The Varieties of Religious Experience

One of the interesting things about having spent a part of my life at least trying to be a devout Christian, and at least part of my life at least trying to be to a card carrying Far Left liberal, hereafter referred to as a Lefty is that I understand the values, motivations, and structures of both these things.

Both groups, at least in America, believe that their beliefs and actions are the anthesis of the other. Lefties, the angrier of the two groups, believe they are fighting authoritative repression. Christians are more likely to believe they are fighting Godless ignorance. The most extreme of both groups believe the other side is both ignorant and evil.

A curious thing is not how different these groups are, as you might assume given the seemingly never-ending petty conflict, but how similar they are.  Which is why they are in conflict.

Both groups have an elite priesthood in charge of the orthodoxy. Christians formalize this in the church hierarchy. It’s less formal on the Left, but exists in universities, NGOs and feminist organizations. The Christian orthodoxy is rooted in ancient, scared texts. The Left’s orthodoxy, being much younger, is constantly evolving, but at the core (ironically) it’s a David and Goliath myth, the ever-evolving feminism, and a gross misunderstanding of science. Both groups have sin and sinners, redemption, and penance.

Both religions have command control style operation that enforces the orthodoxy: the church and the media. Both make heavy use of indoctrination at the youngest ages and continuing throughout life. Indoctrination is formal and relies on heavily on guilt and repetition. There is little tolerance for ambiguity or disbelief, and formal mechanisms to recruit.

Over time, what started as single religion fractured into subgroups with similar but different orthodoxies (i.e. Baptists, Catholics). Doctrinaire Environmentalists think people who accuse them of being Socialists in disguise are just stupid, but the truth is that Environmentalism,  Socialism, Social Justice-ism are all factions of Leftyism, and reinforce each other sometimes unconsciously, but never by accident.

Consider, without prejudice, the following two creation stories:

#1 An invisible omnipotent benevolent infallible force created the universe and the intricate complexity of life, which we barely perceive let alone understand, in 6 days, from nothing at all. On a whim. But this was tiresome, so he took a day off. He later appeared and performed miracles for about 2000 years, then sent his son for a visit and to be murdered, and both have remained in hiding for the last 2000 years but are still there.

#2 The universe and the intricate complexity of life, which we barely perceive let alone understand, was the result of an octillion quattuordecillion centillion uncorrelated accidents randomly taking place over a quintillion duodecillion eons from nothing at all.

On some reflection, they are both equally likely to be true, equally impossible to prove, and frankly farcical.

And yet, one of these beliefs is backward superstition, objectively ridiculous. The other, the only rational explanation proven by observable reality. The belief in which is not required, but to not believe a badge of ignorance.

To be fair, Lefties believe white people are born and must die racists, black people cannot be racist, democratic policies have improved the lives of inner city blacks, socialism raises living standards by making everything free and isn’t corrupt, children raised by their natural parents are not happier and more successful, gender doesn’t exist, women, when they exist are physically capable of doing anything men can but are socialized out of trying by men, when they exist, any patterns in qualities and behavior between men and women that have existed for centuries across civilizations are result of male sexism which always exists, men, when they exist can get pregnant, abortion saves lives, women get paid less for the same work as men, and global warming is not just proven, like evolution, but a more serious threat than overfishing or running out of energy.

At the same time.

There are differences of course. The most important one being that one has a real God, and the other, like Scientology and Kwanza does not. There’s a school of thought that believes humans have an innate spiritual hunger, that will be filled somehow. Lefties use science and dogma as a substitute for a God, but they really don’t confuse this with an actual deity.

The important emotions in Christianity are guilt, fear and hope. In Leftyism guilt, anger, arrogance, and a little hope. Christians are on balance more fearful but less angry than Lefties. Providing a framework for angry people to become self-righteous is recruiting tool in Leftism. Fear serves that purpose for Christianity.

Leftism seeks absolute power over everyone. It’s unclear if Christianity is as much as an opt-in thing as they believe, or if they are just losing the battle for power. The situation may have been very different in the Middle Ages.

Perverts appear to be randomly distributed, and happy to hide behind whatever piousness is handy.

Both religions attempt to change the brutish state of nature and reality with force of will. Christians leverage the supernatural directly, via prayer. And by charitable action. Lefties believe that by controlling thought, speech, and actions they can change human nature. They believe this is an entirely rational, indeed scientific process. But if one lies long enough (see list above), eventually it gets hard to tell the truth. And with gender recently becoming a fluid, much like wine turning to blood, the two are converging on the supernatural. Lefties perform charitable actions by forcing others to do them.

Both groups have an onion of believers. Most people who identify with either religion will find much of this post hyperbolic, bordering on silly. Because for every person who strongly believes abortion is sin, a much larger group believe it is just a somewhat sad but sometime helpful reality. And for every person who thinks abortion is joy, to be livestreamed, a much larger group believe it is just a somewhat sad but sometimes helpful reality.

Most people think of large organizations as scaled up versions of small organizations. This is a dangerous mistake, that impacts both religions, but is the fatal flaw in Leftyism.

All organizations at scale, given time, devolve the same way and for the same two reasons. The first is the nasty combination of human nature + money + power. Fear, greed, envy, lust, power can exist generally without harm as demons in our heads in the 4H club. But throw in money, power, and secrecy at scale and far too many succumb.

The second is central planning. It doesn’t work. It can’t work. In order to scale, organizations need to lock into some simple patterns and scale them with process and bureaucracy. Process and bureaucracy are death to creativity, innovation and learning. Over time, every organization gets dumber and less responsive to external changes.

It matters not a bit if the organizations is Big Religion, Big Government, Big Military, Big School, Big Environment, Big NGO, Big Corporation, Big media. Organizations age and die.

The free market has a mechanism for destroying dead companies, freeing their resources, and creating new ones.

Big Government, the darling of Leftyism, never shrinks, never learns, and never surrenders power.

Christianity, ironically, has cautionary parables about this.

I would write about the afterlife, if I knew anything about it.


Mike.

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