Archive for the ‘Religion As Economic Tech’ Category

Kill Kids, Get Diadem

In 1096 the Rhineland Jews were attacked by the spontaneous and badly-led popular first wave of the Crusade. In several places Jewish men killed themselves, their wives and children to prevent forced conversion; for centuries this story has been cherished as an important part of the Ashkenazi heritage, although the gentile reader may be reminded […]

Posted on July 20, 2009 at 21:34 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech

Tithe Me Up, Tithe Me Down!

Most fundamentalist churches teach their members that they should do something called “tithing”. This is on the authority of the Old Testament arrangements made to feed the Levites, who alone of the Israelite tribes were apportioned no land. In the Middle Ages, tithes were understood in the same way, as a tax to support the […]

Posted on July 21, 2009 at 11:26 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech

Are You Being Served?

Why do we call our religious rituals “services”? Whom exactly are we serving? The normal supposition is that the answer is “God” – that we are serving him by our praise, our alms, remorse and our intentions. Well and good. But why then are these occasions still called “services” when they revolve entirely around testimonies […]

Posted on July 22, 2009 at 20:54 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech

A Hundred NFL Games For The Bishop

The Heike Monogatori describes how the mother of the Regent, who had offended a god and was dying, “publicly vowed to present the shrine with a hundred lawn field music performances, a hundred procession riders, a hundred horse races, a hundred mounted archery contests, a hundred wrestling matches, a hundred expositions of the Benevolent King […]

Posted on July 23, 2009 at 22:17 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech

How Did Freud Miss This One?

Life is hard to bear, wrote Sigmund Freud, we cannot do without palliative measures – such as powerful distractions, substitutive satisfactions and intoxicants. One might have expected him to include religion in this series, but he seems to assume it thoroughly explicable in terms of the individual’s needs. Civilisation and its Discontents appears innocent of […]

Posted on July 24, 2009 at 11:04 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech

Ad Mortem Festinamus

The problem with an older generation of atheists is that they unconsciously shared many of the conceptual structures of what they imagined they were attacking, and thus fought on the enemy’s chosen ground. For example, if they encountered the song from the Camino de Santiago where the pilgrims sing how they are “hastening unto death”, […]

Posted on July 25, 2009 at 09:39 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech

The First Money Laundry

Zeniarai Benzaiten is a shrine at Kamakura where the god is said to multiply the money that is washed in the sacred water. He does primarily coins, but notes can also be washed. As far as I know, however, he does not take credit cards. This started in the thirteenth century. It is even more […]

Posted on July 26, 2009 at 08:56 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech

Nutritional Patronage Systems

Pace the vegetarians, human beings evolved as meat-eaters. It is nevertheless quite possible for us moderns to live as vegetarians, now when we can consume the fruits and vegetables of an entire world, but in earlier times it was less easy to obtain a balanced diet. Meat, the quickest source of protein, would then be […]

Posted on July 27, 2009 at 12:19 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech

Prosperity Cult No Novelty

Europeans tend to sniff at the Prosperity Gospel, claiming that it is only possible in hypercapitalist, greed-is-good America. But the idea that the Elect will be rewarded, and recognisable, by their earthly prosperity is from John Calvin, who was a Swiss and followed by Dutch and Scots. Mediterranean Catholics, meanwhile, seem to conceive of the […]

Posted on July 28, 2009 at 20:19 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech

Misunderstanding The Sky Man

It may be that, as humanity spread across the globe, each small band of hunter-gathers feared and hated every other small band, seeing both the intrinsically creepy Not-Us and a situational competitor for resources. We cannot know for sure, but we should note that most other animals seem to behave this way. Even so, something […]

Posted on July 28, 2009 at 22:13 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech