By RAR

 No, but it may be a signal for help, and not necessarily in a bad way.

God is a construction of peoples’ need to have an organizing influence in their lives, standards to live by, and some reason to carry on. In all of those ways, God and everything that comes with it – the afterlife, sense of well being and spiritual comfort, and purpose in all things – is truly helpful to people, as various studies have seemed to indicate. Belief is powerful, almost regardless of its details.[1]

That God, and the belief therein, is a signal for help is endemic to the genesis of the subject, if you will pardon the pun.

Tracts such as the Old and New testaments of the Bible are around in the first place because they were generated for a purpose. They are not just random scribbling on papyrus – in fact, if you think about that for more than a second you buy my point – but are really like project documents developed for certain organizations.

As the late professor of ancient philosophies Joseph Campbell often pointed out, the great religious tracts – the Bible, the Koran – are documents intended to rally people to action. He goes so far as to suggest that they are instruments of war, and likens the great religious leaders like Moses and Muhammad to War Generals.

The stories within these religious texts deal primarily with organization, and divine intervention, against threats to individuals and groups of people. And in that sense, they are like corporate statements: messaging about higher purpose and benefits of enrollment. The mission statements are all there, the means for contacting the parties responsible for administration of benefits, and the holiday schedule.

The organizing influences were the Pharaohs of Egypt, the Roman Empire, and those other people competing for the shared, native regions of largely nomadic tribes people.

If the impetus for creating such socialized documents as the Bible and the Koran were not necessarily signs of weakness, but rather signs of organizational strength, they were most certainly indicators of feeling of threat. And for good reason. The principle progenitors of these manifestos were subject to an ongoing history of violence and subjugation.

They needed help and they had these documents, which over time took on the patina of mythical truth, that told readers to believe in a supernatural realm that was accessible only to those who surrendered their fear, their weakness, to this Other power.

Under pressure, many people would surrender control, throw their fate to delusion, and take that deal, even if it turns out that there is no God to save their mortal souls; that their mortal soul was never theirs to possess, but only there to nourish for a short time before becoming untethered and migrating on to some place we could never know.

Delusion is defined as false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence and certainly any belief in God falls into that category, and yet 92 percent of American citizens profess to believe in God.[2]

Is delusion a sign of weakness? Yes, probably. It is the proverbial crack in the cosmic egg, not a bursting forth of redemptive light but a disorienting strobe of conflicting information. With one message you get “Be a Part – Organize to Fight” along with “Love One Another” and “Live Well – Die and Go to Heaven”. With another you get “Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid” and “They Are Not Us!” And you get torrents of illogic where the guiding principles seem at odds with one another.

These organizing documents have retained the power of their purposes, as witnessed by the foundations they provide to religious groups and political parties.

The irony is that the comfort they provide to true believers is countered by the threat they pose to those not of their kind. By promising spiritual comfort while promulgating negative adjurations against others (non-believers), they increase the tension of the world in which we actually live; not the world of the deceased, but the one of the now living.

In that sense, belief in God is creating a weakness in our ability to maintain civil order globally, which multiplies all sense of threat.

When people feel threatened, they often lash out at others, the beneficiaries of their rage.

Given that the believers have all been nurtured on documents designed to incite organization for conflict, is this behavior a surprise?

Somehow I suspect that delusional belief in mythologized history is a societal weakness that may well bring the end of all civilized humankind. I am not the first, though it hardly matters.

After the world we have presently crumbles, the few remaining survivors will feel the threat of uncivil society, and almost certainly they will seek comfort in their imaginations. And a scribe will come along to record their odd thoughts as ongoing history, and the cycle of delusion will be reborn yet again. There is that weakness, that ability to forget all that we have learned, at work in the human mind.

 Rick Alan Rice (RAR) is the head of RARWRITER Publications and the Publisher of WWW.RARWRITER.COM and THE REVOLUTION CULTURE JOURNAL. He is also a communications consultant and owner of Rick A Rice (RAR) Consulting, which specializes in A/E/C and IT contracting, particularly for Federal contracts. His publication and consulting operations are committed to sustainable design in all aspects of life.

 

 

[1] Sven Koenig, Duke University Professor for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health, 2005 Study cited in NIH proposal for research funding into additional studies into the physical effects of belief systems

[2] May 2010 USA Today/Gallup Poll, which also reported that 97 percent of Americans support a National Day of Prayer following a Federal Court ruling that the idea was “unconstitutional”