Sunday, 8 November 2009

Religion in the context of Darwinian civilization

LINK to Guardian article by a couple of atheists, Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk, arguing against the political power of organized religion.

We need to understand organized religion (as opposed to the individual's religious feelings, which many professed atheists also have) within the context of the Darwinian nature of human society itself.

The Darwinian nature of human society . . ??

Indeed! If man is a product of Darwinian evolution, as I assume most of us agree he is, it is reasonable to assume that the social, political and economic institutions he has created (including organized religion) are also deeply Darwinian in nature, albeit in a perverted way, because the human environment itself (i.e. the "society", or extension of our original tribe, we are (self)-deceived into seeing it as) has become the venue of man's misplace but continuing primordial struggle for survival, advantage and (reproductive) "success", where it is largely reduced to the pursuit and exercise of POWER, in its multifarious forms.

Who can doubt that in modern western society, "success" is no longer seen as the number of viable progeny an individual produces, but in the POWER they possess over others, especially in the form of money, but also in the form of social and professional status, the moral high ground, etc.

It is the moral high ground (based on the word of God), rather than the sword or property rights, which forms the power base of organized religion (notwithstanding the importance of property rights too for some religions), and is why the Church complemented the aristocracy (with its military power) so nicely when it came to initially creating and developing the institutions of the STATE.

When our own state became more secular and democratic, its institutions didn't suddenly become less Darwinian, i.e. no longer primarily adapted to facilitating society's self-exploitation to the advantage of its dominant elites. There were shifts in power, of course, and with so much material wealth being created by industrialization and technological progress, a huge expansion and diversification of society's privileged elites, all striving to maintain or change the socioeconomic environment to their own perceived advantage - or that of their clients - and always rationalized as the social or moral good.

These clients might now reside anywhere in the social spectrum, with moral brownie points (and often government grants, in exchange for votes) associated with any section of society seen as being disadvantage.

From this, Darwinian, perspective, one sees that it is now not just organized religion with seeks power and advantage by laying claim to the moral high ground for itself, but the liberal-left, so-called "progressives" and others besides, and very well it has served many of them, especially in politics and the media.

Some may see this perspective as cynical, but I assure you, it is not; it is utterly realistic, and the sooner others (those who mean well on the liberal left and elsewhere) recognise this, the sooner we can start to develop an understanding of it and make some real progress in resolving our pressing, and increasingly dire, problems. But not before, because all we have at the moment is self-deception and confusion.

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