Jesus of Nazareth, known as "J-dogg" by some

What is your opinion of Jesus?


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Oh well. Where or whenever Mariel Hemingway fails, at least I’ll still have Jesus and at least I’ll always be able to show the fervent ardor I have for my faith by getting a tattoo exactly like this one, exactly whenever I want!

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This is like someone asked an AI to write a paragraph using keywords that make me nauseous.

Prepare to embark on an enthralling journey with the documentary series, There's No Place Like OM, akin to what Anthony Bourdain was for food and Zach Efron for conservation, Mariel Hemingway becomes the beacon for spirituality. Join her as she navigates the profound universe of energy and spirituality, guiding audiences on a global odyssey celebrating the essence of spirit, consciousness, mindfulness and awareness. The series peels back the curtains on the tangible reality of the unseen realms of spirit, soul, and energy, validating their authenticity and accessibility. From deep dives into mainstream metaphysics to encounters with contemporary shamans and modern-day mystics, the series meticulously unravels the rich tapestry of history, mystery and the vibrant industry defining present-day spirituality and its concealed world.
 
LThis is like someone asked an AI to write a paragraph using keywords that make me nauseous.
I KNOW! And not only that, but i was sitting there reading it to myself yesterday thinking to myself but Zach Efron is the most well known conservationist they were able to come up with out of an entire documentary crew’s worth of unscripted fools??
 
I KNOW! And not only that, but i was sitting there reading it to myself yesterday thinking to myself but Zach Efron is the most well known conservationist they were able to come up with out of an entire documentary crew’s worth of unscripted fools??

I thought the same thing. The only I know about Zac Efron is that he was in some Disney musical with Selena Gomez and sent nude pictures of her to his "bros," which then went out all over the internet. And he is to conservation what Anthony Bourdain is to food? Looking him up (no "h" in the Zac, apparently), his conservation efforts amount to one half of his YouTube channel:

The video sharing platform hosts two weekly series. "Off the Grid" follows Efron and his brother Dylan as they participate in outdoor activities and trips without electronic devices—with the exception of a video camera in order to document their experiences. "Gym Time" spotlights fitness and nutrition, with Efron informing his viewers that he plans to "train with celebrities, athletes, and interesting people".

That is some paltry conservationism. With this level of inept vision and lack of a script, There's No Place Like OM has the potential to be a hilarious documentary. It could do for yoga (unintentionally) what Spinal Tap did for metal.
 
I disagree on so many levels.
1. Jesus made clear on many occasions His kingdom was not of this earth. He was not seeking secular rule and it was not to be overvalued- "My kingdom is not of this world". Christ keeps being contrasted with earthly power (coming to His triumph on a donkey, "render unto Caesar" Roman coins likely showing Son of God on them, INRI, crown of thorns). Thrones and dominations are not an end in themselves.
2. Like your asking why Jesus didn't just destroy the devils, the point is not a God who just puts on a daily miracle show and solves all our problems. There is still a place for free will and we are sure to do enough harm ourselves anyway. If you have a child you want it to grow and be independent. That requires struggle. What growth is there with a magic wand? The Ascension is part of the challenge to individual Christians- "and what do you do?"
3. "This religion does not have the goods"? A faith for the oppressed with a summit of loving God and your neighbour. A history of ending slavery, protecting learning and building hospitals. Heights of musical and visual art. Saving and valuing lives. The largest religion in the world, which you've said yourself continues growing. Numbers aren't everything, but Mithraism and the Osiris cults certainly have some catching up to do.

Paul Kingsnorth refers to other writers who also felt that,
"things came apart when we hacked the cross down from the roof of our church..."
especially from 15 mins in



I think we’re approaching this from irreconcilable angles. You’re assuming the gospels are true, but I’m saying the gospels contain cause for doubt..
...But God has a will too, and he could at least make the biggest concern in life (getting the correct belief in order to be saved) a more level playing field. The infant Mohammed could've died peacefully in his sleep in the cradle. Thy will be done.
Since you argue so closely from the Gospels, the letter, if you will, while asserting atheism, and then criticise God for not exercising His will properly, it's hard to see how these positions will be reconciled, though the journey is leading somewhere :ahhh:
 
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Since you argue so closely from the Gospels, the letter, if you will, while asserting atheism, and then criticise God for not exercising His will properly, it's hard to see how these positions will be reconciled, though the journey is leading somewhere :ahhh:

Well, I have to argue from the gospels. What else is there? The gospels are the source material on J-dogg; everything else is elaborate footnotes. There are non-canonical gospels and apocrypha, but most orthodox Christians will reject those. It's not a contradiction to argue from the gospels and criticize God's will. The gospels tell us what God's will supposedly is. If we find it lacking in benevolence, then atheism or agnosticism naturally follow.

