Fantasy Religions

CultureLab has posted an interview with sociologist William Sims Bainbridge, who in the past has done a great deal of work on religions in general and “cults” in particular. He now focuses on virtual realities and gaming. To research his most recent book, he spent 2300 hours playing World of Warcraft (WoW).

When asked about the relationship between religions and WoW, Bainbridge noted that WoW religions aren’t taken seriously, which led him to this:

The horrendous question that always troubles me is, what if religion is factually false but necessary for human well-being? What does science do then? Could there be some other stage of development in which we express ourselves through a kind of protean self in numerous realities with different levels of faith or suspension of disbelief appropriate to each of them?

This is an interesting way of putting things. Bainbridge seems personally troubled by the “horrendous” possibility that religions are factually false.

There is a long tradition of considering this possibility and asking what it would mean if religions are false. Greek philosophers pondered the question and came to different conclusions. Plato favored illusions. Marx was untroubled by them. Nietzsche was much troubled by religious falsity or the metaphorical possibility that God was dead.

I also find curious Bainbridge’s question: What would science do if religions are false? My sense is not much. Humans routinely harbor all kinds of false beliefs, which science acknowledges and studies. Religious beliefs shouldn’t come in for any special treatment or dispensation.

Later in the interview, Bainbridge comments:

The difference between faith and fantasy might not have been very distinct in ancient times, and it’s possible that we will move towards a time when instead of religion, people’s hopes can be expressed in something that’s acknowledged to be a fantasy but also, on some level, sort of real. WoW might exemplify that kind of post-religious future.

It seems fairly certain there was no distinction between faith and fantasy in the past. These ideas hadn’t even been formulated. The very concept of “faith” is historically recent. Although the history of “faith” is complex, the idea that religion is a matter of belief or non-belief arose conjunction with the realization that ideas could be demonstrated to be either true or false, and that there were competing belief systems.

Once it was realized that ideas about the supernatural can be true or false and that not all these ideas can simultaneously be true, belief-choices had to be made. Hence the origins of “faith.”

In yet more ancient times, before the Neolithic transition, the supernatural wasn’t a matter of “belief” or “faith.” It was a way of (falsely) perceiving and (beneficially) making sense — what Nurit Bird-David aptly calls relational epistemology.

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31 thoughts on “Fantasy Religions

  1. Bunker Hill

    I think it’s an error to equate facticity and truth.

    Aesop told a fable about a dog with a bone in his mouth crossing a bridge over a river. Half way across the bridge the dog looks down and sees his reflection. He wants the “other” dog’s bone too. When he opens his mouth to get the other dog’s bone he loses his own bone in the river. Was there actually such a dog? Probably not. Does that mean that the fable is false?

    Similarly, Jesus told a parable about the good Samaritan. Does it really matter if there was such a person?

    Science has chosen, a priori, to rule out the supernatural and stick to the facts. That gives them great power within the natural world when dealing with “the facts” that they can control. It does not give them the wisdom to deal with anything that lies outside of that realm because they chose to rule it out of bounds to begin with.

    That divide does not exist for religion, because religion chooses to deal with the whole of reality rather than part of it.

  2. J. A. LeFevre

    I read a very different question: What if religions are necessary for human well being? But we know my bias.

  3. Andrew

    Fascinating interview.

    Religions have roots in narrative, or at least depend a lot on story, and story has a long history of not depending on factual accuracy. Story and participation are both tied to the suspension of disbelief.

    Since story is more about what to do (or how someone acts in certain circumstances), and religion has been for the most part a way of getting groups of people to behave predictably, the two worked well together.

    Science has actually done a great service to our thinking and our well-being by making us conscious of this “fiction” in which we try to live. Also, it gave us science fiction – clearly imaginative and unreal, but providing ways of perceiving, predicting and benefiting from future truths and nonsense.

  4. Cris Post author

    JA — There is that question too but it wasn’t the one that I wanted to write about! That’s an old argument and not one I find particularly compelling, at least for those of few of us who are well without religion. But I understand that for many people, supernaturalism or religion may be necessary for their well-being as individuals. When it comes to corporate groups, I don’t think it’s necessary — any ideology, such as nationalism, will do.

