Monday, August 20, 2007

Religion is Propaganda

I was reading this article on "How Propaganda Works," which I somewhat assume is directed at how governments use propaganda to manipulate the masses, but this seems to apply just as much to organized religions.

The article states the key to good propaganda is to appeal to 3 key human characteristics; emotionalism, tribalism, and narcissism.

Religion appeals to people's emotional needs through the imaginary solution of prayer; just talk to god and he'll tell you what to do. People don't have enough faith in themselves so they turn to a leader to make decisions for them. That leader may be their imaginary god, their holy book, or their local shaman/priest/rabbi/sheik. This often eliminates one's need to think for one's self.

People are best unified by their dislike for a common enemy, whether that enemy is real or imagined doesn't so much matter. The enemy of religion is not really the devil, or evil in itself. The enemy of religion is people of a different religion whom the leaders classify as the devil or evil-incarnate. A tribe might fight amongst itself, but it finds a cohesive force in it's want to fight outsiders.

And the last appeal of religion to a person's narcissistic side is to tell them that god loves them, god thinks they are special, god has a plan for them. Heaven is waiting for you, because you are part of this group. And while you are part of the group, you are an individual & special in the eyes of god!

Heaven provides an emotional coution for the devastation that is death that we must all eventually face. Muslim tribes may be fighting eachother in the middle east, but they'll often get together to fight the Jews or Christians. Christianity fights evolution not just because of the fairy tales in the bible, but on the grounds that they believe humans are better than and different from all of the the other animals on this planet.

I would never venture to deny any person their individual spirituality, but organized religion is pure propaganda and I only wish more people could see it as such.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really good piece.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I think you have this a little confused. You think those who believe in God do not have faith in themselves so they turn to a leader to tell them how to feel, I could not disagree more. Your lack of faith in God only shows ignorance and an unwillingness to adhere to a moral law that may not fit your specific needs and wants. If there is a God, you could be held accountable someday for your actions, but as you wish to live blindly you don't feel you will ever be judged for what you do to others. As far as prayer goes, just because He may not answer you when you demand it doesn't make it unimportant or useless. It is truly scary and sad to know so many walk this earth with no faith, only relying on themselves. What a horribly lonely life to lead.

3:54 PM  

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