breakdown of social boundary's as a result of this new (ish) spirituality, which brings me back to the religion/social control thing.
I wouldn't argue that it was a bad thing for everyone - but the motto is "Deny Ignorance"





posted on Apr, 12 2007 @ 05:29 PM
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yeah i tell you personally i m ready for this breakdown or shakedown or whatever you want to call it.

I m tired of the world as it is now.
I m tired of the constant wars.
I m tired of people dying for no cause.
I m tired of people dying of hunger/thirst.
I m tired of people turning the other way
etc. etc.

People as a group are a force to be recon with... why why dont we all just stand together for ONE cause. Together we can do soooo much.



posted on Apr, 12 2007 @ 07:41 PM
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Originally posted by theTRUTHtheWAY
People are posting that they read the bible the quran etc.



posted on Apr, 13 2007 @ 07:54 AM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
no it doesn't. i'm reading the koran now because i like to read mythology and learn about other cultures, but i'm not reading it for spiritual reasons. i read the bible to dissect it and show people how the religions based off of it are......... outdated


Regardless of the motives, I think the big point was that a lot of progress has happened. Many people in the past couldn't read if they wanted to (illiterate). Even if they could read, they could not read whatever they wanted or question beliefs. We've had really great progress in that direction IMO.



posted on Apr, 13 2007 @ 07:59 AM
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I wanted to also throw out there that I agree religion has often not delivered. I'm defending organized religion. I am sincere about that defense, but I also believe that religion has failed many times in the past.



posted on Apr, 13 2007 @ 08:09 AM
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You may not read it for spiritual reasons. There is people that wouldnt touch a quaran for example.... to them its a devil........Maybe you are already more spiritually enlightened than someone who objects reading or even touching any other holy book.



posted on Apr, 13 2007 @ 06:15 PM
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Originally posted by theTRUTHtheWAY

Originally posted by budski
a fair point - but i think it's more a turn away from organised religion, whilst retaining individual spirituality


Yes, you make a good point that i forgot to include. I believe individual spirituality is growing... you can see this even in this thread:

People are posting that they read the bible the quran etc.



posted on Apr, 13 2007 @ 06:51 PM
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Originally posted by budski
Religion had provided us with barriers, and then those barriers disappeared, so now we have free spirits (which is great), with no social responsibility(which is bad)


Exactly my point but I wouldnt go as far as saying "disappeared". Barriers still exist you just dont know about them because no one was ever taught.

So with no social responsibility you may think you can do whatever you want... be it good or bad. Which leads us to the conflict of deciding exactly what is good and what is bad.. where is the barrier?



posted on Apr, 13 2007 @ 07:32 PM
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I understand the argument that "religion is just social control." Emile Durkheim, an anthropologist in the last century said that "what religion actually worships is---society itself."


And yet that sentiment doesn't square with the hinges of history. Just look at American history.

-The founding of Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Utah, and others

-The Abolition of Slavery

-The Anti-masonic movement

-Universal Suffrage

-The Abolition of Alcohol

-The Civil Rights movement.

Every one of these social movements, in addition to causing crisis and social upheaval that led to riots, every one of them was . . . rooted in religion.

America isn't uniuqe, either. The history of Holland, England, Germany, every nation, is the story of upheaval cause when relgious people got serious about their religion, and quit being hypocrites.

It's even true of other religions. The role of Gandhi's faith in Indian independence; the role of Islam in world history, its transformation of Genghis Khan's empire, all of these are examples where religoius reformers battled the status quo in the name of righteousness.

Yes, religion can develop into an ossified social order. It can also cause revolution. Something largely overlooked in this thread.

.



posted on Apr, 14 2007 @ 06:56 AM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft

I understand the argument that "religion is just social control." Emile Durkheim, an anthropologist in the last century said that "what religion actually worships is---society itself."


And yet that sentiment doesn't square with the hinges of history. Just look at American history.

-The founding of Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Utah, and others

-The Abolition of Slavery

-The Anti-masonic movement

-Universal Suffrage

-The Abolition of Alcohol

-The Civil Rights movement.