  5. Cris Post author

    Andrew — Your observations about the deep and intimate connections between religion and narrative are well taken. There is some really good work being done on this now by Armin Geertz and his colleagues at Aarhus University in Denmark. In fact, I’m reading (for purposes of a forthcoming review) a collection of essays from a recent conference they did on religion and narrative.

    I am a bit less sanguine about the idea that “religion has been for the most part a way of getting groups of people to behave predictably.” If we are talking about post-Neolithic religions, I can agree (at least in large part). But this is a relatively recent function of “religion,” and indeed may have been the impetus for creating what we today call religions. But for the longer part of human history, during the Paleolithic, shamanisms didn’t really function this way.

    I really like your final point about science “fiction.” It is an apt and productive juxtaposition.

  6. J. A. Le Fevre

    Independent of personal theologies, I would think you would find a written language and such incidentals as metal tools useful – such technologies never developed sans priests. With those developments behind us now, some offer nationalism as an alternative for stable states. Nationalism, however, is not yet demonstrated to have the persistence to go the distance (independent, that is, of religion). While industrialization appears to solve many of the problems once the providence of religion, it has yet to be demonstrated independent.

    The knowledge or truth of an institution is demonstrated in its products, not its advertising. Religion alone is demonstrated to deliver functional communities. To believe a community will persist without it is hope and faith. All things are possible, of course, but not demonstrated. As independent as many may feel, their technologies rely on their communities, and their communities have all (so far) relied on religion.

  7. Cris Post author

    So priests are responsible for written language and metal tools? Wow. There have been thousands of inventions and innovations since “priests” first appeared some 10,000 years ago. Are priests responsible for them all?

    This aside, only idealists (in the philosophical/sociological sense of the word) actually believe that large groups are held together primarily or exclusively by religion. Common language, ethnicity, and economy play equally large roles. Your argument assumes a level of religious homogeneity and uniformity that has never existed in any large group. Large groups inevitably have heterogeneous religious sub-groups, unbelievers, dissenters, and those who just don’t care much about the supernatural or religion.

    Religion is not a universal magical solvent, except in the minds of theists. There is a logical flaw in your argument which ultimately leads you to make all kinds of over broad assertions which are disproved by actual cases and history.

    All you have done is identify a single characteristic that is found in all societies, given that characteristic primacy or pride of place, and then discounted everything else. What makes your mono-focus on religion any different from an argument that isolates a different universal feature of human society and makes it the “magic” which explains human success?

    These might include: language, tools, symbolism, shelter, clothing, diet, technology, division of labor, anticipation, sharing, warfare, weapons, narrative, causal understanding, cooperation, plasticity, adaptability, planning, high-order cognition, alloparenting, teaching, learning, mimicry, life history, arts, entertainment, and medicine. There are many, many reasons why humans have been so successful in an evolutionary sense.

    Supernaturalism and religion may be one reason and a contributing factor, but it’s not THE reason. It’s a weak argument and usually amounts to thinly disguised theism.

  8. J. A. Le Fevre

    I assume nothing but the evidence. You cannot develop technology beyond the stone age without cities (and specialists). You cannot build cities without priests. Doubt this? Find an exception.
    Jarred Diamond makes the same claim. (See his ‘the Evolution of Religions’ on youtube:

  9. Cris Post author

    Before cities, there were villages. These villages were based on considerable technological advances, and had various kinds of specialists. These villages didn’t have organized, systematic religions or priests.

    This aside, what makes you think that city-state priests were responsible for technological developments? You didn’t respond to my previous observation about choosing one variable in human evolution (religion), ignoring all the others, and claiming that “religion did it.”

    The people who built cities may or may not have been priests; we don’t really know who was responsible for building them. They were probably elites, who in some cases might also have been priests. But they were rulers first, and if they also happened to be priests, it might have made their job easier. This doesn’t mean priests were responsible for city building.

    There were masons and carpenters in every city too. Cities couldn’t be built without them. This doesn’t mean that masons and carpenters were mostly responsible for the rise of cities. The same holds for priests.

    I don’t rely on Jared Diamond for archaeological or anthropological claims. He does a nice job with geography, environment, birds, and post-literate history. His archaeology-anthropology, including his views on religion, are a bit like his work on human evolution and primatology. In other words, it’s not his field and his views are mostly speculation.

