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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Church of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 12. Thanks for the Meme-ories!

If you are sitting in a state of blissful ignorance about a Meme-infestation, what are the tell tale signs to look for? Imagine how a medical symposium might describe the symptoms.

1. The patient finds him/herself impelled by some deep inner conviction that something feels true, right, or the way it should be; a conviction that does not have any evidence or reason, but which, nevertheless, they feel is totally compelling or convincing!

Doctors refer to such a belief as “faith.”

The typical patient will make it a positive virtue to have his/her “faith” strong and unshakeable.

This feeling of superiority or righteousness will persist in spite of a lack of evidence. In fact most people will believe that the less evidence there is ----the more virtuous the belief!

This lack of evidence is a positive virtue where faith is concerned because if is a self-sustaining program. This means that once a proposition is believed, it automatically undermines opposition to itself.

The “lack of evidence is a virtue” idea is admirable since it teams up with “faith” itself to form a mutually supportive viral program!

2. Along with the two already mentioned symptoms of a Memics infection, we have a related symptom that may also be present in a faith-sufferer.

This is the conviction that “mystery” (i.e. the mystery of faith) is not something to be solved. It is not a virtue to solve mysteries, but rather we should enjoy them and revel in their insolubility.

Roman Catholics, for example, have a belief in infallible authority, which compels them to accept that wine becomes physically transformed into blood.

By the same token, they have the exact same trick performed in the “mystery” of the Trinity!

3. If you have a faith bug, it is statistically overwhelming that it is the same faith as your parents and grandparents had.

Moving stories and parables, along with stirring music and magnificent houses of worship have had some influence, but by and large, the most important variable in determining your religion is an accident of birth!

The convictions that you so passionately believe would have been a completely different set of beliefs if you had been born somewhere, or by someone else!

4. The infected persons may find themselves behaving intolerantly towards rival faiths, in extreme cases even killing them or advocating their deaths. They may be similarly inclined towards apostates or heretics!

This feeling of animosity can even be translated into hostility towards other modes of thought that are potentially inimical to their faith, such as the scientific method (evolution, etc.) which may be an anti-viral agent to him/her.

The road that leads to denunciation of another person’s faith is a long and perilous journey at best.

Because these viruses implant themselves so deeply into our psyche, often from a very early age on, to challenge them or attempt to “bring down the house of cards” can have serious consequences for the individual.

The threat to kill the distinguished novelist Salmon Rushdie or the Danish cartoonist who made fun of Muhammad is only one in a long list of sad examples.

Murder is an extreme example of course, but we have examples of even more extreme behavior in the suicide of the militant observers of a faith.

Like a soldier ant in a colony of Arab, or Japanese, or Sikh extremists, (ants) they are programmed to sacrifice their life.

To die in a holy war is the quickest way to heaven.

'On the surface, this may seems outright preposterous, but remember, the true test of a faith is the ability to believe without question!

Memes are not only immaterial thoughts, but can also manifest themselves as concrete objects when they are employed as the bases for objects such as a book.

A book is a successful way of transmitting a Meme and we are going to look at one of the most successful Memes of all time. The Bible!

In terms of the number of copies in existence, the Bible represents one of the most prolific books ever produced. Where other great texts of the ancient world have either been lost or else exist only in a relatively small number of copies, the Bible is everywhere!

The Bible has existed generally in its present form for the last two millennia.

If “survival of the fittest” has any validity as an evolutionary slogan, then the Bible seems a fair candidate for the accolade of the fittest of all books.

It exists today in over two thousand different languages and is distributed worldwide making it one of the best examples of a self-propagating “Meme.”

The Bible has exerted more influence on Western and even World culture than any other book. In art, literature, politics and religion, the biblical narratives and quotations are all-pervasive.

As Western culture became globalized, so to did the Bible. For example, fully one quarter to one third of all Japanese households today possess a bible. This in a country where only one or two percent of the population has any Christian adherence whatsoever.

The Bible has propagated itself so well in Japan because it is regarded as essential background for a proper understanding of Western culture.

This means that one effect of the spread of Western culture through trade, conquest and missionary activity has been the spread of an ancient Hebrew and Greek text to every corner of the globe.

Where Western culture goes, so goes the Bible.

“What a Meme!” And remember, a Meme has exactly the same psychological motivation for us as a chain letter; “If you propagate me then something nice will happen. If not, then something horrible will happen!” (Hell?)

Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site www.God-101.com

Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://God-101.blogspot.com

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Anonymous Larry M. said...

This is also why people of a faith are so afraid of anyone questioning their beliefs. They must demand that all support their beliefs or they fear to lose their own faith. That's why they hate heretics so ferverntly.

Friday, March 21, 2008 3:56:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Marilyn M. said...

I think you and Larry have been hanging around the wrong people. I will explain and defend my faith if necessary, but it's not up to me to tell anyone they should only worship God in the way that I do. That's a matter of choice.

While my parents were church goers, I don't think either one ever read the Bible much or studied. I certainly never saw them do so. Because of that, we have much different experiences in matters of faith and learning and teachings. Is it the same faith? Wel, yes...and no.

You said, "The infected persons may find themselves behaving intolerantly towards rival faiths, in extreme cases even killing them or advocating their deaths. They may be similarly inclined towards apostates or heretics!"

I would have to agree that persons who behave this way are, indeed, infected. But it is not the behavior most of the world's religions condone or support.

Friday, March 21, 2008 3:57:00 p.m.  

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