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The Other Side of Religion

by Frederick Mann 11/18/97 (amended 10/9/98)

Discover the "other side" of religion -- the possible origin and nature of religious ideas and superstitions and how to cure yourself from them -- if that proves necessary.

Religious and political belief have a great deal in common. To cure yourself from NSPIC (Neuro-Semantic Political Illusion Complex), you may first want to examine certain aspects of religious ideas and superstitions.

NSPIC refers to a combination of words/concepts and illusions that effectively keep coercive political systems in place. I have now discovered that NSPIC has its roots in the perceptual and thinking strategies collectively known as anthropomorphism.

My intention isn't to drive away religious believers, but to persuade them to examine what I call the "other side" of religion.

In any case, grasping the possible origin of religious ideas and superstitions, their nature, and how they might be used by pretended "religious authorities" to dupe and exploit their victims, will most likely make it much easier for you to overcome NSPIC.

Twenty Steps of Religious Examination
1. 'Why I Left The Ministry And Became An Atheist' by G. Vincent Runyon.

2. Read '#TL05AB: Anthropomorphism and Related Phenomena', with particular emphasis on the "Two Tribes" story.

3. Read the 'Model of the Bicameral Mind.'

4. Read 'The Biological Basis for Religion' -- see Appendix below.

5. Develop the ability to question everything. Start by questioning one thing that you "know." Then question a second thing; then a third; etc. Get into the habit of questioning at least one thing you "know" before breakfast every day! Familiarize yourself with the analysis of the "job" concept in 'Economic Means to Freedom - Part IA.' Learn to apply the same kind of questioning to other words/concepts.

6. Check out the 'Acharya S' website.

7. Read 'The Anatomy of Slavespeak.'

8. Read 'Jesus' Secret Message about Discovering a Neo-Tech Consciousness.'

9. Read 'Consciousness: The End of Authority.'

10. Read 'The Anatomy of Deep Techniques.'

11. Study the Neo-Tech discovery of "Neo-Cheating."

12. Read 'Abandoning The Neocheaters.'

13. Read 'Mysticism and Destruction.'

14. Read 'The God Concept - a Tool of Destruction.'

15. Read 'Christian Condemnation of Emotions.'

16. Read The Jesus Hoax by Phyllis Graham -- ("A former Carmelite Nun tells the compelling story of her long search for spiritual fulfillment and happiness -- and how she eventually found both outside established 'religion'.")

17. Read The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors or Christianity Before Christ by Kersey Graves. (The "Jesus Story" is the "modern" version of an archetype used repeatedly throughout history to dupe the gullible.)

18. Read Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith.

19. Read The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power by Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad.

20. Read The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes.

21. Read The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James. (Provides many examples of "religious experiences" that support the validity of the bicameral model.)

Appendix - The Biological Basis for Religion
On Wed, 29 Oct 1997 15:09:53 -0800 wrote:

If you need some interesting food for thought with regard to how we are mentally wired and why we are so easily manipulated by statists, read the mid-70's classic by Princeton professor Julian Jaynes, with the ambitious title "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind." His survey of both historical and psychological literature ties together some diverse threads in a most interesting way. The basic premise is that man was only "semi-conscious" until fairly recently in history; that we lived in a kind of hallucinatory illusion filled with voices of gods and were much more manipulable, similar to the hypnotic state. I have no idea if his theory ever achieved any serious stature but the diversity of disciplines he tried to draw from was impressive and very thought provoking.

As far as I know, most academics in related fields ignore Jaynes. Interestingly, the following article recently appeared:

Brain researchers find 'God module'
Los Angeles Times

NEW ORLEANS -- No one knows why humanity felt its first religious stirrings, but researchers at University of California, San Diego, reported Tuesday that the human brain may be hard-wired to hear the voice of heaven.

In an experiment with patients suffering from an unusual form of epilepsy, researchers at the UC San Diego brain and perception laboratory determined that the parts of the brain's temporal lobe -- which the scientists dubbed the "God module" -- may affect how intensely a person responds to religious beliefs. The researchers said the experiment was the first effort to address the neural basis of religious expression.

People suffering this type of seizure have reported intense mystical and religious experiences as part of their attacks but also are usually preoccupied with mystical thoughts between seizures. That led the researchers to use the patients as a way of investigating the relationship between the physical structure of the brain and spiritual experiences.

The researchers determined that one effect of the patients' seizures was to strengthen their brain's involuntary response to religious words, which led the scientists to suggest a portion of the brain was attuned to ideas about a supreme being.

"It is not clear why such dedicated neural machinery ... for religion may have evolved," the team reported Tuesday at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans. One possibility, the scientists suggested, was to encourage tribe loyalty or reinforce kinship ties or the stability of a closely knit clan.

The scientists emphasized that their findings in no way suggest that religion is simply a matter of brain chemistry. "These studies do not in any way negate the validity of religious experience or God," the team cautioned. "They merely provide an explanation in terms of brain regions that may be involved."

Until recently, most neuroscientists confined their inquiries to research aimed at alleviating the medical problems that affect the brain's health and to attempts to fathom its fundamental neural mechanisms.

Emboldened by their growing understanding of how the brain works, however, scientists now dare to investigate the relationship between the brain, human consciousness and intangible mental experiences.

Craig Kinsely, an expert in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Richmond in Virginia, said: "People have been tickling around the edges of consciousness, and this sort of research plunges in. There is the quandary of whether the mind created God or God created the mind. This is going to shake people up, but (any conclusion) is very premature."

Vilayanur Ramachandran, the senior scientist involved in the experiment and the director of the center for brain and cognition at UC San Diego, said, "We are skating on thin ice. We are only starting to look at this. The exciting thing is that you can even begin to contemplate scientific experiments on the neural basis of religion and God."

Maybe the "god module" has a companion called the "government module" -- or maybe they're both part of a larger "external-authority module." The phenomena of "god worship" and "government worship" have a great deal in common. Under "government worship" I include the worship of statist terms such as "state," "government," "constitution," "law," "country," "nation," "border," etc.

Is it a coincidence that the most ardent "constitution" worshippers seem to be religious patriots?

Anyway, I now think that underlying both religion and NSPIC there's an "anthropomorphism module" -- see '#TL05AB: Anthropomorphism and Related Phenomena'.

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