The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

February 25, 2008

Someone Saved My Life Tonight*


(*This post examines and criticizes the notion of all religions from my point of view; it is not intended to offend. So please stop reading if you do not want to run the risk of being offended.*)

It's the Church of Sc(i)entology, which worships all things that smell, except for that (i) in brackets.

And while no one knocked on my door, I expect a couple of clones of a famous Hollywood actor were the culprits, passing along the word of Omigod, just to save me...

...Save me from life's perils, the worry over the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Republicans actually getting re-elected again, our own Canadian blubberment led by Steven (Let's Get Even) Harper...

And it all comes from here, some glittery star-struck haven in L.A. or Vegas or wherever it is...

Yes, Sc(i)entology is going to sharpen my senses, rescue me from pollution, greenhouse gases, my own procrastination, this cold winter we've been having, my mountain of'll give me all the answers, right here, right now.

And I don't even have to think for myself! All I have to do is join and absorb the message!

This reminds me of the brother of two of my very best friends in my teens and early 20s. He disappeared. They found him in New York. He had become a Moonie, one of Sun Myung Moon's mindless disciples.


They're all followers, that is...not thinkers, followers. Mindless. Searching, my friends' bro was, as we all sometimes do, and they found him, like a deer blinded in life's headlights and paralysed by fear. And they brainwashed him.

He was eventually rescued from being "rescued," in the real sense, by his family and friends, and spirited back home and deprogrammed and unbrainwashed and now he's doing fine, thinking on his own again.

That means he's human. That means he makes mistakes and he pays the consequences and lives a real life. Good things happen to him, bad things happen to him. He does stupid things, he does smart things.

The point is, HE'S the navigator, he's the captain of his own boat sailing the sometimes calm or sometimes rough seas. His life is governed by him, not by some deity or religious belief system that he can grasp to save him.

And so with that, we come back to the subject at hand.

Where did religion come from? ALL religion? This is what I imagine, and I'm going to use the most historically correct mass media production of all time -- Monty Python's Holy Grail -- to illustrate the point.

The historical timelines and years don't really mean much here, and so they won't be accurate in my depiction. Suffice to say that long before organized religion, living on Earth was a very dark place.

It was no picnic, apparently. And we have these historical pictures to prove that. Violent deaths awaited many. For those who survived that fate, they lived very short, difficult lives in squalid conditions.

While the lives of regular townsfolk and villagers was a living hell and dominated by the fight just to get enough to eat and to stay alive, wars were commonplace and towns and villages were pillaged often, with horrifying results.

Only the soldiers and warfaring upper-class had any fun at all.

It became clear, as history stumbled along, that this wasn't going to work. The upper class wanted to continue its lifestyle and its need to go to war and conquer others, which resulted in tremendous power and riches.

But it couldn't do this without a middle- and lower-class that could survive and thrive (if only in a mundane, far more poor manner) and continue to support the warriors and merchants while they did their thing -- make war and make money.

And the upper class needed to be able to recruit strong young men from the lower classes to be able to sacrifice themselves in war for the greater good (that is, for their good).

So they got together one day and they invented religion.

Something for the masses to believe in, to fall back on, to look to for strength and spiritual nourishment, for morale, for a reason to keep on living, for the answers they didn't have.

At the same time, those villagers and hut-dwellers were getting together themselves in the town squares, kicking at the dead rats and eating dog meat. None of them had any teeth, but that's besides the point.

One elder stood up and gummed, "You know what? We have no clue what we're doing in this life. We're invaded all the time and our women and children are raped or killed and we get the shit kicked out of us.

"Or we sharpen our spears and axes and arrows and we go and do the same thing to them. But we have no idea what we're doing or whether any of it makes any sense at all! We need a belief system!

"Gimme that ole time religion!"

So realizing they had no way of proving there was any point to their measly lives or having no answer to why they were here or what they were supposed to do or how they could possibly cope on their own, they were prime subjects for the upper class's new religion.

And so it happened. The scholars started writing the Bible, developing incredibly unbelievable scenarios that they dared you to buy into, such as parting seas, burning bushes and the like.

History's first mass Public Relations campaign was put into motion, as these pictures from that critical juncture in Earth's history clearly suggest. An idea was planted of a supreme being up above and all you had to do was look up to God.

Heaven and hell were invented, God and the devil were devised. Tales of lore were penned. Holy places of worship were constructed, popes were appointed, priests grew out of the woodwork, monks started combing the countryside.

They wrote a book about people dying on crosses and three stars and salvation and after-lives and this and that. Ten Commandments. Seven sacraments. This and that in other religions which I'm not privy to.

And as the upper class cemented into the collective consciousness the religion of their region and the need for the population to believe, they made it stick by including guilt and the threat of eternal damnation if you DIDN'T believe.

So while the masses were held to this new religious standard and burned at the stake for not believing and were told to embrace things like the Ten Commandments, the upper-class was breaking all of those same rules.

Eventually, a great war was waged. In fact, since the advent of religions worldwide, many great wars have been waged, continue to be waged and will always be waged, often because of religion and the need for power and resources.

But that's besides the point too, I guess.

The whole thing is, this religion thing has all been an extremely poorly done PR campaign. It clearly hasn't worked and will never work. It's a divisive force, not a unifying one, in the global sense.

Yeah there's the Far Right, the Christian Right, the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, all with their own belief systems and all of them at war with each other, either in the media or with actual weapons.

And it's all about going to Heaven and avoiding eternal damnation. Or surviving in a screwed up world. Or whatever. Billions of people feel they have to believe in something beyond just who they are.

And even as we speak, even as we've had all this proof that religion just doesn't work as a crutch or as a unifying force or as a placebo or real cure for what ails us inside or out, new religions continue to be trumpeted onto the scene.

What are they lookin' for? Whatever it is, I don't think they or their followers will find it.

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