If you were someone like me who was sitting and thinking one day about how people develop a personal identity, and then you started thinking about how some people strongly identify themselves as "Christian" or any other religion, and then you thought about people you've known who have done this, and what motivated them, and then you thought "maybe I could do a quick search online" and you found an article at Wikipedia entitled "Religious Identity", and read it, maybe you would find a case of Dogs Explaining Cats to Other Dogs like I did.
Religious Identity is a specific type of identity formation. Particularly, it is the sense of group membership to a religion and the importance of this group membership as it pertains to one's self-concept. Religious identity is not necessarily the same as religiousness or religiosity. Although these three terms share a commonality, religiousness and religiosity refer to both the value of religious group membership as well as participation in religious events (e.g. going to church). Religious identity, on the other hand, refers specifically to religious group membership regardless of religious activity or participation.
Say what? This is so stiff it squeaks. Look, if you're trying to give a good general definition of Religious Identity the first thing to get straight is that identity is personal. Across the whole spectrum of religion and identity there is probably a portion that will define itself in group terms but there are other large portions that will not. The above paragraph tells me more about the perspective of Dogs than it does about the Cats they're purporting to define.
Similar to other forms of identity formation, such as ethnic and cultural identity, the religious context can generally provide a perspective from which to view the world, opportunities to socialize with a spectrum of individuals from different generations, and a set of basic principles to live out. These foundations can come to shape an individual's identity.
Dogs apparently believe that religion is given to people along with a personal world view, a group to socialize with and a bag of personal values. Some people may be given religious indoctrination by their parents, but a lot of people go out for themselves later in life looking for something to fill the spiritual gap. Dogs don't know about those people I guess. Dogs believe that religion is inflicted on people. Dogs see cats through Dog's Eyes and are missing how cats go about being cats. Dogs believe their own perception entails the subject in its entirety when in fact they seem not to grasp the depth, breadth or diversity of the subject. I also get the distinct impression that these Dogs don't like Cats, at all. Cats are stupid. Cats cannot be explained because they are just crazy for not being Dogs. There is something wrong with all Cats. Cats are inferior creatures. Cats are plain worthless.
Despite the implications that religion has on identity development, the identity formation literature has mainly focused on ethnicity and gender and has largely discounted the role of religion. Nevertheless, an increasing number of studies have begun to include religion as a factor of interest. However, many of these studies use religious identity, religiosity, and religiousness interchangeably or solely focus on religious identity and solely religious participation as separate constructs.
Identity formation literature? Are these studies undertaken by Dogs by any chance? Is it wise to seek insight on spiritual matters from people who do not even believe there is any such thing as "spiritual matters"? If the entire concept of human beings having a spiritual component is dismissed as a belief in mythology, would these people be qualified to render a legitimate definition of religious identity? Can't you just feel the spirituality of this article coming through?
Of these types of research studies, researchers have examined the various factors that affect the strength of one's religious identity over time. Factors that have been found to affect levels of religious identity include gender, ethnicity, and generational status.
Religious identity is so foreign to these folks that they have to scientifically research it. The Dogs seem to miss much of the feline. They are confident that a cat is an unintelligent scruffy mouse eating animal with its back permanently arched as shown in typical Halloween depictions. It has pointy ears and fish breath, and a tail. There is no body, no notable differences in fur, breed, size, behavior or temperament. All Cats are the same. It is only coincidental that the Dogs went into the studies with the firm belief, which Dogs widely accept as true, that cats are unintelligent scruffy mouse eating animals with permanently arched backs, pointy ears and fish breath. The Dog Researchers have no personal first hand experience of cats because they hate cats, but they are still sure they are right because they are the experts and they all agree with each other and that makes you automatically right. When experts agree, as in 4 out of 5 dentists, it automatically makes whatever they agree on TRUE. Everybody knows that.
During the early 1900s in the field of psychology, research on the topic of religion was considered important and ubiquitous. For example, researchers like G. Stanley Hall and William James conducted studies on such topics as religious conversion. In contrast, the public perspective on religion began to shift two decades later. Instead of religion being seen as an integral part of an individual's life and development and thus a necessary topic to research, scientists and scholars alike viewed religion as a hindrance to the progression of science and as a topic no longer applicable to the current times.
