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Conspiracy of Religion


John Simkin
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Has anyone read Michael Onfray's "In Defence of Atheism"?

This is how the publisher's describe the book:

In the twenty-first century, religion is making a comeback, bringing in its wake extremism of all kinds. From Christian anti-abortion campaigns to suicide bombers claiming the righteousness of Islam, we are witnessing a resurgence of fundamentalism. Michel Onfray’s response to the threat of a post-modern theocracy is to lay down the principles of an authentic atheism: exposing the fiction that is God, he proposes instead a new philosophy of reason that celebrates life and humanity. In Defence of Atheism demonstrates that organised religion is motivated by worldly, historical and political power; that the three dominant monotheisms – Christianity, Islam and Judaism – exhibit the same hatred of women, reason, the body, the passions; that religion denies life and glorifies death. Onfray exposes some uncomfortable truths: Judaism invented the extermination of a people; Jesus never existed historically; Christianity was enforced with extreme violence by Constantine; Islam is anti-Semitic, misogynist, warlike and incompatible with the values of a modern democracy.

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What does the valid appreciation of organized religion as politics by other means say to us about the quest for spiritual meaning?

How does acknowledgment of the holocausts perpetrated in the names of organized religions support a materialist world view?

Organized religions, to paraphrase Smedley Buter, are rackets. The most accurate response to Stalin's question, "How many divisions does the Pope have?" would be "More than you have, Uncle Joe."

And the point is???

Organized religions have hijacked spirituality. They did not, however, create the spiritual impulse.

Accordingly, the tortured syllogism "Organized religion is a con game; worship of a fictional deity or deities is the essential component of the con game; therefore all notions of God are generated by a con" is shown to be patently absurd.

Charles Drago

Edited by Charles Drago
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Guest David Guyatt

Religion is a conspiracy almost by definition.

You either is an 'Igh Priest or you ain't.

But these things apart, I think it is interesting to note that the original impusle for the age of Enlightenment, from which the reason and sciences were properly birthed, came about because men of deep religious convinctions believed that if men were ever to reach a pinnacle of civilisation, it was vital to foster a movement that unshackled people from a tyrannical and dogmatic church into the realm of free thought and freedom to worship as they pleased.

Somewhere along the way this worthy impulse went badly wrong.

Today, of course, we are in the midst of another dark age where zealotry and religious dogma is the face of an unfettered capitalism that preaches that anything "good" must, by definition, be also profitable. Our today's hero's are sportsmen paid fabulous wages, plus a never-ending stream of mindless and very often moronic "personalities" -- and behind it all are the high priests of of big business who will tolerate no other God but their own.

I blame Friedrich Nietzsche. Deicide isn't and wasn't the answer.

David

Edited by David Guyatt
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Guest David Guyatt

Peter, it's been a very long time since I read A HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES and you're absolutely right about it -- a mighty interesting read it is, too.

It also segues admirably with Jung's work (of which I am mightily fond) and in particular his theory of Archetypes of which the hero is one. I also see that George Lucas in his Star Wars film acknowledged a debt of gratitude to Campbell for his book. As Jung makes amply clear in his various works, this face changing hero was believed by the middle ages alchemists to be Mercurius.

David

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Guest David Guyatt

That is well worth pondering. One one hand the use of symbology can be aimed at capturing and imprisoning society, but it is also a very important attribute to the process of transformation. Much like what was said of King Arthur's sword Excalibur, a blade that could be used to hack or to heal. It all depended on the underlying motives of the user.

David

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Guest David Guyatt

Peter, I see that McKenna had an interest in alchemy which I also share and to which I was introduced during the years I was studying Jung. This interest was renewed when I began investigating WWII gold, for all sorts of reasons. But one thing that struck me was the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) in-house journal that they used to send me. This was entitled "Alchemy". The LBMA logo is also very interesting in that it is half a rayed Sun coloured gold and half a moon, coloured silver. One does not have to be a brain surgeon to know that this is alchemical symbolism par excellence -- and well beyond meaning of material metals. Methinks the LBMA is very likely populated by Freemasons...

David

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Guest David Guyatt

Thanks for your insights, Peter. Alchemy is often seen as the mundane technique of tranmuting a base metal into gold and there are plenty of people out there today who seek to do this. Over the years many have actually succeeded, too. But during the middle ages this "outer" ambition was actually a veil for a procedure of spiritual tranmutation where the "operators" had to tread with great care to avoid the Catholic rack for heresy. And reading between the libnes of what you have to say about McKenna, I imagine this is the true alchemy he was engaged in, albeit using an array of different schools of thought to achieve that end.

David

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