  10. J. A. Le Fevre

    First, please re-read all my posts. You consistently attack comments I have never made.

    I do not rely on Diamond, but when he agrees with me, I use him. Truly, most of my ‘views’ on this issue are speculative as well, but the evidence is in our corner, and Diamond explains the evidence and his reasoning. Some I agree with, some I challenge.

    So does it require ham for ham and eggs, or eggs? I never suggested that priests built cities or that ‘religion did it’. Laborers built cities. Kings ruled cities and states. Food fed cities and states (guns, germs and steel is all about the food), specialists, some priests, most not, developed all manner of technologies. I do not bring those up as you appear to be aware of those contributions. From the record, large villages do not appear stable without priests, and there is no record I (or Diamond, or Dawkins or Dennett) are aware of where a village was able to grow into a city without priests. That is the evidence you have not been challenging. That is the evidence I have never seen challenged.
    Diamond and myself have assessed the evidence and concluded that building a village into a city is only possible (at least in the practical sense) with priests present. Is it possible to fly a man to the moon? Clearly several have done just that proving it possible. Believing you can build a city without priests is an issue of faith, as no one has done so for the record. Diamond stated his belief in the lecture that we have finally developed enough independent social technologies that religion, though necessary in the past, is no longer necessary. That too is speculation, as it has not yet been demonstrated.

    Technologies developed in villages appear limited to some pottery and very limited, short-lived copper working. No bronze, no iron, no literature, no masonry. These technologies have been transferred to villages, but not developed in them.

    No plane, no trains, no automobiles and no computers. Technologies we all rely upon have only been developed in states with priests.

    Humans, in any ‘natural’ state do not play well together. Homicide rates in aboriginal communities average about 30%. We have discussed this. Human communities larger than about 1,000 do not appear stable without priests. These smaller communities cannot support the specialists needed to develop higher technologies, nor can they compete or defend themselves from the larger state societies. As an individual, you do not ‘need’ religion solely because you were privileged to be born into a state built (over thousands of years) by religious citizens that is willing to support and protect you. The state and the technologies you rely on, however, do not appear possible without a long religious tradition.

  11. Cris Post author

    I understand your arguments. I’ve intensively studied several variations of those arguments (and the supporting evidence). I’ve just said they are weak. It amounts to “just so” storytelling that ignores all the other variables and causal factors. It privileges religion without giving any serious consideration to other factors and possibilities.

    As I’ve also said, this kind of storytelling usually amounts to a thinly disguised form of theism which assumes progressive “cultural evolution.” All the progress, of course, is attributed to religion. I’m not interested in spending a great deal of time debunking these kinds of (biased or predisposed) arguments.

    I am currently writing an evidence and parsimony based account of supernatural-religious history, and it doesn’t read much like yours. Rather than spend my time here arguing with you about what probably happened, I’d rather be working on that project.

    The good news about this project is that I’m neither for nor against religion, so my evaluation of the evidence isn’t biased one way or another. I’m not predisposed to any of the evidence, and don’t like wearing either religionist or atheist blinders.

    Having said all that, I do appreciate all your input and hope you don’t take my objections personally.

  12. Cris Post author

    Barry — I’m sorry to hear about this. If the hallucinations become uncontrollable, you should see a psychiatrist or get a divorce.

  13. J. A. Le Fevre

    Good luck with it, and I would like to read it when ready, but if it’s supernatural-religious history, it’s apples and oranges. It does not sound that we are looking at the same features of the phenomenon.

  14. Cris Post author

    “Religion” began as nothing more than a belief in the supernatural. Paleolithic shamanisms were a form of supernaturalism, which is why I use the term. These weren’t “religions” as that term is commonly used. I reserve the term “religions” for the kinds of organized and systematic supernatural beliefs that appear in conjunction with the Neolithic transition. Hence, my consistent use of the term “supernatural-religious” when referring to history from the Paleolithic to the present.