Every one of these social movements, in addition to causing crisis and social upheaval that led to riots, every one of them was . . . rooted in religion.

America isn't uniuqe, either. The history of Holland, England, Germany, every nation, is the story of upheaval cause when relgious people got serious about their religion, and quit being hypocrites.

It's even true of other religions. The role of Gandhi's faith in Indian independence; the role of Islam in world history, its transformation of Genghis Khan's empire, all of these are examples where religoius reformers battled the status quo in the name of righteousness.

Yes, religion can develop into an ossified social order. It can also cause revolution. Something largely overlooked in this thread.

.


I understand your point, and yet these are all relatively modern events, given the length of time that religion has been around in various forms.
I would also argue that any social upheaval in the name of piety is another example of control, rather than religion itself being the driving force behind any social change, and that upheaval in the name of piety has sometimes been more damaging as a result.



posted on Apr, 14 2007 @ 10:18 AM
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Originally posted by budski

I understand your point, and yet these are all relatively modern events, given the length of time that religion has been around in various forms.



I tried to pick incedents from history that many posters would be familiar with. Hence the bias toward the USA. I could have used the Hussite uprisings or Wat Tyler's rebellion, but figured there weren't many medievalists here . . .




I would also argue that any social upheaval in the name of piety is another example of control, rather than religion itself being the driving force behind any social change. . .


But by that definition, any time one of us wants to "get his way," then it is a form of social control. Hence, every incedent in history is someone's attempt at social control. Not that I disagree, but then, religion is no more negative than any other social force, if they are all MERELY a bid for control.

I DO believe that the civil rights movement really WAS a religious impulse. Martin Luther King was a minister, not a politician. If you've ever read Why we can't wait, you can see his religoius rationale for social equality. More important, his most important writing in contemporary eyes was Letter from Birmingham Jail, which was written specifically to white ministers, imploring them to join the struggle on religious grounds . . .

Indeed, in The Sword That Heals, King argued for passive resistance precisely BECAUSE it was not intended to control other people, but awaken them to injustice, and then let them make their own response to evil.




and that upheaval in the name of piety has sometimes been more damaging as a result.


No argument there. Upheaval, regardless of the impetus, always has casualties.



posted on Apr, 14 2007 @ 12:13 PM
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good points, well made.
I would argue though, that events in the middle ages still represent comparatively modern events, given that religion of one form or another has been present throughout recorded history.
I think it is important to remember this, in that we are not dealing just with contemporary religion, but with religion throughout the ages.

The Greeks used religion as a tool to control the masses. They didn't do it in the same sense that it was done by the Romans much later, but they did it nonetheless. Robert Temple tells us, "You couldn't make war or peace, go on a journey, or get married without consulting some kind of oracle." I'll give you a few examples of how the Greek priests would deceive the masses as a means of establishing dominance and thereby helping them control the culture.


Delphi was regarded as the center of the universe at the time, and it was presided by Apollo himself.At the bottom was the Temple of Apollo. Governments stored their gold there, and it was considered to be the safest place in Greece.


In there (Temple of Apollo), a sybil (prophetess) would foretell the future. Kings, politicians, and the general public would travel high and low to speak to Apollo's sybil. Cities would rise and fall based on the advice of Apollo's sybil. When the Spartans conquered Athens and wanted to demolish it, the oracle at Delphi said that Apollo demanded that the city be saved, and that's the only reason we can still visit the Acropolis of Athens today.

When individuals would first arrive, they would have to pay a fee and write down their questions for the sybil in advance. The people would be put up in the temple for days, and the priests who ran the temple would extract news and gossip from them (much in the same manner that psychics extract information at seminars and whatnot).

