A Recipe for Religion

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It is therefore extremely important to the holy-men to keep the worshippers permanently obedient to the super-dominant figures, and this is done in several ways:. They encourage the social rejection of worshippers of rival deities. This pressure ranges from mild disapproval to scorn and anger, and often to severe persecution. Whether or not they preach social tolerance, many religions have practised intolerance.

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This is part of the role they play as cultural isolating mechanisms. The loyalty to the locally shared god-figure demands social separation from those who worship in a different way. It creates sects and breeds sectarian violence. They frequently construct convincing evidence that the deities can hurt the non-submissive. They exploit coincidences which have given rise to superstitions, and they play on the suggestibility of the worshippers.

They invent an afterworld where the subordinates who obey them will be rewarded and those who do not will suffer torment. There is evidence that belief in an afterlife existed many thousands of years ago. This practice dates back to the Stone Age and has continued with little change over the millennia. It is surprising that otherwise intelligent men have succumbed to these pressures and fears in so many different cultures and in so many epochs. There appear to be several factors aiding the agents of the gods:. First and perhaps most important, is the acquisition by our early ancestors of a sense of time.

Other species can communicate with information about the present—about the moods they are in at the moment of communicating—but they cannot consider the future. Man can contemplate his own mortality and finds the thought intolerable.

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Any animal will struggle to protect itself from a threat of death. Faced with a predator, it flees, hides, fights or employs some other defensive mechanism, such as death-feigning or the emission of stinking fluids. There are many self-protection mechanisms, but they all occur as a response to an immediate danger. When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. If this soul can survive in an afterlife, then he has successfully defended himself against the threatened attack on his life.

This gives the agents of the gods a powerful area of support. All they need to do is to remind their followers constantly of their mortality and to convince them that the afterlife itself is under the personal management of the particular gods they are promoting.

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The self-protective urges of their worshippers will do the rest. Neoteny is a biological condition found in certain species in which the juvenile form of the animal becomes increasingly adult.


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Or, to put it another way, the adults become increasingly juvenile. In many ways, man is a neotenous ape. An adult man is more like a young ape than like an adult ape. He has the curiosity and playfulness of a young ape. When the ape becomes mature, he loses his infantile playfulness; but man never loses it. In the same way, dogs are really neotenous wolves. A fully grown domestic dog still leaps and bounds and plays with his master like a young wolf cub.

Theos “Doing God” Report Recommendations a “Recipe for Disaster”

But wolf cubs grow up and stop playing. Young dogs grow up too, but like man they remain infantile in their behaviour—they never stop playing. This means that they will respond to man as if he is a parent. Being neotenous, the dog can mate and breed, but it still responds to parental domination and obeys its master. This makes it the perfect pet.

Recipe for Religious Studies

To the dog, in other words, man is a god. He becomes sexually mature and yet he still needs a parent—a super- parent, one as impressive to him as a man must be to a dog. The answer was to invent a god—either a female super-parent in the shape of a Mother Goddess, or a male god in the shape of God the Father, or perhaps even a whole family of gods.

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