  15. J. A. Le Fevre

    OK, I get the clarification, but ‘religion is belief in (something/anything)’? You’re watching the show, not the man behind the curtain. As Darwin noted, even a dog can imagine agents within a breeze ruffled bush. Religion (basic/spiritualism) is a system, organized religion an institution as well. A system/institution with very essential functions: Socialization and motivation as first among them.

    All the glitter is to attract attention and command respect, but to transform from a nomadic tribe to a settled city required a dramatic change in individual behavior. Labor had to work to a calendar, no longer the hunter/gatherer’s belly. Even more critical, people could no longer just walk away if they had a personal conflict. They had to get along (to some minimal extent) and keep working. Many civilizations formed on several continents wholly independently of one another, they all faced this same problem, and they all invented the same structural form for a solution: They established a class of priests. Religions look different because many were invented independently (and have evolved for the subsequent thousands of years both independently and competitively). The basic structure (glitter and show to attract attention/respect, backed by priests) is the same, and the basic function is the same: socialization and motivation.

  16. J. A. LeFevre

    Glitter was a bad analogy for the active ingredients that make up religion, but the shaman and priests are the leaders that keep it going. Think of them as coaches and managers, not quarterbacks or team captains. The myths, rituals and beliefs are the experimentally derived processes that in the hands of the shaman and priests, facilitate the socialization and motivation functions that allow communities to flourish.

  17. Cris Post author

    I disagree and don’t think the evidence shows this. You place far too much emphasis on shamans/priests and overestimate their impacts. This is an empirical matter, and it will be shown in my book based on evidence rather than theory or wishful thinking.

  18. J. A. Le Fevre

    Priests are expensive, so I anticipate their importance is proportional. Would you actually even address this? When may it be available?

  19. Cris Post author

    Using cost as the criterion of importance doesn’t make much sense to me. Armies are expensive, elites are expensive, agriculture is expensive, bureaucracies are expensive, kings are expensive, public works are expensive, navies are expensive, etc. The importance of something may or may not be related to its cost.

    I’m not sure what you want me to address. I’m working on a dissertation-book that will trace the entire history of “religion” from its origins in supernatural beliefs that arose in conjunction with fully modern cognition to the present. The publication date is in flux due to numerous other concurrent projects. I will, however, have a shorter e-version of the book done by this summer before I teach my next anthropology of religion course.

  20. J. A. Le Fevre

    Cost (time and resources) plays heavily because of competition. Nature favors efficiency with competitive advantage. Any organism that wastes is at a proportional disadvantage to one that ‘learns’ to avoid that waste. No one pays for armies without the threat of attack or the promise of spoils. No one pays for agriculture save those who wish to eat when the hunting and gathering get slim. No one pays for priests if they think they can save themselves the expense. Kings and elites have likewise been dispensed with when their services were deemed insufficient. History has shown no one above censure.
    What then explains the success of priests these thousands of years?

    Luxury goods and opulence have served from the Neolithic as markers for power and success (very often by priests), but if you follow the money a better analog for the service of priests (vs. say a Rolls Royce) is a standing army. States who feel threatened raise standing armies, people who feel insecure turn to religion. Look at the demographics of the flight from religion – it is those who find security in science, education and more pointedly, with safe streets under heavily socialized governments. The masses turning from religion are those who feel secure at home and with (or from) nature. Those living with insecurity are far more likely to hold to religion. The secure have not retreated similarly from luxury, however, and Rolls Royce had record sales last year.

    I think to assess the roles and impact of priests in a society you must contrast the societies that have them vs. that do not. The differences are great and I do not think the significance of the priests in that difference trivial. I think the effect religion has is a very different study than what religion looks like.

  21. Curt Kiloton

    I have been told that Onion magazine is not a serious scientific journal. It is believed ny most people to a publication that makes fun of things. But to those who understand the inside story that is only a mechanical cover story. There is a deeper design to this prominate publication. It is in reality controlled by subversive Iranian Boddhisattavas. The paper provides a cover to gather intellegence about what is really happening. The wise members of the publication know that something is not what it seems to be. The signs of that are everywhere. (Do you need examples?) But if things are not what they seem to be, what are they? Well the most basic answer is that things are a trick. Yet that is a very vague answer.
    So the reporters of the Onion are digging deeper. What will they uncover? When will they release their final report? Will the report have any impact at all? Can new knowledge change the way people behave? Or will the new knowledge just be ignored as is so often the case in the world and the USA in particular. Do I need to support that last sentence with examples or will you take my word for it that knew knowledge is often ignored?
    Washington 7- Chicago 3 Chicago 73- Washington 0………73……1873?………..Hey why 1873 and not 1973? WTF does this have to do with Fantasy Religion and whether or not religion is neccessary?
    Do not ask me I can not explain the what it is all about myself. I too have to wait for a future edition of the Onion

