Monthly Archives: March 2016

Social Class Changes the Development of Religion (Research Idea)

Scientology targeted the rich, while Christianity and Santa Muerte began with the poor. This raises the question, “How does class affect the way a new religion develops?”

For instance, would a religion started by the upper-class be more sophisticated, more philosophical, and more self-serving? Would it support elitism and traditions that favored the ruling class? (In older times the Roman elites were the last to switch to Christianity, and in the modern times, the more affluent spiritualists have switched to Neopaganism, New agism, or Wicca.)

Would a religion developed by peasants rely on simpler Gods and taboos? Would it be loaded with stories of miracles, and focus entirely on survival?

If anyone can recommend a book or article that tries to interpret the history of religion through a socio-economic lens, please let me know. It’s the sort of thing I might have been motivated enough to write a good thesis on, had I been a religious studies major.

My preliminary google searches have been frustrating, since the keywords yield websites that discuss how religiosity and Atheism correlate to class (Christianity basically declines with class, I’ve know that for a long time, and it’s boring to read about now.) I’m looking this is a separate sociological question, and it’d be nice if the internet would get serious about tracing the roots of religion, and talk about something other than Christianity. But it’s gratifying to know that if you’re not quickly finding the answer, you’ve probably stumbled onto an uncommon question. If I knew another language, or some common sociology keywords, I might readily find the interpretation I’m searching for faster though.

Current reading:

http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/Stratification.htm

http://www.sociology.org.uk/relspos.pdf

Update:

I don’t see what people mean when they suggest doing deep research to discover the power behind beliefs? People easily believe all sorts of crazy things. (Btw, I have found out that women tend to be the more likely to switch to new religions/sects, in early Christianity, in the Great Awakening, Mormonism, or in Neo-Paganism. They then indoctrinate their children at the age when studies show they are more susceptible to trusting in authority, and circular reasoning.)

 

Well I would like to research the origin of these religions, but I’m not sure how. The scriptures are entirely unreliable for every ancient religion…I would probably have more success if I were to instead lay hold on a book about modern cults written by a non-Christian, since they’re better at being objective on religion. Unfortunately the Religious Studies major is predominately populated by Christians, and I don’t trust any book that describes another religion, but which was written primarily as a defense of the Christian God.

 

I’ve been thinking about how to work around this problem, but for now I have decided it’s probably not worth going through the frustration of trying to figure it out from scratch. Maybe if I’m lucky, before I die I’ll find out that someone has written a popular book about it. I just wish I was born in a later era, when organized religion had retreated, and I could quickly find neutral answers about founders without having the search results drowned in nonsense from Evangelicals that slander ever other sect. Considering how much we’ve advanced within the last century, I’m quite positive I’d have been much happier if I had been born into a much later century when the average person knew better, or was simply more intellectually honest…

Condenscending Japanese Prejudices

Man… this is sad but true. I’ve experienced this sort of crap all the time, even when I write letters in Japanese I get the condescending, “I’ll keep this simple so you can translate it easily,” or “I’m sorry I don’t speak English” replies.

These sort of prejudices are a lot of the reason I lost much of my interest in the language. I still can enjoy the things that come out of Japan, but the people can be aggravating sometimes. I’m not sure it’s worth developing a thick skin to it when there are alternative places to live.
And the comment section of this article is pretty insightful. The so-called cultural war over political correctness is alive in Japan, and I find it revealing that 2ch is seen as the hotbed for right-wing nationalism just as /pol/ is on the English chans. It really does seem like Japan is still slipping backwards into prejudice, just like the rest of the world at the moment. And that politics is polarizing into /pol/ versus Tumblr.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/02/22/american-teacher-in-japan-under-fire-for-lessons-on-japans-history-of-discrimination/

http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-05-12/how-japanese-american-burst-japans-bubble-racism

 

Continue reading Condenscending Japanese Prejudices

Half the babies; same productivity

I hope no one is seriously making the argument disfigured/retarded babies are better than no fewer babies, and if birthrates are slightly low abortion is therefore harmful. Half the babies doesn’t mean half the productivity as I’ll explain later.

Low birth rates aren’t a major issue yet when you look at how low the population of the Earth was historically. That and we can either take the smartest from 3rd world via the brain drain, or provide better benefits like long maternity leave and taxes to encourage mothers. We could literally make a government campaign with propaganda to have more kids if we believed in racial purity; the propaganda works well for wars.

As for the inverted population pyramid problem, manage the economics of a slight decline in the growth rate and well-fare benefits that were not sufficiently saved for, or just bring in immigrants. You can hire more nurses and caretakers on visas and accept that machinery and education is now more important than labor for your economy.

