Religious Sects

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology / Cosmology / Religion /
@ K. 1995

Mission: to illustrate that human maps of truth diversify like languages around the Tower of Babel

I believe that all possible views of the world are at least in part faith-based, have axioms, unexaminable, perhaps unconscious, assumptions. Thus there can be no such thing as no religion. What there could be and should be is a good deal less ganging up by the group to switch bad theory for actual experience. Religions, once organized, tend to hammer their tautologies onto reality.

I also believe that religions follow the common path of biology: religions are born, mature, grow pathological, die, get reborn, evolve, degenerate … fragment: making the religio-sphere ever bushier.

Settled cultures, complacent cultures, kleptocracies, tend to idealize oneness, coherence, agreement, harmony. Thus Voltaire quipped,

The English: all those religions and only one sauce.

That quote started my original note. Then I added a joke featuring class awareness in regard to American Protestantism: 19th-century economists observed that

A Methodist is a Baptist with shoes.
A Presbyterian is a Methodist who’s gone to college.
An Anglican is a Presbyterian who lives off his investments.

I regard a ‘cult’ as a religion small enough to be easily victimized by the authorities
and a religion as a cult big enough to force the authorities to treat it with respect.
And that is the only difference I see.
Robert Anton Wilson

Apropos of the foregoing RA Wilson quote, pk couldn’t’ agree more: A sect is a religion without clout; a religion is a sect with some political quorum.

I was reminded of my old note today in reading Stephen Hunter’s quip in his Dirty White Boys. Hunter has a Texan sneer that Methodists are “Baptists who forget where they come from.”

Cute. But more interestingly, I read the following only yesterday. Writing the Preface to Robert H. Nelson’s Reaching for Heaven on Earth, Donald N. McCloskey writes, “Nelson detects two traditions in religion, which he calls the Roman (in both the ancient and the Catholic sense) and the Protestant (in both the Calvinist and the rebellious sense). The issue between them has always been the perfectibility of humankind. Moderation, prudence, courage, and justice, the four natural virtues, are especially admired by Romans. By their works ye shall know them. On the other hand the three theological virtues, faith, hope, and charity, are especially Protestant. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”

Neat. A lot can be done with those perceptions. And I may when I come back. (I did: see Pascal’s Gamble.)
Meantime, I close for the present with two jokes. Hunter’s Texan Baptist told of another, a rich Texas oilman who annually gave 15 percept to the church and quite a sight more when the parishioners decided to build a new building. Afterward, this Texan was asked if he belonged to the church. “Hell no,” he said, “the church belongs to me.”

The other joke had been added to my indoctrination note on 1997 11 25: an Emo Phillips joke to rival anything.

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said “Stop! don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?” He said, “Baptist!” I said, “Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?” He said, “Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!” I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off.

sectarian violence
sectarian violence

2001 07 19 This piece was first born as a simple note to some material in the secular indoctrination section of my biographical overview, 1995. Over the years a couple of jokes got added. Today, before adding a few more as well as introducing a new comment or two, I decided to start fresh, reweaving the material into a new module.

2017 05 04 Everything Jared Diamond touches turns to gold. I urge one and all to be familiar with his The World Until Yesterday. Check out how contemporary hunter / gatherer people classify as friend, enemy, stranger.

I quote from memory, as I so often do: and sometimes when I quote something more than one place, I “quote” it slightly differently. But realize: Voltaire wasn’t speaking English anyway, and I never saw it in his French. There are limits to accuracy even among the would-be careful.

Society Social Epistemology Cosmology Etc.

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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