  22. Cris Post author

    That’s great but at what point do you realize that the fantasy-conspiracy schtick is neither original nor witty? Perhaps you should consider approaching your point from a different and more substantive angle.

    Given that I know what your point is, I can think of several that work better for you. You are spending inordinate amounts of time thinking and typing shit that is more or less spamming my living room floor. I’m sure you will clean things up for your next post.

  23. Anonymous

    The evidence suggests to me that me that “priests” become necessary for governance purposes at an early stage of settled urban development and are “required” for reasons of stability and conflict resolution. In particular where the village extends beyond the extended family unit and specialisation functions occur . Like all other animals, humans as a species will strive to gain a competitive edge on the evolutionary treadmill. The evolutionary edge that living in larger urban units gives however, relies on internal stability, a common set of shared beliefs, Laws and goals. This more often than not, is rapidly set down in writing and concretised in ceremony and doctrine. It also relies on the ability to enforce breaches of this system. I therefore suggest that priests in the first instance provide a quasi judicial function necessary for expansion in early societies. Those that abide by these rules (religion) share in the benefits of both security (survival-ism) and improved competition (evolution); those that do not are punished. The priest caste is necessary to make sure that your neighbour is not cheating!

    This however appears to be true Irrespective of the particular religion a certain society adopts and I would go as far as to suggest that this applies to on line gaming as well. The interesting aspect of gaming is that while a fantastical set of rules (involving morally questionable behavior in real life – i.e. slaughter and mayhem are often encouraged!) have been set down (by the games designers) players are still expected to abide by these rules. Some rules are hard programmed into the design of the game by software developers but more interestingly others have “evolved” in game by the players/competitors themselves. Games like World of Warcraft, Everquest etc have resulted in the formation of groups of individuals(guilds) with their own internal organisation and sets of rules. Players who breach these internal sets of rules face expulsion from their group and thus loose a competitive edge in the game. Those that are found to have tinkered/hacked with the hard programmed rules of the software designers face vitriol from other players and are often banished from the world altogether!

  24. chrissy

    The birth of religion was the end of anarchism thus beginning the long slow slippery road to the capitalist, exploiting, defunct and corrupt society we now endure.Priests were just exploiters using fear to exhort and coerce the masses. Religion did not enhance the progression of mankind that was down to greed.Wealth and power are the two biggest factors that have driven us to where we are today. Throughout history it was the people who held these , be they religious or not , that have moulded our societies. Religion is just a tool, it is no different to the sword, arrow or lance,’obey or you will be struck down’.And Cris you talk like you was actually around during the stone-age. Please try to remember a lot of what you write is your opinion and not actual fact.

  25. chrissy

    I actually agree with many of your points but I feel that you front your views in a very factual manner. You fail to suggest any notion of opinion. You debate as a matter of fact. Your view is simply your assumption and has very little endorsement except your own belief.
    You state that you are writing a paper on this exact subject and that you would prefer to work with evidence rather than storytelling. May I ask whose and what evidence will you be using?

    Here is another opinion for you to consider. ( I must also apologize if my opinions seem a little simple- minded)
    You state that faith is a fairly recent concept, in many ways regarding modern religion I strongly agree. But without faith us humans would not have lasted very long. The faith to follow , to trust, to invent and to innovate were just a few of our early instincts that helped us on our a way. Faith has been imbedded in our psyche since day one. I believe that it is knowledge and not religion or the supernatural that paved the way for our progress. As I already stated religion has just been a tool used by those with power. The power came with knowledge, even your early shamanic preachers were seen to uphold a greater knowledge than the rest of the tribe. A great wisdom or wiseness which allowed them to take their seat at the head of the tribe. they were the ones who laid down the foundations to teach and follow. I am right because I am the most well – informed , conversant one among us. Thus your imbedded faith will allow you to follow what I say. I believe that it was as SIMPLE as that. The more knowledgeable among the early people did not take long to see that the herd could easily be led by the power that comes with the extra knowledge.

