Re: Religious Variation [Was " Biological = trivial?"]

Edward W. Farrell (ewf@INREACH.COM)
Sat, 27 Jul 1996 20:34:14 -0700

John McCreery writes,

>You, I take it, favor an intellectualist approach to religion
>("must have as its foundation an adequate theory of mind") that
>historically is part and parcel of the Protestant individualism
>that rejected "ritual" as Papist nonense blocking the direct path
>between God and believer. Heads up.

Actually, I do not favor it. Religion doesn't need an adequate
theory of mind---YOU need it, if you are ever going to develop an
adequate theory of religious variation. That is what my post
said. Your impressions tell me you didn't read the post or
didn't understand it. Please read it again. If your impressions
are the same I'll try to rephrase what I said.

> ... A generalized theory of mind would certainly be useful in
>understanding the linguistic and other abilities involved in
>putting together rituals, but won't say enough about how they
>come to be exercised in particular ways in particular historical
>situations. Straight inferences from natural environments to
>particular forms of religion have proved to be a non-starter.
>What's left is sociological approaches that do surprisingly
>well.(See some of the examples I mentioned in my previous post.)

Well, then let's be honest---you're not really interested in
religious variation, you're interested in sociological variation
that is associated with religion. That's why your sociological
approaches do suprisingly well.

Edward W. Farrell