Dogs believe that people backed away from organized religion because it was a hindrance to the progression of science and was no longer applicable to current times. Hey! Everybody thinks like Dogs. Right? 'Fraid not.
(This is my favorite part)
Contrary to social scientists' prediction of the general decline of religion over time and increase of secularization leading to a complete abandonment of religious studies, (i.e. the wishful thinking of Dogs), religion did not diminish and was instead acknowledged by researchers as a topic worthwhile to research. Scientists and scholars, like British sociologist John Thompson, realized that despite the neglect of religion in studies, the presence and impact of religion on individuals' lives were undeniable and did not disappear with time. Hence, a body of research on religion began to take root. Particularly, a handful of researchers were interested in examining religious identity during adolescence.
The scientific perspective now taught as incontrovertible truth in universities is that there is no God and that religion is stupid and people who believe in God believe in fairy tales and myths. The scientific perspective sees nothing amiss when it gives its own take on how the universe came into being, which is that it was suddenly and out of nowhere for no reason brought into being in a big explosion that cannot be explained. Where it came from cannot be explained. Why it happened cannot be explained. This does not at all seem like mythology to the scientific mind. It doesn't matter that there is no more evidence for that belief than there is for people to believe in God. Their own scientific fairy tales which they all agree to be true, are therefore automatic facts and you're stupid if you don't agree. And that's just so rational and scientific and stuff.
Personally I don't believe that people came out of apes. I'm sorry, that's just silly. Tigers don't come out of snails, cows did not come out of squids. Especially not in the absence of evidence. Complicated math is not evidence, it is numbers and numbers can be crunched any way you like, ask any statistician or Wall Street accounting firm. Repeating over and again that a few broken old monkey bones are the missing link until the assertion quietly solidifies into widely accepted truth in their own gated neighborhood, is the basic staple of propagating all forms of bullshit to make people believe it. That still does not make it so. Bull is bull, no matter how many people buy it.
Is there a God? I don't know, but what I believe and what you believe and what they believe is not the issue. There actually is no problem with a diversity of beliefs, unless some people want there to be a problem. The absolute fact is that nobody knows how the universe came into being or how we came into being or where we came from or why we're here, or any of the other answers to the eternal questions of our existence. Nobody knows. That is the truth and that is the fact. There are plenty of claims to "know" the answers to all of these questions, plenty of ideas, plenty of guesses, lots of meditation on the subject. It's a part of being human. But the fact is that nobody knows. Fundamentalist thinking does not equate to FACT. Fundamentalists would disagree but they're famous for their objectivity. It doesn't change a thing. They don't "know". Whether they're scientists or popes, nobody "knows". You can assemble whatever thoughts, facts, reason and opinions you like and cook up a belief system, but it doesn't make you right. No matter how much you believe it. Belief is not proof, it is belief.
Why is this so hard for so many to admit? Why do they come unglued the moment anybody points out that belief or hypothesis or theory is not hard evidence or proof of anything? Why the authoritarian attitudes around the entire subject? Can't help but notice the knockdown, drag-out power struggle between groups who want to own the subject as private property. Once owned they alone will be able to decide the one and only take on it, forever and ever and ever. "WE are the sole owners of this subject and only our opinion is legitimate. If your opinion differs you are a stupid, dirty, nasty poo-poo brain and we hate you and you don't matter anyway because this subject belongs to us and our narrative is the only one that is valid. Neener neener." Because after all, ownership determines who has a valid opinion and who doesn't. It doesn't matter that nobody "owns" any subject.
Science seems every bit as much a religion as any other religion. It is every bit as self important, prone to conflating group belief with factual evidence, every bit as comfortable with the woo-woo aspects of their story, and every bit as intolerant of other perspectives as any other fundamentalist authoritarian perspective out there. Pardon me for noticing the hypocrisy and self-important narcissistic arrogance but I will always believe that these things do not equate to PROOF that something is TRUE. The only thing they prove is that anybody can be a small minded dick head, and claims of status, education, or delusions of self importance do not determine whether something is true or not.
What We Still Don't Know: "Are We Real?"