    It has happened right throughout our history. Is it not true that the followers have always had the more frugal lives and the leaders always seem to exist in grandeur and opulence. Did the early shamans not have the best cuts of meats or the biggest caves? Do the high priests not live in splendour? Knowledge is our greatest asset and faith our greatest weakness. Those with knowledge can so easily manipulate, exploit , coerce and indoctrinate those with faith. Tell them what you want and they will believe, are there not millions among us today who actually believe that some guy walked on water and will save our sins. Nonsense, so I conclude by suggesting that it has been knowledge and the power gained through it and faith that has built our city’s and that religion in its many guises is just a tool to exploit our great weakness, faith!

  26. Anonymous

    J. A. Le Fevre March 13, 2012 at 3:55 am
    I assume nothing but the evidence. You cannot develop technology beyond the stone age without cities (and specialists). You cannot build cities without priests. Doubt this? Find an exception.

    I would argue that it was not priests but slaves that built the city’s, enslaved through fear by the powerful priests who governed the rulers. And if you believe that religion was so and still is important in our evolutional path then please explain why more and more of us are turning our backs on it. Surely we would all be religious by now which would enable us to progress at a much faster rate.The fact is religion has and is being replaced by political thought, is it not true that the politicians are now the high priests of society. The puppeteers who pull our strings. They are now the city builders and destroyers.

  27. Anonymous

    Science is dealing with outer HARDWARE physical world considered to be the true reality – right? Religion is dealing with our inner SOFTWARE non physical world considered to be pure fantasy – is not it?
    Just turn the table and you will wake up…

  28. Anonymous

    A person’s worldview is an aggregation, or composite, of beliefs and disbeliefs in a perpetual state of some agitation as new experiential inputs arrive and the mind continuously carries on sorting, revision, and deletions. A belief is a belief, whether it be tagged “religious”, “political”, or otherwise. Political beliefs, I think, sometimes are no less fantastic than religious beliefs. Political messiahs (as they may be perceived) recur in history, including very recent history. Religion and politics are in my perception joined at the hip, disclaimers notwithstanding. And messianism, both religious and political, like everything else human, embraces a wide gray-scale between distant extremes of black and white. Being vague is a useful, proven tactic in evading an intellectual pinning-down.

  29. Jeffery Barber

    Religions are false. Spirituality is not.

    Prior to council at Nicea, in 328 AD, there were no organized religions. Before that point in history, spiritual beliefs were very individualized. There were no “churches”. While there were temples, and priests, there were no congregations, and no “collection plates”.

    Nicea was the turning point in the evolution of spirituality. A downturn towards devolving. At that point, the assembled priests recognized the potential to profit from being able to wedge themselves between the Creator, and the masses.

    They, the council, took something that was understood by most everyone, and sought to make themselves the “middleman” of our relationship with the Old Man.

    Once established, they created a rift between God and the people, that they continued to actively excavate, in order to distance as many potential clients from the true spirituality that had existed prior to their conception. They made themselves the translator and interpreters of God’s thoughts, as they pretty much kept a tight hold on the bible until the eighteenth century, and the advent of movable type printing press.

    They demonized those spiritual belief systems that had existed in antiquity and actively attempting to destroy every other dogma that had been prevalent in the past. The created “crusades” to rule in entirety the known world. They greedily wished to force their industry on every possible candidate, for their own end.

    Clearly, the church was skeptical about the existence of any Higher power, just by their motive and method, but they were not interested in whether He really existed, they were only interested in the profitability of selling an intangible product.

    The council created a “fantasy” that they called, the “New testament”.

    The fact that they did not possess understanding regarding the nature of that which they sought to merchandise by the fact that mythology of the bible is backwards.

    Understanding that the texts that would become the bible were laid on an alter in the temple at Nicea and proceeded to wait for a “sign”.

