Culture and Religion
This web site is about our human nature and how the social forces of culture and religion can bring people together for cooperative success or can divide people for persecution and suffering.
Culture defines the social forces within a community involving its conventions for behavior, ranging from food preparation techniques, to forms of entertainment that keep the community together like music or dancing, to dating rituals, and so on.
Religion defines how the community members interpret their role in the universe, with this teaching based on the local culture, so different religions rise out of different cultures. Similarly when members of one religion convert members of a foreign culture often the resulting religion in that area is affected by the host culture.
According to the book by Jonathan Haidt, the Righteous Mind, most of humanity seems to fall into valuing one of two tendencies higher than the other, either tolerance or loyalty and conformance. I suspect those valuing conformance higher than tolerance can be influenced into intolerant behaviors. This book also points out the inherent groupish nature of people. These tendencies provide the foundation for the typically divisive political leadership of today.
According to the book by Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel (GGS), religion only surfaces as something important to a community after the group has grown to such an extent that layers of leaders are in place to manage the larger population and its resources. Religion is often a tool of politicians.
Religion is a divisive tool for political leaders as it enables one group to be defined and divided from another, just as race has been used. Whenever one political group can unite against an opposing group, persecution and suffering is often the result for that group now isolated from the others. The book GGS also describes how different cultures have conquered or disappeared over the course of human history around the world.
In our modern times of high rates of literacy across so many different cultures around the world, we should have learned that cooperation is part of our human nature and its practice will be successful in most endeavors, where a group of people of diverse skills and backgrounds can succeed when individuals or a group of uniform skills cannot. Instead the problem is 'divide and conquer' remains the most widespread leadership technique, so only a privileged few will benefit to the detriment of so many others.
I started this web site because American political and religious leaders were using the Christian religion to justify the wars in the Middle East. This message is emphasized throughout our media, with the ever present phrase 'God bless America' as if our country is exceptional as the conduit for God's master plan during our campaign of dominance over competing cultures and religions in the world.
The point of this web site is we are all part of this global community and it is not fair that only a few benefit while most suffer. The concentration of power, with no workable mechanisms for accountability, leads to absolute power which (as observed long ago) corrupts absolutely. The major problems of our time arise directly out of our presently large social structures (government, corporations, etc.) that are managed by those lacking empathy for anyone impacted by their behaviors and policies. Sociopaths are those most likely to succeed at the top, especially whenever there is the priority on short term results. I find it quite appalling our world is approaching the dystopian world described in the infamous book of fiction 1984, as if no one of importance has recognized such dangers.
I have collected my thoughts into several groups (with the number of essays in each group shown below). The site map has the site in an outline form, which can be easier to navigate among the various essays within the main topics.
Mythology and the origins of our religions (8)
Culture (14) (new page added 04/03/2016)
Creationism - mixing science and religion (6)
Moral values (10)
Foreign policy (6)
Debates - issues dominated by groups (6)
A brief view of life (19) (2 new pages added 03/06/2016)
The Religion of AGW (10) (new page added 01/30/2016)
My counterpoint to BreakPoint commentaries
Parentís guide part 1 responses (19),
Parentís guide part 2 responses (14),
Worldview of the Church responses (2),
Second Sight responses (5)
The BreakPoint web site provides a Christian fundamentalist perspective on life and trends. I am offering an alternate perspective to consider.
Comments on a blog about Progressive Christianity (links to 33)
Various books about religion, science and politics
Various publications regarding catastrophism (Pensee, Kronos, Aeon)
A little about the author,
the site chronology.
Site Map (this site presented in an outline form, for simple navigation)
If you have comments, please E-mail me at dave at cultureandreligion.com.
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In July 2014 this web site was reformatted to a vertical presentation, more appropriate for a mobile device. Unfortunately the web development tool being used has no capability for different formats based on the userís platform. The reminder for zooming, shortcuts common to many different browsers, has been added to the main pages in case a non-mobile user finds the default presentation font too small.
original site created in geocities - May 2000
Ďculture and religioní web site created - Nov. 2004
last home page content change - 01/02/2015
last change to the web site - 04/04/2016