I'm currently reading volume one of Anthony Burgess' autobiography. He recounts his Catholic childhood in Manchester. Like Morrissey, he found the faith boring and the Church oppressive. It's interesting to me that both of these boys were prodigious and sensitive aesthetes, yet neither was as terribly impressed with the Mass as converts like Wilde and Waugh were. Burgess knew a superstitious, stultifying, workaday Catholicism; he thought Waugh and Greene were too enraptured:

The converted Catholics of modern literature seem to be concerned with a different faith from the one I was nurtured in—naively romantic, pedantically scrupulous. Novels like The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair, Brideshead Revisited and Sword of Honour falsify the faith by over-dramatising it. Waugh's fictional Catholicism is too snobbish to be true. It evidently hurt Waugh deeply that his typical fellow-worshipper should be an expatriated Irish labourer and that the typical minister of the Church should be a Maynooth priest with a brogue.

Anyway, on the bible. The Church was shrewd to forbid vernacular translations for as long as she did:

I did not know what the Bible was, but evidently it was a dirty book. It was confirmed for me later that not only was it dirty, it was dangerous. It was the prime cause of people losing their Catholic faith. This is, historically speaking, a sound enough judgment.
 
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I'm currently reading volume one of Anthony Burgess' autobiography. He recounts his Catholic childhood in Manchester. Like Morrissey, he found the faith boring and the Church oppressive. It's interesting to me that both of these boys were prodigious and sensitive aesthetes, and neither was as terribly impressed with the Mass as converts like Wilde and Waugh were. Burgess knew a superstitious, stultifying, workaday Catholicism; he thought Waugh and Greene were too enraptured:
I would like to read that autobiography. Burgess of course was the main script writer for Jesus of Nazareth, the highly reverential and hagiographical life story of Jesus, starring a blue-eyed Robert Powell, beloved by the then Pope as truly capturing the power of the Jesus story for a modern age. Some of the sets would go on to be used for Life of Brian, that sent up the pious tone of the Jesus drama.
James Joyce always heavily criticised Wilde for converting to Catholicism on his deathbed - seeing it as Wilde preaching something all his life that he then didn't have the nerve to stick to when the chips were down. And, let's face it, you can't get more 'when the chips are down' than on your death bed. I think though Joyce, as someone brought up a Catholic, like Morrissey and Burgess, maybe forgot that for Wilde, as someone brought up an Irish Protestant, converting to Catholicism was quite a naughty thing to do. For Wilde it was a way, even on his death bed, of causing just a little bit of scandal. Wilde to the very end.
 
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I would like to read that autobiography. Burgess of course was the main script writer for Jesus of Nazareth, the highly reverential and hagiographical life story of Jesus, starring a blue-eyed Robert Powell, beloved by the then Pope as truly capturing the power of the Jesus story for a modern age. Some of the sets would go on to be used for Life of Brian, that sent up the pious tone of the Jesus drama.
James Joyce always heavily criticised Wilde for converting to Catholicism on his deathbed - seeing it as Wilde preaching something all his life that he then didn't have the nerve to stick to when the chips were down. And, let's face it, you can't get more 'when the chips are down' than on your death bed. I think though Joyce, as someone brought up a Catholic, like Morrissey and Burgess, maybe forgot that for Wilde, as someone brought up an Irish Protestant, converting to Catholicism was quite a naughty thing to do. For Wilde it was a way, even on his death bed, of causing just a little bit of scandal. Wilde to the very end.

Didn't know that about the sets for Jesus of Nazareth. That's funny. As for Joyce, he was a fairly hateful atheist when he was young. His mother on her deathbed asked him to pray the Rosary with her. His cruel response: "no."

Burgess, unlike Morrissey (who as far I can tell just wears a Rosary around his neck and crosses himself occasionally), kept up an interest in the Catholic faith even after he apostatized. That accounts for his writing of the Jesus script, as well as the epitaph on his gravestone, "Abba Abba." But he sure lived a sinful life. One of the best accounts so far in the book is his affair with a Jewish girl and an amusing digression on English anti-Semitism. He and his wife had what amounted to an open marriage; they were both incurably promiscuous and were constantly leaving each other for other partners and getting back together again. This stuff is crazy and hilarious.