Two geological fault lines crossed at the temple and the cracked limestone beneath contained petrochemicals which were released from the fault lines. Amongst the chemicals was ethylene (which was used as an anesthetic until the 1960's). It would cause the sybil to enter into pseudo-sedated trancelike state. She would speak nonsensically, and often "in tongues" and it was up to the priests to interpret what she was saying and make sure she was never wrong (For example, Croesus asked the oracle if he should invade Persia. The priests translated the oracle's response as, "If Croesus crossed the Halys, a great empire shall be brought down." After Croesus was defeated by the Persians, the priests protested saying "She never said which empire would fall." According to Wiki, this is one of the most famous oracular statements from Delphi).

Finally, the priests ran a network of carrier pigeons so that they would find out information about distant battles and whatnot weeks before anyone else. They would announce their findings as prophecies. A couple weeks later, word would hit town about the event, and the priests were praised for their prophetic accuracy.


That's just a small amount of the deceptive tactics that were used. There were also tactics to make people become very suggestable, such as the drugs (which would sometimes kill people) used at the oracle of Trophonios in the Water of Forgetfulness and Water of Memory; the drinks contained henbane, hellebore, thorn apple, belladonna, and opium, all of which are very strong hallucinatory poisons. Another method for making people suggestable was to put them in isolation for days (sensory deprivation) before letting them speak to the oracle. Many oracular sites also had walls that were up to 8ft thick and contained secret passages where priests could move around without being seen.

This is just a limited example, and many others exist, from mesopotamia, the inca's and the romans through to scientology, the catholic church, islam and even buddhism.



posted on Apr, 14 2007 @ 03:08 PM
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I won't argue with any of those examples.

But to put them in context, "social control" is an element of power. Those in power use religion, or any other social organization, to maintain their control.

Howabout another example from ancient Greece. The cult of Baccus, which was hated and feared by the rulers, because its priests were women. While they were in an ecstatic trance, they were believed to be acting on behalf of their god, and so were beyond the boundaries of society. Athens tried to eradicate the Baccae with every bit as much brutality as the Medieval Roman church would later use on other heretics.

If religion is used as a means of social control, so has every other institution in human society. Banks, the family, schools, all of those have been used just as mercilessly for control as religion has.

And true enough, the rebels against the established order use these selfsame institutions to wrest control. The Hussite movement, while religious, had definite nationalistic and economic ideals. In the modern era, schools are a political football, tossed about by competing power groups.

If anything, the secular forces like banks, schools, and governments are now aligned against religion, because it makes a competing claim on people's behavior.

The cases in front of the Supreme Court in the past 20 years bear this out. The SC rulings that native Americans have no preemtive claim to various 'sacred sites,' that peyote is not covered by 'freedom of religion,' that mangers cannot be displayed on government owned property, That a rabbi can be compelled to grant a divorce in violation of Torah, all of these show the SC's view that "God is a hobby" ---that no thinking person would genuinely order their lives based on supernatural impulses.


If anything, I'd modify your argument to say that religion in the West used to be a mechanism of social control, but is now seen as a personal "lifestyle choice."

Basically, what I'm saying is that Religion used to be a functional institution in western society. As such, the ruling elite often used it for social control. But just as often, rebellious counter-cultures gained power by claiming the "religious high-ground." i.e., my examples of abolition, civil rights, etc.

Now, you could argue that in much of middle-class america, religion is still appealed to, in order to affect people's voting habits, music, art, etc. But you could just as easily make my arguement. you could say that the "christian right" was a marginalized minority, that seized power by turning religious institutions to their advantage. In a mirror of what the african-american civil rights leadership did in the 1950s-1960s. The christian right has done so with another institution: the family. hence "family values" as a buzzword. They claim to have appropriated the family in their political struggle.

In my view, the various religions are simply social institutions, political pawns used by different power-grabbers. Those who cannot use religious institutions to their advantage become "anti-organized religion;" while those who find religion expedient, become hyper-religious.

In other words, power players treat religion as a tool, rather than as an end in itself.

That's a fairly useful definition of hypocrisy, come to think of it.

