“John Carter of Mars” and the skepticisim of Edgar Rice Burroughs toward organized religionn
Posted: 24 March 2012 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2422
Joined  2007-09-03

I haven’t been to see the recent movie “John Carter”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Carter_(film)
but downloaded the books on a recent vacation (free to iPad or Kindle etc.),  I had read them years ago in the 60s.  Dated in many ways, they read fast.  There is an angle that didn’t occur to me when I was 12 that I find striking now..

From the wikipedia summary it sounds like the movie garbles one central point in the ‘Mars books’—
In the 2nd book the Gods of Mars ERB describes a religion where people think they should travel down a ‘river Issus’ to a valley of piece and happiness with their ancetors. It turns out that tihs valley has plant- and ape- monsters which eat these poor pilgrims. The “Therns” (who figure in the movie) are a race of fraudelent holy men who steal the money the pilgrims bring with them, take some of them as slaves, and eat people as well.

Burroughs shows layers of fraudelent religion because these Therns worship a god “Issus”, who also shows up to be a fraud preying on their gullibility, just as they prey on the gullibility of the pilgrims.

John Carter has a hard time convincing everyone that their religion is a fraud.

A quote from Gods of Mars apropos to New Atheists: 

It is very hard to accept a new religion for an old, no matter how alluring the promises of the new may be; but to reject the old as a tissue of falsehoods without being offered anything in its stead is indeed a most difficult thing to ask of any people

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gods_of_Mars  has more discussion of the theme of ‘religious deception’.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2012 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2779
Joined  2011-11-04

A quote from Gods of Mars apropos to New Atheists: 

It is very hard to accept a new religion for an old, no matter how alluring the promises of the new may be; but to reject the old as a tissue of falsehoods without being offered anything in its stead is indeed a most difficult thing to ask of any people

I think that there is an important ethical consideration here, for anyone who is motivated to undermine someone’s religious beliefs.  Those beliefs are generally serving some function for the individual.  If you were able to successfully convince such a person that there beliefs were unfounded, wouldn’t you hold some responsibility for providing for the functional supports that the individual lost along with his/her beliefs?

This is why psychotherapists have to be careful about confronting a patient’s denial system too soon or too fast, when that denial system is performing an adaptive function for the patient.

 Signature 

“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb… We are bound to others, past and present… And by each crime and every kindness… We birth our future.”  Sonmi, 2144.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2012 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3121
Joined  2008-04-07

That may be true, TimB. I know that for me, it only meant that my parents and many other people would think of me as a “good” person. I didn’t really have any faith to lose. It was all about being good. As I got older, I realized that religion had nothing to do with me so I dropped it and have been happy ever after.

 Signature 

Turn off Fox News - Bad News For America
(Atheists are myth understood)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2012 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2779
Joined  2011-11-04
traveler - 29 March 2012 02:16 PM

That may be true, TimB. I know that for me, it only meant that my parents and many other people would think of me as a “good” person. I didn’t really have any faith to lose. It was all about being good. As I got older, I realized that religion had nothing to do with me so I dropped it and have been happy ever after.

It sounds like you gave up religion without anyone trying to convince you that it made sense to do so.  Me too.  But as Atheists become more organized and more effective (possibly) in altering the belief systems of religious persons, do you think that they (the atheists that seek to do that) bear any reponsibility for how this might undermine the formerly religious persons’ adaptive functioning in some way?  Maybe this is carrying a sense of social ethics too far.  I don’t know.

 Signature 

“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb… We are bound to others, past and present… And by each crime and every kindness… We birth our future.”  Sonmi, 2144.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2012 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3121
Joined  2008-04-07
TimB - 29 March 2012 03:42 PM
traveler - 29 March 2012 02:16 PM

That may be true, TimB. I know that for me, it only meant that my parents and many other people would think of me as a “good” person. I didn’t really have any faith to lose. It was all about being good. As I got older, I realized that religion had nothing to do with me so I dropped it and have been happy ever after.

It sounds like you gave up religion without anyone trying to convince you that it made sense to do so.  Me too.  But as Atheists become more organized and more effective (possibly) in altering the belief systems of religious persons, do you think that they (the atheists that seek to do that) bear any reponsibility for how this might undermine the formerly religious persons’ adaptive functioning in some way?  Maybe this is carrying a sense of social ethics too far.  I don’t know.