Lynne accepted that it was less trouble to be a more or less faithful wife to me than to be a shuttlecock between the Williams brothers. Our marriage was reconsummated. The world was still a dirty place like Gibraltar, and one of us gave crab-lice to the other. In a hotel bedroom we shaved off each other's pubic hairs. What better symbol of the renewal of intimacy?

:lbf:
 
Well, I have to argue from the gospels. What else is there? The gospels are the source material on J-dogg; everything else is elaborate footnotes. There are non-canonical gospels and apocrypha, but most orthodox Christians will reject those. It's not a contradiction to argue from the gospels and criticize God's will. The gospels tell us what God's will supposedly is. If we find it lacking in benevolence, then atheism or agnosticism naturally follow.
I suppose remaining so embedded in the religious world, even if to parley with the tenets while atheism dawns, just shows the pull of it.



I would like to read that autobiography. Burgess of course was the main script writer for Jesus of Nazareth, the highly reverential and hagiographical life story of Jesus, starring a blue-eyed Robert Powell, beloved by the then Pope as truly capturing the power of the Jesus story for a modern age. Some of the sets would go on to be used for Life of Brian, that sent up the pious tone of the Jesus drama.

For me, this knowing ‘deep in the bones’ is Consciousness telling you that you’re out of alignment with Consciousness, that you’re mistakenly identifying too much with the separate self, identifying with what you are not. That’s what conflict is, and to me, what sin is.

Australian journalist Caitlin Johnstone reckons that resting on our spiritual laurels is a cop-out in a world full of troubles.

I used to follow a lot of teachers who talked about enlightenment and spiritual practice, and it’s insane how many of them now have nothing to say about Gaza, or are outright siding with Israel.

It’s like, what the hell was the point of all that inner work if it leads you to tacitly or explicitly endorse an active genocide? What good are all your insights and realizations if all they do is make you feel nice inside and don’t translate to any positive effects on the world outside your own skull? Who gives a f*** if you’ve had some shift in consciousness and some kundalini fireworks if you’re still a dogshit human being contributing to the disease and dysfunction of your species?

If your spirituality doesn’t lead to positive changes in yourself and your surroundings, it’s just glorified masturbation. If you’ve thrown yourself into self-realization and nondual awakening for decades at this point and you can’t even stand up against genocide and ethnic cleansing, then you’ve wasted your life on worthless endeavors. You’d have been better off throwing yourself into internet porn escapism or a nice wholesome opiate habit this entire time.

https://www.caitlinjohnst.one/p/crocodile-tears-over-navalny-while :eek:
 
But you must have a unique reason for believing the supernatural events in the gospels are true—unless maybe you also accept the supernatural events in Islamic and Hindu literature.
Not sure what you mean as unique. It is a religion, by most definitions this includes some belief in the supernatural. Also not sure why my "unique" belief suddenly loses that status if I do or don't believe in supernatural events in other religions.

You regularly suggest that different interpretations are a fundamental weakness in religion:
It's impossible to say what makes a good Christian and what makes a heretic, since "Christian" is claimed by all believers, who all anathematize their ideological enemies.

As it is, we're stuck with:
1. The bible
2. Non-biblical scriptures about Jesus
3. Visions and apparitions
The first two are no help, because everyone interprets them differently, or cherry-picks them

And the problem with people devoting their lives to Jesus is that if you believe in the Jesus of born-again Protestantism, then you'd have to say people were worshipping the wrong Jesus for ≈1200 years, because they were mostly Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.


It reminds me of the Hitchens/Dawkins argument- if you accept one God, what about all the others?

It is a canard. There will always be disagreements in every part of life. Even the apostles argued with each other. You love splitting hairs and I don't mind it myself. That does not render an activity futile. People should make a sincere attempt to get things right. If I disagree on Filioque I am not hunting down my opponent, or as you might say "anathematizing my ideological enemies". Jews and Muslims are trying to worship God and so am I. I am not blandly saying all paths are equal. On my necessarily limited knowledge my denomination is the way to go, but there are things I would change in it too. I've never heard anyone say "I 've given up my religion because someone else was not worshipping correctly over the last 1,200 years (approximately)". The Catholic Church doesn't curse Aquinas for his position on the Immaculate Conception. Disagreement is not fatal- if it leads to improvement it can be healthy.
 
