Religion and stuff

Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Sat, 13 Apr 1996 14:10:16 -0400

A couple of thoughts on recent postings regarding religion, etc.

(1) Has anyone out there seen the film "Tales of the Human Dawn" which compares
"traditional" mythology with anthropoogists' attempts to create stories about
the evolution of humans, and shows how how some of the stories we have created
closely resemble our culturally inherited mythologies?

(2) Could it be that is (mostly) the ecclesiastic religious cults, which tend to
develop along with state formation, that are the ones typically most guilty of
violence against non-believers? And, could this be related to the fact that
they are tied so closely to states (sometimes there really is no distinction)
and thus are a part of the burocratic, stratified, and centralized power
structure? (I use the term ecclesiastic in contrast to religious organization
more typical of small-scale societies: individualistic, shamanistic, and
communal cults.)

(3) And finally, to carry Kristin Gudnadotti's point a little farther, it
certainly is true that practitioners of ecclesiastic religion do not really lose
elements inherited from the other types of cult. So, we still practice
animatism and animism, but these become marginalized just as reciprocity and
egalitarian redistribution become marginalized to capitalist exchange, but don't
totally disappear.

Ronald Kephart
Dept of Language & Literature
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL USA 32224-2645
Phone: (904) 646-2580