09 January 2016
Ancient Versus Modern Views of Religion
"I'M GOD! WHO THE HELL ELSE WOULD I BE?!"
Ancient people were not stupid. Did the Greeks really believe the gods were people who sat on Mount Olympos doing all the crazy stuff in the myths? Probably very few did, but most were smart enough to see the truth of the stories. They were written as a way to get a point across about very complicated subjects in way that was easy to assimilate and remember. The gods are so obviously anthropomorphized versions of abstract qualities. Aries is unchecked rage and Athena is the rational mind that takes over in warfare, the two primary ways in which people fight. These are psychological qualities that are represented as people as a form of shorthand.
It's just like, where did the idea that the Christian God is Zeus + Santa Claus come from? Maybe people, possibly idiots, would look at woodcuts from the middle ages and see images of a bearded God, but those are just a form of short hand. They're like using G to stand for the gravitational constant. When a physicist today writes G in an equation, or draws a diagram of electrons orbiting an atom like mini planets that's not meant to be taken literally, it's just an easy to remember reference. No physicist thinks electrons are little balls circling around the nucleus just like no medieval theologian thought God looked like an old man in the clouds (nor did the Bible writers). And where does the idea that God shoots lightning bolts come from?
Judaism and Islam both have strict prohibition against any depiction of God, and Christianity was like that for a long time too. Jesus had taken human form, so there's nothing wrong there, but God the Father is formless, and everybody knew that for a thousand years. At most artists would depict a hand reaching out from the clouds as a representation of God's interaction with the world, but no one believed God really had hands or lived in the clouds. It was not until much later that restrictions were relaxed and then a bunch of people who probably didn't believe in God all that strongly began experimenting with art and started to depict God in human form.
When losers and defeatists within the naytheist and the "new age" community always bring up the idea of God as Santa + Zeus living in the clouds, this is either a symptom of extreme laziness or is a deliberate malicious presentation of a cartoon version of God that no one believes in so as to mock religion. "I believe in 'god' (Gaia, The Force, whatever bullshit extremely watered-down abstraction "new age" people like to use) but I don't believe in 'god' as an old man in the clouds." Well, neither does anyone. Neither HAS anyone, ever, believed God was an old man in the clouds. It's an artistic representation, not meant to be taken as literal. Don't be stupid. The "new age" person implicitly continues in the original statement "I believe in a god that is my own ego, that permits me to do whatever I want and makes me happy without imposing any restrictions, because restrictions are meanness, not like recommendations from a doctor or a therapist 'if you want to improve X aspect of your life, here's a list of activities you should do. If you want to run a four minute mile, here's a workout regiment, if you want to know Truth, here's a method for looking into the deepest aspects of your mind.'"
Don't be stupid. The purpose of religion is not to stroke your ego, the purpose of religion is to completely and permanently destroy your ego. You're not supposed to like it. You're not supposed to like the restrictions placed on your animal nature. Religion is not a social club, it's not dancing or sticking your ass into the air on a vinyl mat or detoxing with green coffee enemas after a night of anonymous sex and heroin use.
That's why I can't stand the three main groups of people engaged in the whole religion issue, because they're all profoundly misinformed and anti-intellectual.
You have the naytheists who go to revival meetings where they bray about how they don't believe in God and worship "science" which makes as much sense as worshiping algebra. "Science" is nothing, can do nothing, has done nothing. Individual scientists - causal agents - are responsible for all the discoveries of "science". These people read the inner flap of Dick-to-the-Dawk-to-the-PhD's book and then know-it-all-ism takes place. They think a re-packaged argument that the Scholastics refuted a thousand years ago is the be all end all of religion and then they act like douchebag teenagers.
You have "new age" or "spiritual but not religious" people who are suffused with holier than thou mentality because they're not Christian and they worship the cultural zeitgeist of postmodern cultural marxism. That's what being "spiritual but not religious" means: Cultural Marxism + belief in The Force from Star Wars. If the TV comedian tells you to believe something about religion or politics or anything, that's what you believe in coupled with literal belief in The Force. You dare not say God, because that's masculinist. You'll worship gaya or divine vagina or midichlorians because it's softer and not judgmental of deviant behaviour, it's just super duper judgmental of the values that built Western culture and invented everything you use on a daily basis.
Then you have the super duper throwback Lutherians. I think they are called Evangelicals, but they worship the perversion of Christianity invented by Martin Luther, the most Devil obsessed man in the history of the world. The Catholic Church had, and still has, a tremendous intellectual tradition. Most of the great Western universities began as Catholic seminaries. The Church preserved the Graeco-Roman world while books were being burned everywhere else for firewood. Then Luther came along and decided to do the exact opposite of everything Jesus actually said and invented a religion out of it. If Jesus said sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and not to worry about life, God will provide for you, Luther believed to work from the moment you open your eyes until the moment you pass out at night, never have a moment of fun, and hoard all your money like a miser, never spending a cent. Poor? The poor don't deserve charity, they should start a business. Intellectual tradition? One book is sufficient. Read the Bible and throw everything else out, including the newspaper. These people worship ignorance. The more ignorant they are the prouder they are. It's the same worship of ignorance and reliance of a single book that makes Islam the scourge of God. These people are the anti-naytheists. Naytheists worship "science", Luther's followers don't believe science exists. It's witchcraft. The Church a thousand years ago said witches are fake and the world is not demon haunted. It was a much later development, of Luther's followers, who invented the idea of witches and demons having unlimited power. UFOs are demons! They want to challenge your ignorance of one book! Ghosts are demons! Never mind that the Bible mentions genuine encounter with deceased spirits and says they were who they said they were, with Saul contacting Samuel, not a demon impersonating Samuel, and Jesus brought Moses and Elijah's spirits on the mountain, not demons impersonating them to test your faith. That voice you hear on the telephone is a demon! Medicine is a trick by demons! These people are obsessed with demons. That's all they ever think about. Everything is a demon to them.
And that's very nearly all the people you'll find on the Internet, and probably in real life too. Douchebag teenagers who "know" God doesn't exist because Newton can predict the gravitational constant, Cultural Marxists who worship deviancy, and demon obsessed hillbilly Christians who are proud of ignorance. And how far have I deviated from the original topic?