Not sure what you mean as unique. It is a religion, by most definitions this includes some belief in the supernatural. Also not sure why my "unique" belief suddenly loses that status if I do or don't believe in supernatural events in other religions.

What I mean is that we all have to stake our epistemological ground somewhere. If you’re reading a biography of someone and they’re going around walking on water and raising people from the dead, it’s up to you if you want to accept that. Personally I don’t think a written claim about a miracle should be sufficient for belief. Actually witnessing a miracle occurring would do more for it. There would still be the possibility that I’m being tricked or my mind is deceiving me, but I’d have more to go on than hearsay.

I only mentioned Islamic and Hindu scriptures because those have accounts of supernatural happenings, too. If you accept the supernatural instances in the gospels because your faith tells you the gospels are true, then that is a unique belief, relative to just reading them like you would any other text. It wouldn't be the gospels convincing you, but some spiritual illumination convincing you of the gospels.

The Catholic Church doesn't curse Aquinas for his position on the Immaculate Conception. Disagreement is not fatal- if it leads to improvement it can be healthy.

That’s true, but it brings up a certain strangeness. Aquinas is in heaven despite rejecting the Immaculate Conception because he had the theological luxury of living in the 13th century, before it was made a dogma. Catholics on the previous side of 1854 were allowed to take it or leave it, no serious penalty attached, but Catholics on the latter side must believe it under penalty of eternal torture. Now that is what I call fatal disagreement. It’s also completely arbitrary.

Apocryphal trivia on Aquinas, related by Anthony Burgess: the Angelic Doctor was so fat, they had to cut a lunette out of his dining table to accommodate his mass.
 
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yes.

Well, yes, yin and yang. It’s a balance, and one can’t be happy without ever knowing pain.

But the other moral I took from the story is, that happiness only came to her after she finally accepted her lot in life (self-love), and cared for another less fortunate creature, and so in that exchange of giving love, she was open to, and rewarded/gifted by Consciousness (through a Prince) with happiness in return. Maybe a law of attraction is in play here also.


Maybe our ‘failing’ to be what we thought we should be, is exactly what we were always meant to be. The lesson being, that we should be happy for what we are/have, rather than constantly being in conflict with our false beliefs, chasing after who or what we think we should be or should have.

it’s not a bad place to start from. Though, in the end, it’s really just thought telling you that you made that choice on your own. Though a comforting one, it’s still an illusion.
It is only Consciousness that has free will, and we are that Consciousness.

Yes, that sounds about right.



‘based on where you happen to be’, but more importantly(as you noted above)… who you happen to be.
So, for better or for worse, depending on who you are and what was meant to be. It’s back to laws of attraction.
There was an interview with Morrissey where he said something along the lines of… that worrying is kind of wishing for something you don’t want.



Again, it may very well be that never reaching that ‘fully realized version of you’ is exactly who you are or were ever meant to be. One’s happiness is in embracing what one is, rather than what one is not. That’s not to say, that we shouldn’t try to better our situation or that we shouldn’t follow our dreams or pursue desires and goals that motivate us, that will in turn shape us throughout life. Though, love and acceptance of what we really are and learning from one’s mistakes, is the trick …







Though it makes sense, and a change of scene just might be what one needs, I think being in the ‘right place’ a little limiting. Because wherever we may run to, unless we learn from the mistakes we’ve made, we are still that same person, that will inevitably make the same wrong choices. Even if that new environment presents to us different/better choices, it’s possible that we won’t see them (because of who we are) and continue to ‘choose’ the wrong ones.

I would prefer ‘being in the right box’ to mean.. not identifying with what we are not, in order to be open to and to be able to see the possibilities that were always there in front of us, waiting for us, wherever we are.

I am open to ideas, I am open and inviting’



For me, this knowing ‘deep in the bones’ is Consciousness telling you that you’re out of alignment with Consciousness, that you’re mistakenly identifying too much with the separate self, identifying with what you are not. That’s what conflict is, and to me, what sin is.

I am going to come back to this one to reply, but guess what i literally JUST remembered right this second??! Omggg exciting! We are on page 23 of the Jesus thread and I totally forgot to tell you that I HAVE HOLY WATER IN MY FRIDGE! :lbf:

So if anyone on this thread ever has a Jesus emergency, I can probably whip up a miracle or two and save the day! Lol!!
 
