Angels and Demons

The general consensus among physical anthropologists is that religion co-evolved with language. By religion, they mean belief, not the highly complex and abstract stuff we now think of as religion. Early humans probably started with supernatural ideas about the forces controlling the parts of the natural world they could see. Then maybe more abstract ideas about what happens to people when they die and the need to properly handle the dead. This is all speculation, but that’s where the evidence seems to point.

Whether or not belief is baked into our genes is debatable, mostly because we don’t know enough about the human genome. The news makes it sound like science has unraveled the mysteries of human DNA and we’re on the verge of creating super babies, but nothing could be further from the truth. There’s also the fact that people continue to insist that believing in Progressive mythology is rational while being a committed Christian is delusional. Once again, Progressive orthodoxy hinders science.

When religion is treated as a subset of mass movements, then the genetic argument for belief becomes more promising. The person who is always caught up in one cause or another is well known. It is not unusual for someone to start out in one thing and end up in its opposite. The Christian, who gets into radical politics and ends up as a spiritual gluten free vegan into hot yoga. Some people are highly prone to getting caught up into mass movements, while others are disinclined to join anything, even when they agree with it.

The true believer latches onto a cause, in part, because of a deep belief in magic or the super natural. The crazy cat lady into aroma therapy will have a long list of wacky reasons why certain smells have magical powers, but it’s still just magic. She does not know. She believes and she gets satisfaction, a psychic reward, by exercising that belief. Half of Iceland believes there are invisible elves on the island, even thought no one has seen an elf. They are invisible, after all. It just feels right to believe they exist.

The ruling class of America seems to be particularly prone to belief in the supernatural, despite their alleged love of science and reason. You see this in their obsession with racism. Our betters talk about racism as if it is a demon spirit. The anointed, invested with the spirit of good-think, are tasked with exhorting the rest of us to resist the Dark Lord of Racism. You see it in this post the other day by VD, regarding the hysteria at Duke Divinity School. Anathea Portier-Young sounds like she is organizing an exorcism.

“Racism is a fierce, ever-present, challenging force, one which has structured the thinking, behavior, and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of U.S. history. To understand racism and effectively begin dismantling it requires an equally fierce, consistent, and committed effort” (REI). Phase I provides foundational training in understanding historical and institutional racism. It helps individuals and organizations begin to “proactively understand and address racism, both in their organization and in the community where the organization is working.” It is the first step in a longer process.

Puritan ministers use to talk like that about Satan. Racism is no longer just normal clannishness based on race. Now it is a magical, almost indescribable, force that creeps up on little cat feet to possess the soul of those who are not vigilant. These seminars all have a revival quality to them. The participants are inducted into secret rights that allow them to resist the Dark Lord of Racism and all his works. The exhortation to go forth and preach against the temptations of racism is right out of 17th century Salem.

The late great Eric Hoffer observed that mass movements can get along without a god, but they must always have a devil. Modern Progressives have only a muddled sense of a deity, but they have a devil, as well as a list of lesser demons that do his bidding. Racism is the arch demon in the cosmology of the Left. It is why everything they don’t like is associated with racism. Trump, for example, is one of the least racist guys in public life, but they swear he is the soldier of the Dark Lord of Racism.

The ruins at Göbekli Tepe are interesting for a number of reasons, but one of them is what they suggest about the nature of man. It was assumed that human organization was either out of self-interest or out of a sense of cooperation. It was homo economicus or homo reciprocans. The fact that pre-settlement people came together to build what looks like a religious site, suggests that neither is true. A desire for purpose, beyond the material, may be the force that drives human cooperation beyond the bounds of kinship.

Our ruling class has the same desire for a purpose beyond their extravagant lifestyles as Cloud People. These are people who fully committed to the meritocratic, managerial system. They are true believers. Having abandoned Christianity long ago, the ruling class lurches from cause to cause, looking for a reason to cast themselves as on the side of angels, in the great moral struggle that is the human condition. Lacking a deity, a light to give them purpose, they settle for demons they can slay.

This post has already been linked to 2752 times!