I watched this creepy BBC program on You Tube last night and then today found the Wiki article. The show left me feeling unsettled, to say the least. If you watch it you will see the Scientific Dogs I am referring to. Okay maybe my pounding the snot out of this Wiki article is a slight over reaction after watching this BBC show, but regardless, the Dogs of Science in their own words make clear to me that these are some scary people. I see in them the sprouted seed of a new Spanish Inquisition, in photo negative. The same monsters, the same selfishness, the same disrespect for people with different beliefs, the same arrogant self-entitlement to take the whole world which is not their personal property and which belongs to everybody, and treat it according to their own whims and not giving a damn what anybody else has to say about it. Everybody else is irrelevant because anyone who disagrees has an inferior intellect and doesn't deserve an opinion. Perfectly reasonable attitude, if you're a monster.
As much as these folks claim to believe there is no God, it seems clear enough that they simply prefer to worship their own idea of God; science. Where is the difference?
These worshipers of Science own a very specific world view and they have a game plan to promote, one that many average human beings would likely see as insane and disturbing. But they have convinced themselves of their righteousness and the show is meant to convince you of their righteousness as well. Because, as if it were God's will and they are on a crusade, they are proceeding onward to achieve silicon personhood for one and all without concerns about anyone feeling disgusted or being strongly against the idea. Concerns are not legitimate so they will be dismissed out of hand. Only stupid people have concerns and the concerns of stupid people don't count. This attitude lavishes the Scientific Dogs with nothing but credibility and a neon sign that reads, "Go!"
Their world view and plan seems to center around the utter destruction of humanity and nature, permanently, and they believe this is not only a good thing but a wonderful natural progression for our species. Only stupid dumb people who believe in fairy tales and myths like God, or who believe that life has meaning or purpose, will get all upset over violating nature and disrespecting earth, man and animal, because they are too stupid to understand the awesome perfection of scientific anti-God perspectives which are the same as factual reality in these scientific minds. It is always and only stupid people who don't want the whole world destroyed by insane scientific, military or devil worshiping lunatics in the aim of attaining personal power, fame and wealth. Stupid people always get in the way of progress and it has to stop. Gaining total control via Science of a destroyed, dehumanized, for-profit, no rules, privately owned planet that only benefits half-human, spiritually disconnected, selfish irresponsible ass cracks, is the beautiful future of mankind. These precepts embody man's natural future and they represent the truth and all who disagree have the brains of an amoeba and should not be tolerated. They should simply be euthanized so that the rest of the intelligent people can get on with turning humanity into digital energy on silicon chips because that's just so GREAT. That's natural baby.
At the end of the program I decided that I can't wait for every last one of these people to turn themselves into digital human beings with no bodies who live on teeny pieces of silicon. Don't let me stop you boys. Knock yourselves out.
I guess it's true, insane people have no clue that they're insane. The question is, why do insane people always have monopolized access to the control panel? Why are they always in the driver's seat on this Earth Bus, with the rest of us stuck in the back screaming in fear for our lives? How do they just ignore us like we're stupid when in fact it is their own spoiled, overpaid social class who has done so much harm, like creating nuclear bombs for instance, or inventing psychiatry, and have made the most horrific "errors", over and over and over again, for centuries, and yet they unceasingly demand absolute respect and our undying belief that they are never wrong?
I say, let's stop encouraging raging lunatics by treating them like regular people who are incapable of perfection. But who listens to me? All I talk about is common sense, and in a crazy world common sense is what's crazy. Being crazy is what's normal.
I keep telling myself, I'm not from here. When the universal soul delivery beam projected my essence out into space it was aiming for a different world; a world of sane, decent people who don't run around slaughtering each other and who don't take to violence over every little freaking thing they disagree about. A world where nobody is dying for lack of food, shelter, clothing or medical care. An abundant world absolutely free of authoritarian control freaks where nobody is forced to believe anything or do anything or not do anything because everyone is responsible for themselves, and yet everyone is still happy to abide by the common sense rules that allow everyone to follow their soul and heart and create a happy, meaningful existence for themselves, and for others. But somehow when the Soul Laser Catapult 5000 shot my essence into space headed for Gamma Beta Fluffy Kitties world, I impacted a rogue asteroid and ricocheted backward, tumbling through space until I finally ended up landing down on this planet, Earth. The very moment I got here I started yowling, "You sent me to the wrong place! This is Earth! The planet of criminally insane, vicious, barbaric moron people! NO! You have to come and get me right now, I cannot stay here! This planet is quarantined out in the boonies safely away from everyone else for a reason! These people are terminally insane! They are dangerous, incorrigible, they have no capacity for a learning curve and cannot improve over time. They are hopeless! The planet is awesomely beautiful but these people are completely nuts! Get me outta here! NOW!