Part of it depends on your view of the paranormal. If you believe that the Delphine sybills were just "making stuff up," then it is an obvious con-job. If, however, you think the oracle may have been using an altered state to access her own subconscious, or the group subconscious, or something "out there," then it was more than a con-game. In that view, it was a brief, passing chance for humanity to evolve and grow up a little bit, before her ecstacy was taken over and institutionalized by the power-elite.

.



posted on Apr, 14 2007 @ 05:48 PM
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To be honest I mostly skimmed through this thread.
As far as I know Religare means closer to God or something similar and it´s my belive that this was the true meaning of it or it´s purpose.But as someone in this thread already pointed out,there will always be people who would exploit it for their own means.Religion has and is still being used as a form of social control or manipulation I´ll give you that..



posted on Apr, 16 2007 @ 02:16 AM
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Religion is nothing without its followers. It is a believe system, whether formed by one or many. Worshippers give power to the religion which controls their lives in one way or another as long as they continue to believe it.

So it is of vaital importance that religion continues to have as many worshippers as possible and for their worshippers to not question their faith. Religion disappears without it's followers.

Incorrect and incomplete information can be used to fool people into believing.

Religion is power. Followers give religion it's power, religions of deities, sciences, governments, people, etc.

Question is why would a God see the need to use religion as a tool for control, worship and obedience? Why does God need power? Or is it man who needs it?

[edit on 16-4-2007 by ixiy]



posted on Apr, 16 2007 @ 02:51 AM
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Of all forms of controlling a population religion has been the most successful that's for sure. Slavery would be a close second, that continues on at least a small scale to this day, and was standard practice the world over for thousands and thousands of years.

What makes religion so special is that it's a dual edge sword. It can be used to teach many good things like compassion, charity, hard work. It can be a great social networking tool for many people. But it also can be used as a tool of intimidation, bigotry, fear, hate.

So far no one has come up with a better system of mass control. One that can exploit the human need to believe in a higher power, the need to feel like we belong to a group, the need to feel justified in our action. Nationalism has been around for thousands of years and does much of this but it lacks the supernatural element religion has.



posted on Apr, 28 2007 @ 12:53 PM
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The breakdown of law and order which is currently affecting the UK, may be traced back to at least 2 events

1) The rise of secular society, with many having no religion except that of hedonism.

2) The "nanny state" where law breakers are "mis-understood" whilst law-abiders live in fear.

I am not an advocate of strict social control methods, but it may be argued, in this case, that there is a human need for order, whatever form it may take.

Unfortunately, religion has fallen by the wayside as a mechanism for social control (and it was perhaps the best) so now we are seeing a kind of anti-religion in aspects of social control, perpetuated by pseudo liberals, who seek only to impose their own mechanisms on the populace.




posted on May, 1 2007 @ 02:35 PM
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Actually, I was kind of thinking along those same lines a couple days ago. I was remembering this thread and then it occured to me -- the assumption here so far has been that any form of social control is inherently bad...

That's not really the case. Groups of people need at least some controls on behavior. Otherwise, extremes of self-interest in individuals tend to harm others. Those others don't want to be harmed.

If you have no social control, what's to stop someone from murdering you when you cut them off in traffic? It sounds ridiculous. That's not right! But why isn't it right? You have to have a reason -- that is where morality enters the picture.

Organized religion is the system of establishing morality and to some extent enforcing it.

If religion doesn't do this job, some other insitution has to (government).



posted on May, 1 2007 @ 02:50 PM
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I think that one of the main aspects of religion is that people impose some control (at least to a degree) on themselves.
It is for this reason that I believe that government imposed control is doomed to failure - people have to want to be controlled, and religion fulfills this need, through a reward system, albeit a subtler one than perhaps governments could manage.



posted on May, 11 2007 @ 07:07 PM
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Originally posted by Perfect Fifth
I wanted to also throw out there that I agree religion has often not delivered. I'm defending organized religion. I am sincere about that defense, but I also believe that religion has failed many times in the past.


This was a singularly good phrase - if I had the power (;-)) I'd applaud you for the boldness and honesty of your statement.





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