4th April 2012

“The Church that is supposed to be about love denies its followers the most sacred expression of love. It says, you can't do that because you'll go to hell for it. You can do it if you're married but even then you can only do it on certain days of the month.”

Gabriel Byrne

10 Responses to “4th April 2012”

  1. Dan Says:

    Religion IS about love though. Very conditional love: “Look like us, act like us, believe what we believe, and then yes, we will love you.”

    And when you don’t meet their conditions, some believers are okay with you, and others really, REALLY aren’t okay with you.

  2. R J Says:

    control……………..always about control………..

    and people can be stupid enough to

    go along with it !!

  3. Jeff Says:

    I think that we often ignore the fact that CONTROL is what society is all about, not just the church, not just religion. Religion and churches are older methods of establishing control, but is society that wants the control.

  4. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Dan I couldn’t help but to think of you while watching E.O. Wilson speak to Charlie Rose last night. His new book “The Social Conquest of Earth” where The biologist weighs in on some of the existential questions that previously had been perhaps dismissed by the likes of say Stephen J. Gould as outside the realm of scientific inquiry. We had spoken of this some weeks ago, where I was making a near metaphysical series of comments linking spirituality with nueroscience. I would have really wanted to have your take on the interview and would ask you to go to the Charlie Rose site and watch the interview.

    In the end Professor Wilsonseems to be suggesting we are going to find that religion, and as such Creationism, will one day soon be realized by the scientific community at large to be predicted by evolution, to have been a natural part of evolution where as the brain develops religiosity and ideas about the origin of sentient beings is hypothesized and then that hypothesis, lacking any validating hypotheses, is replaced/dismissed by new thinking.

    That the emotions, character traits, and ethics are all predicted by evolution. Professor Wilson speaks about the significance of organisms that emerge from solitary existences to live in groups (an evolutionary accident) lay the foundations for altrusim, empathy, love, et cetera.

    In this light, I think today’s quote can be seen to support Professor Wilson’s ideas. I’ll be getting the book: http://amzn.com/0871404133

    R j as tough as “stupid enough” sounds your words, while less than polite, speak to credulity and gullibility. You are correct IMO! These teachings are plainly absurd!

  5. poky Says:

    The conundrum that humans face is that we must all deal with competing needs from time to time. We have the need to be autonomous self-directed persons who are in control of our lives, while at the same time we have the need to be accepted and validated by others. In some situations, these two needs cannot be simultaneously satisfied, so we have to sacrifice one to satisfy the other.

    Often, to be accepted as part of the “herd,” we have to sacrifice our need for personal autonomy, and that is a sacrifice that many “religious” persons are quite willing to make in order to be loved and accepted. Turning off the ability to think and reason in order to find the acceptance of others is the trade-off that many are too willing to make.

  6. Dan Says:

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I’ve heard that argument before but not from E.O. Wilson, instead one proponent is David Sloane Wilson (not related to E.O.). Basically there are three schools of thought on the topic. One is what the Wilsons are arguing – that religion is advantageous to human society. Another is what Dawkins (among others) is a proponent of – that religion is a virus and maladaptive. And a third, that a lot of people (I’d have to dig up a good example though, I’m forgetting!) but more stock in – that religion is a spin-off of a hodge-podge of other cognitive functions that were themselves adaptive, but that religion in and of itself is more neutral than adaptive/maladaptive.

    I’m of the third opinion myself. I see no reason why religion confers any advantage, except in a religious society. That is, if you lived in a religious society prior to the 20th century, your odds of not being ostracized (or worse) were much better if you were at least nominally religious. But if you didn’t live in a religious society, religion offered no advantage over a non-religious disposition. And as a result, the only thing that makes religion advantageous is religion itself – it’s rather circular you see, which makes the whole argument rather suspicious.

    So my line of thinking rather rules out the Wilsons’ conclusions. I disagree with Dawkins’ conclusion on the topic for other reasons – namely, that I know some people who claim to be at least nominally religious, and they’re not at a loss for surviving in modern society, which kinda flies in the face of the conclusion that religion is necessarily maladaptive.

    And for the Wilsons’, another early proponent was the so-called father of sociology, Emile Durkheim, who argued that religion promotes in-group social cohesion. All of that leads to something called Group Selection – an evolutionary postulate that few leading evolutionary biologists think is still credible. And Wilson doesn’t win any friends for holding on to that rather debunked idea.

  7. Dan Says:

    Here is some more reading for you:


    I took the course in 2007, and the reading list should give you a very good review of the differing points of view I described in my last comment. But if you can manage it, I’d highlight Pascal Boyer’s and Scott Atran’s books on the topic. A word of warning though – they’re tough reading, being written in a very scholarly manner. If you don’t know much Cultural Anthropology, be prepared to be overwhelmed with information! (but they’re worth it IMO)

  8. Sinjin Smythe Says:


    Professor Wilson also tossed out a jibe at Professor Dawkins for not being “peer reviewed”/not writing in perr reviewed journals, and as such being “confused”. Got a laugh out of that.

    I’ll check the links out at home as the company firewall blocks them.

  9. Dan Says:

    HA! Wilson should know better than to make that jibe while making claims with no empiric backing!

  10. Xhim Says:

    Anybody interested in a short book that lucidly describes the “why” behind classical Christian monogamy? The best I’ve ever read for content and readability is “I Married You” by Walter Trobisch. Available (among other places at