Then a calm female voice sincerely replied, I'm so sorry. You did end up in the wrong place. It's going to be awful for you there. What a shame. You'll just have to make the best of it. You're there now. Once you're there, you're there. We can't help you. Sorry about that.
No wonder so many babies come into this world screaming their lungs out.
NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not this planet! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[Taking a long, deep, exhale....]
I'm better now. I just needed to get that out of my system.
Being that it is now officially Christmas day, I've got some goodies for you.
The first stocking stuffer is a book. I read it a week ago and got a heaping helping of enlightenment out of it. It's about authoritarian control freaks and what makes them tick. If you too have watched the Bombastic Clown Circus, (the loony corrupt lying politicians lying, cheating and stealing the country to ruins), then you too may have marveled at the dishonest control freaks freely reeking hypocrisy as comfortably as snarking down expensive caviar at posh DC social gatherings. The same politicians who said they were God fearing straight laced marriage defending pro-war Christian followers of Jesus, who railed against sex and drugs and rock and roll, ended up being the same ones busted as scam artists and frauds, criminals, pedophiles, or got busted for buying dope off of same sex prostitutes and for hitting on some guy in the public toilet stall next to his. If the words spoken by our dearly elected or just about anyone at the White House, have left you confused, aggravated, furious, this book may help. You've heard the insensate double-talk of politicians, assorted Press Secretaries, Military big wigs, and America loving Zionists devoted to selflessly serving our nation to death. If you cannot make sense of these people, if you cannot comprehend how such childish, shitty, dishonest felons can be calling the shots for this nation, this book might help you understand what their stupid freaking problem is.
I read this short book in two evenings and it answered some big questions for me. It brought me to fully appreciate the resonance between authoritarian "thinking" and psychopathy. The name of the book is "The Authoritarians". The author is Bob Altemeyer, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba. It's not a story book, it is the product of this man's observations and analytical processing of the criminal antics of the political bullies in charge, who are, as we all know, complete morons that have ruined absolutely everything. But more than just revealing what makes these silly people so dangerous and so driven is addressing what makes all of the silly people who support them so incapable of seeing who and what these phony criminal losers really are.
The book is free and can be downloaded in pdf form here.
You can get a better idea of who wrote it and what's in it at the author's site.
The second thing in the big red sock tonight is an introduction to the person who recommended the aforementioned book to me. I found this really smart, interesting guy on the a-Infos Radio Project website through one of his audio commentaries. I emailed him and said, this is great stuff. More please. He emailed me back and said more was on the way. He then mentioned that he'd never read Political Ponerology, which I had read, but that he'd read The Authoritarians, and he sent me the link. At first I thought I knew about authoritarians already, and I did, but I didn't really. There is much more to it, and after reading the book I felt as if another big piece of the puzzle was solved.
If you like listening to serious minded people who are brilliant and fearless and who tell it like it is, and do it with class, with wit, with a bullwhip, you can find his latest commentary here, and his blog "On Genocide" here. If we could push the likes of Limbaugh off the air and replace him with Keiran Kelly for 3 hours a day, our country's IQ would skyrocket. Keiran lives in New Zealand with his family in a coastal place nearby something called Kaiteriteri that is apparently paradise. Some people have it made. Others live in Silicon Valley.
Reaching all the way down to the bottom of the big red sock for the last bit, here is something way cool and positive and uplifting. It's another BBC program. "Earth The Power Of The Planet - Earth". A guy with an accent thick enough to choke a horse takes you on a visually spectacular journey around the world, into space and to the moon, and shows you why life may indeed be something quite rare. Here's the link.
Life is a miracle.
And with that final thought I will wrap it up for today. I wish you everything good and bright and meaningful and happy for the holiday. Loiter under the mistletoe for me. I'll just be kissing the cat tonight. If I can catch him. He's a fast sucker.