Leave a Reply

39 Comments on "Angels and Demons"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Nulle Terre Sans Seigneur
Guest
> Racism is no longer just normal clannishness based on race. Indeed. And yet in response to (or perhaps independently from) the radical shift in understanding race from the left by the likes of Montagu, Mead and Boas, many on the right have adopted a sort of Nietzschean view on blood, soil and race, where mathematical models like Hamilton’s rule are practically exalted into catechisms of spiritual belief. This tendency predates modern population genetics, of course — the most notorious example being “Positive Christianity.” By the way, I take it you’re familiar with Dual Inheritance Theory? It applies the tools… Read more »
Garr
Guest

Just so nobody else has to spend time googling “Hamilton’s rule” (as I just did) the Wiki thumbnail is: “According to Hamilton’s rule, kin selection causes genes to increase in frequency when the genetic relatedness of a recipient to an actor multiplied by the benefit to the recipient is greater than the reproductive cost to the actor.”

Joey Junger
Guest
Religious belief probably does confer an evolutionary advantage, and (much to the chagrin of liberals and pure materialists) even a scientific advantage. Certain priests in antiquity constructed models of the world and astronomical tools (for astrological reasons) that are almost as accurate as our most advanced technologies today. Actually, there is some debate, but based on changes in true north, some of these models are exactly as accurate as ours or even more-so. The people who made these inventions/azimuths did it to commune with their gods or for crop-planting reasons, but these druids and Egyptians did a hell of a… Read more »
Member
As someone who shares your admiration for the early astronomers/astrologers, I might even go so far as to say that religious belief and scientific exploration are motivated by the same human impulse to understand the world they live in. The language of science – mathematics – was developed almost entirely to explain astronomical observations. And why were early astronomers so interested in explaining the movements of the stars? It’s because they believed that somewhere in those motions were signs from the gods that would tell humans how to live their lives. Science and religion for the ancients were essentially part… Read more »
Tim Newman
Guest

Great final paragraph.

Garr
Guest
“The general consensus among physical anthropologists is that religion co-evolved with language. By religion, they mean belief, not the highly complex and abstract stuff we now think of as religion.” People have also seriously proposed that language emerged from ritualistic dance-chants, so maybe ritual precedes belief. Or maybe the inclination toward ritual and the inclination to imagine that there are conscious beings behind the scene, whose intentions explain everything, are two separate things that combine to generate religion — belief and ritual reinforcing each other. So you’re right to emphasize the ritualistic character of Portier-Young’s seminar: it’s an “exorcism”, just… Read more »
Member
If you read some of the older literature on ancient religious practices like The Ancient City by DeCoulanges, Religion in Greece and Rome by Rose, or Greek Folk Religion by Nilsson, you get the impression that ritual preceded belief, although none of these authors come out and say it. What these by a try to do is peer back through the written record we have to try and see the origins of what we have fairly direct evidence of. A sort of anthropology by inference. What emerges by this method is a religion based on maintenance of the household and… Read more »
Garr
Guest

teapartydoc, I don’t understand your last two paragraphs, from “All of this does little to explain …” to “… among the otherwise heathen.” Would you mind explaining further?

Al from da Nort
Guest

Doc;
Good point about using the supernatural to reinforce parental authority, It used to happen here, too. Now, Cloud Culture seeks to destroy parental authority (apparently to pave the wide path of depravity). The results are everywhere to be seen. Not an improvement.

Arnold Williams
Guest

I’d point out that in Christianity, the elaborate theology emerged before the Gospels (the letters of Paul predate all the gospels). You are right in that family, and society order is emphasized, but order on the political level is explicitly divorced from divine qualities.

KWEiler
Guest

@TeaPartyDoc – “you get the impression that ritual preceded belief, although none of these authors come out and say it”. Reminds me of the ancient saying in the Catholic Church, “Lex orandi, Lex credendi” – roughly, the rule of prayer is the rule of belief. Liturgy & ritual preceded theology.

Al from da Nort
Guest

About exorcising the evil spirits of ‘racism’: It does seem that these Cultural Marxists are entirely too familiar with what used to be called ‘familiar spirits’.

Member

I think Gobekli Tepe was a nightclub with a Neolithic temple motif.

Member

When you are the god anything that frustrates your desires is a demon to be destroyed.

Member

One of your best.

