Friday, November 19, 2004

Absent parent

God save us from people with religious upbringings. Their religious ideas are formed at a very young age, and while it is theoretically possible for these to evolve with maturity, it doesn't seem to happen in a majority of cases. Instead, modern religious denominations themselves seem like overgrown children that base their beliefs on a profoundly dualistic concept of a divine parent lording it over the human kids with insuperable power. It's really an absent parent, though, and as a result humanity struggles under a profound anxiety, whether admitted or not, that they have been abandoned by mommy and daddy.

Let's try an experiment. Reserve religion only for those who have passed their 18th birthday. Keep all practice of religion small, private, mysterious, and cult-like, not publicly available to all comers or advertised on television. There should be much more diversity of religious belief, ritual, symbology, and myth than there is now, and there would be if the mainstreaming effects of mass culture had not trivialized and vitiated religion. On the other hand, religion could contribute to the regeneration of the human imagination if it returned to its roots as an organic adjunct to private experience.

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