The following first appeared in the private email list IVy-subscribers,
which was available to all those who subscribed to the
printed magazine, International Viewpoints.
Home Page: http://www.ivymag.org/ - with extensive links to FZ!
Note  : there is a correction at the end.

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Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2002 03:27:59 EDT
Subject: IVySubs: Historical, or hysterical, reflections on religion
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Hello, anyone!
  I have been more than a little pleased to read the interesting commentary
on the subject of religion that has recently graced the IVy list from the
pens of some of my fellow listers. In fact, I confess that their words have
inspired me to contribute to the discussion.

  Earth has been blessed or cursed with quite a bit of religious activity,
and over the millennia, no matter what part or place on this planet one might
look, in groups large or small, there is almost always some activity going on
that might be described as religion or religious in nature. Some histories
have it that religions have arrived on this planet from extraterrestrial
sources, and that these religions arrived in the form of an implant --
something that got inserted into the human mind without conscious knowledge
of the recipient that causes said person to feel as though all the thoughts
and ideas and sensibilities contained in the implant are really natural or
native to the person.

  Well, that very well may be the case; but whether it is or not, many
religions soon take on the character of being an implant, whether they
started out that way or not, and generation after generation of folks, with
the help of the ministers and priests and other officials of religious
bodies, ensure that children, as soon as possible, have the notions and
feelings of the religion pretty well stuffed down their throats long before
they reach the age of freedom of choice or decision. Some folks, in spite of
the efforts of their elders, coupled with religious bodies, somehow manage to
escape the earthly religious implant and remain free to think and decide and
choose as to what beliefs or conclusions one might reach regarding creation
and its source or sources.

  It has been mentioned on this list that once great ideas or practices are
turned into that which we call "religion," much of the hope, the promise, and
the validity of same is lost or gets so mucked up as to finally become
something far different than the earliest and best possibilities. The little
church of Scientology, one of my favorite whipping boys, has, in a very short
period of time, provided us with a textbook example of what happens to great
potentials that become strangled through the creation of an organized
religious body.

  Yes, in just a few decades, something that appeared to have and hold
great promise and that had been created and designed not to fall into the
erring ways of other wisdom schools that had gone the way of religious
evolution, managed to take on in this short period of time many of the worst
charactistics, attributes, and operating principles of some of the older and
more mind-numbing religious bodies that frequent this lovely and formerly
sylvan planet. Papa Sigmund Freud, who re-introduced the idea of the un- or
sub-conscious mind to the western world that had been suffering from a severe
bout of denial regarding such possibilities, was kind enough to point out
that religion was/is the opiate of the masses.

  One might in response to that ask, "Why do the masses require an opiate?"
And this could possibly be answered by an examination of just how religion
may have come into existence and also why it is so damned pervasive.
Pre-scientific human beings, just as post-scientific human beings, were
greatly troubled by a fairly large number of things that affected their
lives, over which they had no control, things of tremendous intensity that
took place seemingly out of the blue that killed and destroyed and made great
misery for human beings, both individually and collectively; the sort of
things that come under the heading of "overwhelm". And when human beings get
overwhelmed, they generally attempt to find answers or reasons or attempt to
achieve some degree of certainty about that which has happened so they aren't
running around as victims of fear, uncertainty, and confusion, with no stable
datum or certainty on which they can depend.

  So we have natural disaster for human being-type experiences, such as
earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes or typhoons, tornadoes, electrical storms
with giant bolts of lightning; we have little things like ice ages, droughts,
famine, and a large variety of frequently fatal or disabling diseases, not to
speak of periods of time when human beings were preyed upon by animals that
looked upon the human species as a lovely delicacy.

  So as you can easily see from these few examples, humankind, in various
ways and at various times, has been and still is much the effect of things,
of causes, that are determined from outside human control or cause, and that
as previously mentioned are quite overwhelming. Many of those things
mentioned do not offer the opportunity to fight back, to defeat, to overcome
or diminish these other-determined causes, which if it were possible to do so
would have greatly improved the human condition.

  I find it quite easy to see from this that both the origins of religion
and science are to be found in the human necessity to find certainty and help
for enormous feelings of inadequacy in the face of natural disaster in the
form of religion and the never-ending efforts of science to observe, to
explain, just what these phenomena are all about, and to some greater or
lesser degree make it possible to harness these forces, to create structures
that are capable of minimizing the effect of natural phenomena, and even in
some cases overcome the ravages of a pretty fair number of diseases.

