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Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

The decline in religion and the surge in other beliefs

1 November 2017

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Last Sunday, my mother made an interesting observation. Paraphrasing her words: the decline in Religion is causing a surge in Beliefs as people always need to believe in something. If and when people stop believing in a Deity (eg, Allah, God, Yahweh) then they transfer to the other 6 beliefs, being Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Science and/or the Truth (the 7 Belief systems).

My mother used the (ancient) word idolatry (NL: afgoderij). Nowadays, idolatry is mostly about money and people (eg, autocratic leaders). Several thousands of years ago, idolatry was about worshipping animals (eg, bear cult, bull worship, golden calflion heads) and Nature (eg, earth goddess, earth godsfire gods, sky deitythunder gods, water deitieswind deities).

In recent years, Roman Catholic Pope Francis has warned against the “idolatry of money” and the excesses of capitalism, consumerism and income inequality (eg, Boston Globe, Guardian, PBS, Reuters). Some people dismiss this as a political statement while conveniently forgetting that the Bible is full of quotes on the topic of money and idolatry, like Matthew 6:24.

The Climate Change debate shows the “idolatry of science” in which its causes are either believed to be (hu)man-made or a divine punishment. The concept of responsible stewardship is conveniently ignored. Perhaps as the correlation between economics, climate, and the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 would be another unwelcome political statement.

Since several decades, the “idolatry with the Truth” has resulted in alternative facts and fake news. The latest idolatry is with Philosophy. The most successful authors seem to have become our new prophets, like Yuval Noah Harari and his 2014 book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and his 2016 book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (eg, Wired, 2017).

Ironically, religions are mostly to blame for the decline in the belief of Religion. People easily forget that the prophets Jesus and Muhammad belong to the same royal Sumerian ancestry, dating back to Abraham. Hence, the term Abrahamic religions for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Successive religious leadership was busy competing amongst themselves for Power (eg, Shia vs Sunni, Catholic vs Protestant, Christianity vs Islam). Ever since 270 BC, Judaism became their scapegoat (my 2016 blog). Today, Religion is a man-made institute in the Power domain of the 7 Belief systems (eg, GuardianPolitical Islam).

Once, religion was about expressing faith in a Deity and believing in a Supreme Being. Faith has little to do with Religion (my 2016 blog). Paraphrasing the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “A Deity or Supreme Being has no religion” (my recent blog, my July blogmy January blog).

So far, the selfless belief in Love (Deity, others) has survived human history (blog #1, blog #2). Ironically, self-love – a.k.a. narcissism – has even put Love under pressure.

Under Pressure (1981) by Queen & David Bowielyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3


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