What I mean is that we all have to stake our epistemological ground somewhere. If you’re reading a biography of someone and they’re going around walking on water and raising people from the dead, it’s up to you if you want to accept that. Personally I don’t think a written claim about a miracle should be sufficient for belief. Actually witnessing a miracle occurring would do more for it. There would still be the possibility that I’m being tricked or my mind is deceiving me, but I’d have more to go on than hearsay.
Morrissey claimed he saw a ghost on the moors, didn't he? Whatever about his beliefs, he respected the reality of others' beliefs and the crucial meaning it has for them.

I am going to come back to this one to reply, but guess what i literally JUST remembered right this second??! Omggg exciting! We are on page 23 of the Jesus thread and I totally forgot to tell you that I HAVE HOLY WATER IN MY FRIDGE! :lbf:
Who doesn't?! It's all very well to demand everyone turn only to science and facts versus so-called mal- or dis-information, but not only does that ignore the pervasive and creative irrationality of life, it also usually turns out to be more about opinion and politics, convenience and commerce than about truth. For sticking to their guns, kudos to the likes of Rupert Sheldrake.

On spiritual people's imperative to change the observable world, I really don't know!! Thich Nhat Hanh developed engaged Buddhism, organising his monks to do social work. Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, MLK, and Lao Tsu left legacies transcending the political worlds they were born into. On the other hand, consider the last line of George Elliot's novel, Middlemarch:

But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. 😿 :love:
 
Morrissey claimed he saw a ghost on the moors, didn't he? Whatever about his beliefs, he respected the reality of others' beliefs and the crucial meaning it has for them.

If Morrissey saw a ghost on the moors, then Morrissey might have a legitimate reason for believing in ghosts. But that doesn’t give me a reason for believing in ghosts. I wasn’t with him, and there are all kinds of strange things the human mind can be tricked into thinking it saw, especially in atmospheric places on spooky nights.

Should the fact that it was Morrissey who saw the ghost give it any more weight? Our tendency to believe depends a lot on who’s doing the telling. Nobody will be interested in this, but have you ever thought about how the first Christians came to believe in the resurrected Christ? Somebody had to have seen something. I have a theory, and the clue is in the gospels. Both Mark and John have it that Mary Magdalen was the first to see the risen J-dogg. What if Mary Magdalen was a beautiful, compelling, and charismatic woman? Her testimony would’ve convinced others to believe. I like the idea of Jesus as the Hebrew cult leader, talking about how he’s the Messiah and one with the Father, and he’s going to inaugurate the coming of the kingdom, and all this very male, Jewish, Father-god, apocalyptic, moralistic preaching. But then he gets into trouble for it and he dies a criminal’s death. End of the Messiah story. But nobody took into account the fey, delicate, spiritualist woman who followed him around like a lapdog, and it turns out she’s the one who sits by his tomb in mourning and has the miraculous vision that rescues the narrative and sets the whole thing in motion again—after which, the rest is history.
 
If you’re reading a biography of someone and they’re going around walking on water and raising people from the dead, it’s up to you if you want to accept that. Personally I don’t think a written claim about a miracle should be sufficient for belief.
We live in a world of amazing beauty and we are all blessed to exist in it. However on a purely physical level it can be extremely short, painful and unjust. If one is constrained merely to the immediately tangible, I am not surprised that depression and meaningless are at times crushing, and that as you say death can be a comfort simply as an end to suffering. As I mentioned, a religion by most definitions includes the supernatural. What did you expect? There tends to be a divine creative power and often a higher purpose and afterlife- all miraculous in their way. If you are surprised by reading about resurrection, you can always go back to the very immediate survival of the fittest. But please consider a more abundant life.
That’s true, but it brings up a certain strangeness. Aquinas is in heaven despite rejecting the Immaculate Conception because he had the theological luxury of living in the 13th century, before it was made a dogma. Catholics on the previous side of 1854 were allowed to take it or leave it, no serious penalty attached, but Catholics on the latter side must believe it under penalty of eternal torture.
The current Catechism (ref 1861) is a little less final: However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offence, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.
Apocryphal trivia on Aquinas, related by Anthony Burgess: the Angelic Doctor was so fat, they had to cut a lunette out of his dining table to accommodate his mass.
What a theologian- joins an order where he begs for his meals, ends up the size of an ox. No wonder Moz wrote track 2 side 2 of YA for him. Other YA dedications- track 1 side 1 clearly the Paraclete, 1.2 the man blind from birth (John 9:6), 1.3 Job, 1.4 the slinger, 1.5 John the Baptist, side 2 track 1 the Nazarenes, 2.3 Jonah, 2.5 Simeon, 2.6 Peter
 
We live in a world of amazing beauty and we are all blessed to exist in it. However on a purely physical level it can be extremely short, painful and unjust. If one is constrained merely to the immediately tangible, I am not surprised that depression and meaningless are at times crushing, and that as you say death can be a comfort simply as an end to suffering. As I mentioned, a religion by most definitions includes the supernatural. What did you expect? There tends to be a divine creative power and often a higher purpose and afterlife- all miraculous in their way. If you are surprised by reading about resurrection, you can always go back to the very immediate survival of the fittest. But please consider a more abundant life.