Continue reading Half the babies; same productivity

Abortion -Thread

Bleh, I go beyond those who want to say abortion is fine until X months (an arbitrary number) I am for eugenics by either parent if the baby is born with serious defects. I am even in favor of infanticide for any reason if either parent parent wants it within a period of 2 months after birth (my arbitrary number); I would prefer it be done humanely by a doctor, but the laws aren’t there yet.  Continue reading Abortion -Thread

Meet Jarramplas the harmless scapegoat

Jarramplas is a moe version of a devil who certain villagers pelt with vegetables every year to exorcise evil in Spain. Don’t you feel a bit sorry for the guy who dresses up and walks down the street, willingly sacrificing his body for some greater good? He’s the real victim here.

jarramplas potato war.jpg

How might this scapegoat tradition might have started centuries ago? Perhaps once upon a primitive time there was a little misunderstood autist who liked to sit by himself and play on his drum. One day some mean kids threw vegetables at him, and when the villagers asked them for an explanation, they said he had been possessed by an evil spirit and they did it to banish the devil in him. The villagers agreed it was for the best, and decided to pummel the boy with turnips to finish off the boy. Thus, death or banishment under a canopy of flying turnips became a local tradition for getting rid of undesirables. Continue reading Meet Jarramplas the harmless scapegoat

Quezacolatal proved Catholics were right?

>Quezacolatal proved Catholics were right.

 

I can’t begin to take this ethnocentric bullshit Christians throw out seriously. They clearly haven’t researched this enough and checked their sources.

Quetzalcoatl_EhecatlQuetzalcoatl.jpg

Is this the same god? Does it even look like a white man? If they had even looked up Quetzalcoatl on wikipedia they wouldn’t have brought him up. It’s fair to assume they didn’t do any proper research. Check your sources people.

Try to think critically about how tropes develop independently in literature to appeal to a universal human love for a compelling story. Why are there two flood myths in two distant parts of the world? Because flash floods that trash the village can happen everywhere, but the details (climbing a tree in Indian myths to escape) are utterly different.

The Spanish burned down as much as they could of the ancient parchments and wrote history as they saw fit. I’ve been to Peru and their religion has half syncretized with local goddesses in the churches, with “Mary” dressed like a native american and surrounded by rays of the sun. Lots of spooky stuff happens in time, see “littlewood’s law.”
https://en.wikipedia…ittlewood’s_law

The day the Mongols were to invade Japan their fleet was destroyed by typhoons; this happened twice. Proof Shintoism is the true religion? Please….Typhoons are common there, and the Chinese weren’t motivated to build non-leaky seaworthy ships for their conquerors.

But isn’t it spooky how Cortez showed up the same year the Aztecs prophesied he would?

The Aztecs were on a rotating calendar (either a 20 or 52 year cycle) and the prophecy is the pale skinned “god” would return on “one reed year.” So depending on which it is (I’m think its 20 years), you would have a 1/52 or 1/20 chance that Cortez would show up on a reed year.

Plus the prophecy was made hundreds of years before, probably by a pale skinned leader who assumed control and claimed to be god, then was exiled by opponents, and who promised to return. The part about them interpreting Cortez as a god could be 100% Spanish propaganda. I wouldn’t be surprised if the prophecy itself was Spanish or Catholic propaganda.

There are plenty of other rebuttals of this weak argument. Aztec calendar below.

aztec calendar.jpg

 

 

 

I’m the Atheist that Proselytized to a Mormon

book of mormon.jpeg

December 1, 2015:

Last week two Mormons that looked 16 and 14 dropped of the book of Mormon with a brochure, and promised to come back next week to answer any questions. When they came back I told them I had looked over the brochure and a bit of the book of Mormon, wasn’t interested and didn’t want to waste their time. As I was about to step back inside my place, the older one asked, Might I ask why?” I told him, “I don’t like the idea I and my family will go to the outer darkness.”

They said “That’s deep doctrine. There’s an explanation but its very complicated.” Continue reading I’m the Atheist that Proselytized to a Mormon

Useful Delusions: Imaginary Girlfriends

(A.k.a. Delusions to Hold onto: Imaginary Girlfriends as Intellectual Tools)

I still have a magical imaginary girlfriend I wrote about when I was 18. In the next three years I wrote a hundred pages of a self-insert going on fantasy adventures with her. I no longer actively write about her, but I can still fap quickly to a tweaked version of her. I consider it a tool that’s worth preserving. Thinking about her and her universe has yielded important insights in the real world: she was written as a cynical anti-hero that needed to be saved, so it was natural to make her an Atheist. The more I thought about her views to write better dialog, the more her views began to made sense though. It was a unique stepping stone away from religious thinking.