Member
Z: Our ruling class has the same desire for a purpose beyond their extravagant lifestyles as Cloud People. These are people who fully committed to the meritocratic, managerial system. They are true believers. Having abandoned Christianity long ago, the ruling class lurches from cause to cause, looking for a reason to cast themselves as on the side of angels, in the great moral struggle that is the human condition. Lacking a deity, a light to give them purpose, they settle for demons they can slay. Hoffer: It’s disconcerting to realize that businessmen, generals, soldiers, men of action are less corrupted… Read more »
karl hungus
Guest

your description of these people makes them sound like macrophages

Nori
Guest

From the looks of the elf-door in the linked Atlantic article, perhaps our host has ethereal kin in the land of fire and ice. The fact that the letter “Z” is no longer used in modern Icelandic deepens the mystery.

Lulu
Guest

Even now, the more primitive in the world believe in voodoo and curses. That caused a female relative of a friend’s house servant in Nairobi to believe she had fallen ill because someone had put a curse on her. When she died, they found that she was indeed cursed. With AIDS.

Al from da Nort
Guest
Re God or culture genes: They may even exist. But once you know that there are ~10k human genes and ~126k human proteins*, supposedly uniquely coded by those genes, then you know *science*, even if loved far beyond mere human sexual intercourse, has a **long** way to go before it can even understand, much less engineer the human genome. If you have any grasp of information theory, that is. And genes *are* information, albeit with four primitive values instead of two. It’s almost as though there were a simple, supra-materialist explanation of all this incredible complexity but stiff-necked human pride… Read more »
LetsPlay
Member

I think they would rather cut off their noses than bend the knee.

TomA
Guest
I think I have commented on this before, but the evolution of complex language skill enabled our species to pass wisdom from generation to generation via the reprogramming of our youth during their formative years postpartum. As most parents understand, just saying something wise to a child will not embed, consequently other techniques involving repetition and ritual are needed in order to make it stick. The most successful of these practices evolved into religious beliefs and traditions. Religions have persisted (in all their various flavors) because they “work” in the sense that they successfully imbue our youth with knowledge that… Read more »
Dutch
Guest
I believe some of the legends/folklore/religion of the past was an exercise in “I have a secret, follow me and I might let you in on it”. A means of social ordering. The cloud people of today are trying to do the same thing, but it is more difficult when information is freely shared and many are sceptical. Then there is the punitive stirring of the social pot to turn people against each other. This is where the sexist/racist thing comes into play, and the Progs are the foolish willing vessels of such poison. Trump is the devil because he… Read more »
CaptDMO
Guest

“The Secret Knowledge”…recovering progressive David Mamet.

Ryan
Guest
“Phase I provides foundational training in understanding historical and institutional racism. It helps individuals and organizations begin to “proactively understand and address racism, both in their organization and in the community where the organization is working.” It is the first step in a longer process.” Phase 4 I assume is when they pass out the Kool Aid. This essay is great. But we’re still left with the question of how does one fight a religion that has no god, or has a god with no name? The right wing blogosphere consensus seems to be that you have to beat it… Read more »
LetsPlay
Member
Why do you assume it is a “religion?” The example of religion as defined above as providing a context for as TomA describes above “Religions have persisted (in all their various flavors) because they “work” in the sense that they successfully imbue our youth with knowledge that aids their ability to survive and thrive in a world of hardship and existential threat.” Does mental illness qualify as “religion” when it’s history is fraught with constant failure wherever it treads? Does it successfully imbue anyone, anywhere with the “ability to survive and thrive in a world of hardship and existential threat?”… Read more »
JakeBadlands
Guest

Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God.

Edwhy
Guest

Believing in ‘science’ while having no knowledge of science is not restricted to journalism.

tim
Guest

Great post as always. How about a post on the best places (on the web?) to get actual news. We were created to worship God and that’s why you’ve got to believe in something if God is not at the center. We are hard-wired that way, every human, but it’s not in the genome it’s in the soul, spirit the inner man apart from the body. Thanks for all.
thetimguy

Cicatrizatic
Guest

I am late to the comments on this one, but Z Man, are you familiar with the works of either Eric Voegelin or Rene Girard?

wpDiscuz