  I propose that an earlier human being, faced with many causes for which
said human being had no answer, invented or fell naturally into the notion
that there was or is some higher force, invisible perhaps but present,
creating and throwing these awful things at human beings, and that if one
were able to acknowledge whatever or whoever was doing this thing and learn
what the needs and wants of such a superbeing were, and to placate and
propitiate such a being, the being might decide to be kind to the human
beings who were wise enough to treat it properly, and that as time went by it
was realized that this superbeing had actually created human beings, and that
they mustn't ever forget that and must remain eternally grateful, and that
things would go a lot better.

  And once this sort of thought permeated human beings' nature, what has
followed in religious development is not hard to understand, and classes of
people arose who had special connections with that which came to be called
the deity, and they could express the thoughts of the deity to others and
could develope a whole system of keeping folks "in good standing" with the
deity and his or her religious organization. In return for this came the
promise of eternal life, freedom from real death, and the knowledge that you
could depend upon the deity to look after you as long as you kept your nose
clean, even when it seemed like he wasn't being that nice.

  And so here we get the "opiate" idea which the completely addlepated,
implanted, and hypnotized human being can now, and genuinely, feel safer and
more looked-after in the same way that a child feels secure and safe in the
arms of those deities called Mother and Father. And so we can go on being
children, God's children, and since human beings have an unfailing
proclivity, especially with the rise of moral law and the punishment or
consequences that come from disobeying it, to acquire a built-in idea of
assigning cause outside themselves in other words, giving up their own
willingness to admit cause (one of the definitions of responsibility) and to
assign their responsibilities to other-determined agencies until some folks
arrive at very low echelons of responsibility and feel, when they're first
getting audited, that all real causes come from something outside themselves
like God or the Devil or perhaps one's employer or spouse.

  But anyhow, here's a possible picture of the origins of religion and
science, and it's interesting to note that religious history is extremely
bloody and violent, and continues to be right into present time; and the
wonderful creations and inventions and harnessing of forces, whether it be
the design of the sword to the hydrogen bomb, have become useful to religious
institutions and those perceived to be counter to these religious viewpoints
in making religious history what it is today, even though most religions
claim to be loving and peaceful.

  Well, whenever I hear that, and at the same time flash on religious
history, I usually fall to the floor and froth with laughter until it feels
like my sides will split and my stomach will explode. This is especially in
evidence when I think of what a peaceful group the Church of Scientology is
-- speaking of which, some of you may not remember that around 1949 or 1950,
L. Ron Hubbard wrote an article in which he said, and I paraphrase, "If you
want to make a million dollars, start a religion." And sometime between 1950
and 1955, Ron, to the horror of almost all Dianeticists and many of the new
Scientologists, did, whilst in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, create a religious
corporation; and leaving out all the details of this bedtime story, he did
make a million dollars, in fact he made hundreds of millions of dollars.
But, to quote from another religion's aphorisms, "What shall it profit a man
if he should gain the whole world but in so doing lose his soul?"

  Well, that's enough of the humor for tonight -- I'm really just starting
to get warmed up, so look forward or backward to hearing more from this
source. Fare thee well --

Originations, comments, to the list, send to ivy-subscribers@lightlink.com
From: PJSpickler@aol.com
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        for Sun, 8 Sep 2002 14:09:07 -0400
Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2002 14:09:07 EDT
Subject: IVySubs: Imaagine my surprise.............
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**  ivy-subscribers relaying  **

Yes fellow subscribers.......... just imagine my surprise when i received not
one but two rather irate E-mails , one from Karl Marx and the other from
Sigmund Freud castgating ( re-proving ) me for in- correctly guoting one
and attributing it to the other............well my faces are really red for
indeed it was Karl Marx not Sigmund Freud who said that religion is the
opiate of the masses...........phew.... very sorry about that...........
Just what Sigmund Freud said about religion will soon be ,
and I hope correctly , mentioned in another post.
On the other hand I was thrilled to hear from these worthies, and especial
thanks to whomever it was on Ivy-subs for letting the chaps know of my gaff.
It seems as tho' in cyber space resurrection of not just every thing
........but..... best of all everyone.............has occurred...............

Good day
Originations, comments, to the list, send to ivy-subscribers@lightlink.com