Personally I see more nihilism in a universe with the Christian God than without. It's no less survival-of-the-fittest. Isn't this life a proving ground, in the Christian view? Survival is making it to heaven, and failure is consignment to hell. At least in the Darwinian world (horrible as it is) failure is just death—a merciful annihilation, not an eternal prolongation of suffering. And much like the cruel odds against survival in nature, where "of fifty seeds she often brings but one to bear," the world overseen by God comes with its own inborn handicap that no one asked for, original sin, which ensures more souls will be destined for failure than survival.
 
Personally I see more nihilism in a universe with the Christian God than without. It's no less survival-of-the-fittest. Isn't this life a proving ground, in the Christian view? Survival is making it to heaven, and failure is consignment to hell. At least in the Darwinian world (horrible as it is) failure is just death—a merciful annihilation, not an eternal prolongation of suffering. And much like the cruel odds against survival in nature, where "of fifty seeds she often brings but one to bear," the world overseen by God comes with its own inborn handicap that no one asked for, original sin, which ensures more souls will be destined for failure than survival.
Not so sure, Aubs. I do think Freud was on to something in Moses and Monotheism. Societies create a 'God' figure to establish rules of ethics and behaviour that are useful for societies. Getting married and bringing up children being the most obvious example. Is it any wonder that religions arising in the desert placed great store on the family unit and monogamy - when they lived on the brink of famine and starvation on a regular basis? And the fact, of course, that human beings are highly neotenous. It takes about 14 years to raise a human being to biological maturity, and 18 years to societal maturity. That's very unusual for most animals. Most animals can stand and keep up with the herd after a few hours of being born. All the evidence suggests that people with religious belief are happier and have a greater sense of purpose. They might even have better survival rates for cancer. Religion has clear societal and psychological benefit. And I say that as an agnostic.

 
Not so sure, Aubs. I do think Freud was on to something in Moses and Monotheism. Societies create a 'God' figure to establish rules of ethics and behaviour that are useful for societies. Getting married and bringing up children being the most obvious example. Is it any wonder that religions arising in the desert placed great store on the family unit and monogamy - when they lived on the brink of famine and starvation on a regular basis? And the fact, of course, that human beings are highly neotenous. It takes about 14 years to raise a human being to biological maturity, and 18 years to societal maturity. That's very unusual for most animals. Most animals can stand and keep up with the herd after a few hours of being born. All the evidence suggests that people with religious belief are happier and have a greater sense of purpose. They might even have better survival rates for cancer. Religion has clear societal and psychological benefit. And I say that as an agnostic.

I think we’re talking about two different things. I was talking about a universe in which the Christian God actually exists. You’re talking about religion, not necessarily God. This could be true: God does not exist, yet belief in God has certain benefits. That fact wouldn’t make me any less nihilistic. It would just mean belief in Christianity works in a Social Darwinist paradigm. That’s Jordan Peterson’s theory essentially. Ouch. Not a world I want to live in, thanks.

I’m also skeptical about the “psychological benefit” of belief. Sure, some believers might be more apt to survive cancer or not commit suicide than non-believers, but in other cases belief can be troubling. In my experience, even among decent Catholics, the idea of people’s most hated ideological and moral enemies going to hell gives them a certain thrill. Nietzsche had his theory of ressentiment—the lurid, undignified pleasure taken from getting religious revenge. Hence his notion of Christianity originating as a "chandala" cult: the lowly, the slaves, the prostitutes, and the loonies could all look forward to having their ultimate revenge on the Romans on the Day of Judgment. Doubtless this made the early Christians happy, and it continues to make Christians happy, the hatred merely transferred from the ancient Romans to whoever happens to piss them off at the moment. D.H. Lawrence wrote an excellent book about this, Apocalypse, which is kind of a running commentary on the Book of Revelation (which Lawrence considered a stunning literary specimen of shameless ressentiment).
 
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