Re: Religious Variation

John McCreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 20:09:26 +0900

Clyde, a few queries

>Thinking of your examples here, I am not only struck by
>the problem of somehow differentiating the more complex
>"world" religions from the more culture-bound pre-existing
>traditions they emerged out of

Why this imagery of "emerged out of" as though they had somehow managed to
separate themselves and rise above all that, when the most obvious thing in
the world is that the lotus is rooted in the secular muck. Or, less
metaphorically, that all of the "world religions" as practiced are, except
for a few monastic institutions, throughly embedded in secular society?
In hunting and gathering societies,
>wealth is largely food resources.

Isn't it a bit misleading to refer to the hunter and gathers' food
resources as "wealth"? Is it stored? Accumulated? Are they capital (in
Bourdieu's sense--resources whose ownership supports high status and the
ability to dominate others)?
>>These facts tend to be highly distressing to those rare
>individuals who find special meaning and comfort in the
>original messages. That these individuals are rare and may
>yet retain a special moral authority is another datum that
>needs explanation.<<
>That they are rare may not need much explaining given
>human nature.

Come on. Appeals to human nature are like explaining fire by appealing to
phlogiston. What about human nature makes these characters both (1) rare
and (2) seen as specially valuable?

John McCreery
3-206 Mitsusawa HT, 25-2 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama 220, JAPAN

"And the Lord said unto Cyrus, 'Shall the clay say to him who moldest it,
what makest thou? Let the potsherd of the earth speak to the potsherd of
the earth." --An anthropologist's credo