Religous Variation

Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Sun, 28 Jul 1996 15:52:09 -0400

On 29 July (28 July here) 1996, John McCreery wrote:

"Edward Farrell asserts that we need a theory of mind to account for
religious variation...

"If a theory of mind adequate to explain why I some points in my
life had a keen interest in fine points of dogma that at others have struck
me as sheerest piffle, I should be glad to know of it.

"I note, too, that issues that once struck my ancestors as worth fighting
wars and burning people at the stake over are now, except for the odd
scholar, totally lifeless...If a theory of mind can explain that, I will
then be truly impressed."

Stand by to be impressed!

I don't know what Ed Farrell means by "religious variation" but, if he means
what you have described as your experiences, then the theory of mind that
both of you are looking for is called "the evolution of human
consciousness", evolution in both the phylogenetic and ontogenetic processes.

Specifically with regard to religion, Max Weber called it "demystification";
I would call it "secularization"; but, unfortunately, sociologist of today
use that term in a different sense. I think Weber's "demystification" comes
about as the unintended side effect of what he called "rationalization" as
it was/is applied to religious beliefs.

(Note: In case any anthopologists on this list don't recognize the name "Max
Weber", he was one of the "big three" of sociology, along with Emile
Durkheim and Karl Marx.)

Jesse S. Cook III E-Mail:
Post Office Box 40984 or
Charleston, SC 29485 USA

"Our attitude toward others is not determined by who *they* are;
it is determined by who *we* are."