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Friday, 2 April 2010

Opium of the Masses.

Sometimes during religious holidays I miss being religious - even though I know it to be a comfort blanket like any other. Taking a drug is a more expensive way of comforting yourself but you don't have to wilfully suspend disbelief. The only release I could ever get out of religious rituals etc was to see them as metaphorical, to take all that stuff literally is too much...and to a degree all organised religion is a bit of a con, taking from common beliefs and myths what is popular and selling it back to the masses in a disjointed way....what happens when the State, politics become involved and use the religious instinct as a force for social control....a bit like prohibition in a sense, wow, those good old days when the State would have people killed for deviating, ban all other religions and only allowed the one the State practised....you'll likely find nearly all world religions have done this, Christianity not being the only culprit. As to the Catholic/Protestant split and the banning of either depending on the State, I think one may well find Sunni Muslim States where the Shia version has been banned or surpressed, or the other way round.....and of course everyone knows about the Taliban......

The thing that conjures the nearest thing the West had to such a State was Jean Calvin's puritan Republic in Geneva, where such a secret police akin to those in Afghanistan existed, where people constantly grassed each other for sexual immorality and peeping toms were rewarded for catching other people in 'immoral acts' - the missionary position being the only one allowed by law! This wasn't as long ago as people imagine really...but Westerners are quick to forget. It is not unusual to find people who have never even heard that that particular State (in a part of which is now modern Switzerland) ever existed, but I'm sure the French speakers there would have been taught about it. It is often assumed that sexual repression in Christianity is a Catholic rather than Protestand thing....examples like that make me beg to differ on this commonly held assumption. If anything, the Latin countries generally have fewer, not more hang ups than Northern Europeans...which I put down to culture, climate rather than religion mainly...but still. Ok, you might use the Dutch as an exception - but I got the feeling about Holland that what has been tolerated, legalised etc in that country has been done in such a way that compartmentalises it to a certain section, a cold way even...not all of Holland is Amsterdam and you'll find that generally speaking it is a conservative country when one goes outside the big cities.....

Ok, so you'd probably find fewer laws in say France, Italy, Spain that refer to the regulation of vice etc....but that is probably because these cultures just know these things have always existed and don't have so much of the unhealthy preoccupation with them that Northern Europeans seem to......

1 comment:

  1. Well done, I find myself in total agreement with the repressive law thing. Religion is a con and I contend that it is a form of child abuse in the sense that youngsters are indoctrinated into a way of thinking well before they are fully developed into critical, rational beings.
    I still find myself today, a vehement secular humanist, having the occasional Catholic lapse.
    When I was younger it affected my sex life incredibly as I was taught that it was something that was best not discussed or even performed in polite company. It was a very phallocentric (I love that word btw, sorry)concept where we just stuck it in and jizzed. Luckily I was deprogrammed by a sex maniac girlfriend!
    The missionary position is something quite amusing to me now as a result.
    Nice post....

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