Since my story is unpublished and originally paralleled my reality, it feels an alternate universe that only exists within my head. If anyone else has lived a meta life in a multi-verse, I’ve read a similar book that might interest you:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard-Boiled_Wonderland_and_the_End_of_the_World

Synopsis:

>detective in cyberpunk dystopia uncovers messages that the world is going to end soon

>every other chapter the story switches to an alternate universe where events are being mirrored symbolically, (it’s implied events from one universe effect the other in synchronicity.)

>both universes gradually become aware of the other.

>spoiler: the twist is that everyone has these parallel universes in their consciousness. When the detective is about to die, his mind transfers to the other universe, where time is slow and he can live peacefully for eternity. But since everything that happens is simultaneously mirrored in the other universe, the parallel self decides at the end to return to Earth.

>Fiction and reality influence one another, and are stuck in an endless loop.

Revoking the childhood promise of an afterlife

Q: What is an argument that won you over as a theist

A: I think I can now articulate my own argument which was the final straw that won me over. It began with a rejection of Christian aesthetics, and is kind of wordy though:

>All stories must end someday and it’s better when characters stoically face their fate and exit the stage gracefully.
>No individual truly needs one thing or person to be happy; there are no sacred cows when there are so many substitutables.muv luv meiya death.jpg

(Muv Luv’s typical 10 minute death scene with a pity-me speech)

>Real life is cold and nothing like the bible.
>People drop dead instantly.
>There are no dramatic speeches from God or to loved ones; no themes and readily apparent deeper meanings before most of us die.
>People just separate without goodbyes, which is the opposite of what you would expect if someone had put everyone in the universe on a stage before either an audience or some judges.

A compassionate God would allow you to take time making slow goodbyes before someone left you forever. But in the bible no major characters die without Angels giving speeches, God or Jesus giving a speech first. It’s like how you can predict someone might die in a fantasy novel because someone just gave a long speech that made you care about that person. It’s a set of cliches that foreshadow the future, but which you never see in real life when someone suddenly dies of a stroke or to an automobile accident.

Real life ends with “natural endings” which are always open-ended. There is no meaning expect what is interpreted by the observer, and there is no absolute sense of closure. A narrator never appears to tell you what its about. Grieving can be protracted because there is no final speech that explains why it had to be.

Life periodically shoves you from companionship into separation and loneliness, therefore the idea of an afterlife of eternal companionship is unnatural. Expecting eternal love from soul-mates or God is unnatural, selfish and oppressive. Looking for absolute promises flies against the randomness a universe that is perpetually changing; it’s unrealistic. Reluctance to break our side of childish promises keeps us in religion.

The real world is more sophisticated than any fantasy or theology, because stories always use simplified models of reality, drawn from a subset of possibilities to focus on some variable. If you can move beyond idealization and can enjoy the details of muted shades of grey, then the real world will be more detailed & have better graphics.

 

(That’s the argument. Before that though I had already seen contradictions with the bible, and my own ethnocentrism. All I needed was a reason  that living without Christianity might be more aesthetically pleasing, and then I was emotionally ready to discard the lie.)

Cuneiform Fanatics

http://sumerianshakespeare.com/35901.html

This man’s hobbies are insane. He says he spent a thousand hours learning cuneiform just to write a message on clay in Sumerian to his girlfriend. He then spends another thousand hours translating a short tablet he thinks is a masterpiece, and is disappointed it’s not more recognized. He’s absolutely obsessed with chicken scratch on tablets.

https://allmesopotamia.wordpress.com/tag/the-great-fatted-bull/

What impresses me about cuneiform is how its development was very parallel to Chinese, with pictographs turning sideways, and then simplifying into strokes. The number of characters were then reduced and phonetic elements were added.

 

Pretty much every local library has a dictionary on Egyptian hieroglyphics too, and I seriously wonder if there is anyone in my county or the adjacent one who has even checked it out. I cannot imagine why any layman would study and memorize obscure pictographs, pronunciation and grammar from dead languages. If only there were more time…but I think its very important to have people to bounce your passion off of. If I knew some Egyptologists I might want to memorize the language too.
But to be honest, I am a little envious that I do not have the discipline and passion required to endure thousands of hours of frustration to solve puzzles for questionable rewards. Perhaps when I am older and financially stable, I too will be ready to become the ultimate scholar and make a name for myself.