Why religion?
Posted: 27 February 2007 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]
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IĖve been thinking: what if I was a king on an island with a population of, letĖs say, hundred people. Would I ÏallowÓ religion in my kingdom?

LetĖs see. I imagen having five highly intelligent advisors (my cabinet), twenty educated individuals (doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc), and the rest, well, the rest is the rest (farmers, soldiers, etc.). Now, about 10 miles from us there is an island with roughly the same population as our (my :wink: !) island. And they have yummier bananas than we do. Would a half of my kingdom be willing to die for yummier bananas? Maybe. But letĖs say that the women on my island are even in worse shape than the bananas. And I happen to know that our neighbouring islandĖs chiefĖs daughter is Venus herself. IĖll obviously need the help of the Ïrest of my populationÓ. But why should they care about my amorous desires? They might want to die for the yummier bananas, but they certainly wonĖt jeopardize their lives for their kingĖs date. And this is where I might have to introduce religion. ÏOur god vs. their godÓ, Ïwe are the chosen onesÓ, bla, bla, bla. We go to war, we win, I get my princess. And there are thousands of other examples I could think of, where religion would seem of an enormous interest to me, and to my kingdom.

If you were a king (queen) on an island, would religion form a part of your society?

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Posted: 27 February 2007 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Even more likely is that you are the king because you are bigger, stronger and more of a bully that anyone else.  However, a few lower caste individuals start a group that sings together, and they develop rituals to deal with death, then other problems.  It doesn’t take long before people are asking for their advice about minor or major tragedies.

To maitain their authority they postulate a god and let it be known that they are the only ones who god speaks through.  If the king isn’t careful, he’s overwhelmed by all the true believers.  They have a religious war to convert the heathens on the other island, have the king there killed and bring his beautiful daughter home to be a “virginal” handmaiden to “god.”

smile
Occam

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Posted: 27 February 2007 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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[quote author=“Occam”]If the king isn’t careful, he’s overwhelmed by all the true believers.

Indeed, the king must be very careful and watch out especially for the shamans and the high priests. One way for the king to deal with this is to proclaim himself divina favente clementia, the son of god, the direct descendant of the gods, or something similar to that, just like the pharaohs, the Incas or the roman emperors had done in the past.

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Posted: 27 February 2007 08:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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How did you become king in the first place, how do you maintain your grip on power and how do you pass that power onto your descendants?

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Posted: 28 February 2007 01:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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[quote author=“Doubter”]How did you become king in the first place, how do you maintain your grip on power and how do you pass that power onto your descendants?

Do you mean the chicken and egg thing? Was there first the religion or the king? I don’t know. I could have easily speculated that I am with another 100 people the only survivors after a global catastrophe. (I don’t know why I would be chosen as a king :wink:, but that’s irrelevant.)

Island, a day after a global disaster, or a distant planet, it doesn’t really matter. I just can’t get out of my mind how natural and inevitable a phenomenon religion would be.

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Posted: 28 February 2007 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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[quote author=“George Benedik”]
Do you mean the chicken and egg thing? Was there first the religion or the king?

No. The first king often seizes power by force, however he will then use religion to maintain his grip on power and to legitimise his right to it in order to pass it on to his decedents.

[quote author=“George Benedik”]I just can’t get out of my mind how natural and inevitable a phenomenon religion would be.

Most people need to wallpaper over the gaps in reality with something.
I just wonder why as science fills these gaps people still want to hang onto their old wallpaper?
Decoration perhaps :wink:

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Posted: 11 March 2007 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Re: Why religion?

[quote author=“George Benedik”]I’ve been thinking: what if I was a king on an island with a population of, let’s say, hundred people. Would I “allow” religion in my kingdom?


If you were a king (queen) on an island, would religion form a part of your society?

sure.
allow religion without it being mandated. the Persian king Cyrus allowed a multitude of religions within his empire and the secular king Frederick II was just that—secular. When he declared himself king of Jerusalem no priest would crown him, he had to crown himself. so ended the 6th crusade.

Frederick was excommunicated not once but twice and was threatened with a third by Pope Gregory the IX. Frederick’s my man.

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