    The “sign” eventually came in the form of a dove, that flew into the temple and pecked at certain varied tablets of the ancient Babylonian texts laid there. This occurrence is what they saw as a true omen of divine intervention, and ran with it.

    The dove did “show” the council the pertinent text that contained the genealogical records, that would have allowed the council to be able get the mythology correct, and properly included into the bible.

    Understanding they were inventing a tool that would allow them to profit by, they disregarded the genealogical texts, as superfluous.

    The “mythology” they neglected, is the same mythology that some of literatures greatest stories are based on, including the Arthurian legends, Robin Hood, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Carnivals, and the easiest one to understand is Stars Wars, that each involve a “Creature of Dark” and a “Creature of Light”.

    The fact that they have these two individuals and subsequent mythological genealogy backwards is not relevant until the Creature of Dark makes his appearance in the Book of Revelation.

    There are several instances in Revelation where this becomes blatantly obvious. The foremost “tell” about this faux pas, was referred to as the “mystery” of the Book of Revelation. The council did not understand the “seven stars” and “seven lampshades” for what they actually were as spent the entire first chapter of Revelation trying to explain these items away as representative of the “seven churches of Asia”, when the were in fact, talismans and sigils, representative of the seven armies of the “army of darkness”.

    They spent the entire first chapter of Revelation explaining away these items, and then in the last verses of the chapter, suddenly they’re a mystery. What’s the deal with that?

    These items are the tools of sorcery.

    They represent these items as being used by the Old Man.

    The Architect of the Universe does not employ any charms, talismans or lucky rabbits feet in his brand of the “Highest Science”.

    The text that became the book of Revelation was originally attached to the texts that would become the Old testament, but in the interest of a climactic ending they attached it to the fantasy that would become the New testament.

    The texts that make up the new testament were taken from the life of the Krsna, with considerable “creative license” employed. It was Krsna that walked on water and raised an individual from the dead, originally.

    But the true “smoking gun” of the “deception” comes in the end of the gospels of Mark and Luke, when the Jesus’s mother, Mary, and Mary Magdalene return to find Jesus’s body gone, and a young boy who warns them “not the fear”, and proclaims that “Jesus has risen”.

    This individual, supposedly the only individual to see the “miracle” of Jesus being resurrected from the dead, and quite possibly the second most important character in the whole of the New testament remains unnamed.

    Why don’t they name him?

    Then at the very end of both gospels, they both refer to Jesus’s resurrection as “the second deception”.

    What is the first “deception”?

    The first deception is the whole new testament.

    So, in light of these facts, that render the bible invalid, which renders Christianity and any subsequent dogma, completely invalid and false.

    The Old testament remains valid, this is with the consideration that the Book of Revelation is in actuality a component of the ancient texts.

    The reason the church made it a group activity rather than an individualized practice, is the collective guilt trip, and competition of the collection plate. People are much more inclined to drop something into the collection plate, when everyone is watching and then there are the competition involved in being the clergy’s favorite patron.

    They increased profits exponentially, with these paradigms of profit.

    An additional psychological factor involved the churches invention of “Satan”, and the “fiery pits of eternal examination” as an aversionary factor. Prior to that, there was no devil.

    There was “darkness” that was akin to “ignorance” in the ancient dogmas, but ignorance is not a huge dissuader. The church was in need of another intangible fearmonger.

    Not every dogma is invalidated by these facts, but enough of them have fallen in line to make a blanket statement about religious dogmas.

    There one spiritual dogma that is completely unsullied and remains entirely valid in light of all this, is ironically the only dogma the almighty God has endorsed, now or ever.

    That is the one true dogma that absolutely every other spiritual belief on earth can trace its roots back to. The divine seed that was gifted to the Sumerian by the Annunaki.

    That is Advaita Vedanta. The root of all spiritual beliefs.

    The farther up the tree of belief systems you climb, the more perverted and mutated the fruit becomes.

    So, in summation, there is only one true system which the Old Man has ever endorsed and it is the most simple, but the church would be denied, and collapse in on itself, because the only “religion” involved is is merely the acknowledgement that He exists. Beside that tenet, you are free to make your own desired protocols of religion.

    In fact the covenant of the Advaita Vedanta, is the “Gospel of Myself”.

    Thanks for the time and space, Cris.

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