No, I think you have a point.

 Signature 

Turn off Fox News - Bad News For America
(Atheists are myth understood)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2012 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1191
Joined  2011-08-01
TimB - 29 March 2012 03:42 PM
traveler - 29 March 2012 02:16 PM

That may be true, TimB. I know that for me, it only meant that my parents and many other people would think of me as a “good” person. I didn’t really have any faith to lose. It was all about being good. As I got older, I realized that religion had nothing to do with me so I dropped it and have been happy ever after.

It sounds like you gave up religion without anyone trying to convince you that it made sense to do so.  Me too.  But as Atheists become more organized and more effective (possibly) in altering the belief systems of religious persons, do you think that they (the atheists that seek to do that) bear any reponsibility for how this might undermine the formerly religious persons’ adaptive functioning in some way?  Maybe this is carrying a sense of social ethics too far.  I don’t know.


Would you mind to elaborate on that a bit more? I am very curious and not really understanding your meaning. Maybe give an example?

 Signature 

Free in Kentucky
—Humanist
“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”—Edith Sitwell

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2012 09:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1283
Joined  2011-03-12

It sounds like you gave up religion without anyone trying to convince you that it made sense to do so.  Me too.

All it took for me was to read the Bible, take a hard look at it’s often contradictory claims and the religion that got built around it. It undermined itself. I didn’t need anybody’s help to walk away from it.

The final straw came when I saw the photo of that insignifigant speck of blue dust taken by the Voyager spacecraft. Once I saw that, I knew religion in an instant for the breathtaking expression of arrogance which it is. I haven’t looked back since then.

 Signature 

Question authority and think for yourself. Big Brother does not know best and never has.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 March 2012 04:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2422
Joined  2007-09-03
Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 29 March 2012 09:49 PM

It sounds like you gave up religion without anyone trying to convince you that it made sense to do so.  Me too.

All it took for me was to read the Bible, take a hard look at it’s often contradictory claims and the religion that got built around it. It undermined itself. I didn’t need anybody’s help to walk away from it.

The final straw came when I saw the photo of that insignifigant speck of blue dust taken by the Voyager spacecraft. Once I saw that, I knew religion in an instant for the breathtaking expression of arrogance which it is. I haven’t looked back since then.

Well the interesting thing to me was that when I read Gods of Mars now, I read it as an atheist and that phrase jumps out at me—and these fraudulent priests literally preying on innocent victims struck me vividly. At the time I first read the book at 12 or 13,  I did not focus on this at all—I was caught up with the non-stop action of the plot.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 March 2012 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1283
Joined  2011-03-12

and these fraudulent priests literally preying on innocent victims struck me vividly.

And Burroughs wasn’t the only one to notice the thing about predatory priests either. There’s a really old Chinese proverb which goes along the lines of “Hard times make for thin peasants and fat priests!”

 Signature 

Question authority and think for yourself. Big Brother does not know best and never has.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 March 2012 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2779
Joined  2011-11-04
FreeInKy - 29 March 2012 05:42 PM
TimB - 29 March 2012 03:42 PM
traveler - 29 March 2012 02:16 PM

That may be true, TimB. I know that for me, it only meant that my parents and many other people would think of me as a “good” person. I didn’t really have any faith to lose. It was all about being good. As I got older, I realized that religion had nothing to do with me so I dropped it and have been happy ever after.

It sounds like you gave up religion without anyone trying to convince you that it made sense to do so.  Me too.  But as Atheists become more organized and more effective (possibly) in altering the belief systems of religious persons, do you think that they (the atheists that seek to do that) bear any reponsibility for how this might undermine the formerly religious persons’ adaptive functioning in some way?  Maybe this is carrying a sense of social ethics too far.  I don’t know.


Would you mind to elaborate on that a bit more? I am very curious and not really understanding your meaning. Maybe give an example?

One example of what might be stripped from someone along with their religious belefs is that many religious people apparently find emotional or psychological consolation at times from their religious beliefs.  For many it provides a ready made social support system.  It provides a structure to some that they might not otherwise have.  Those are a few examples of what might be “taken away” from a religious person if someone could suddenly convince them that their beliefs were baseless.

 Signature 

“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb… We are bound to others, past and present… And by each crime and every kindness… We birth our future.”  Sonmi, 2144.

Profile