Evolution of Religions; Survival of the Fittest
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
15-01-2014, 10:21 AM
Evolution of Religions; Survival of the Fittest
That's how I've always looked at religions, even when I was a kid. It's survival of the fittest, and religions are no different. They need to evolve and adapt to survive. Ill suited, non-responsive religions will die out. Like that one very old American Christian denomination (don’t recall the name, but was in the 1800s I believe?) that believed in complete sexual abstinence for the entire congregation. They died out in only one generation (for obvious reasons) because they did not adapt and evolve, and now are gone.

It's the same thing you see with the Catholic Church. They used to be the most horrific force of torture and terror on earth, but have adapted with the times (to some extent) to stay alive.

Other's adapt by becoming more aggressive, violent, oppressive, or attempt to out reproduce other religions, either by births or conversions. And some even adapt by producing new species of religions, or denominations to exploit new niches as they develop in society. Which then increases 'genetic' variation within the “religious gene pool”, so that even if some denominations fail, at least some of the parent denomination's memes will survive.

These are all evolutionary adaptive strategies that religions adopt. In fact they have to. It’s the only way it could work. For any that fail to adapt are not around for us to discuss, or simply evolved over time to something no longer recognizably what it once was. It is quite clear and evident that none of religion is eternal and unchanging truth. If it was forever unchanging, then there would not be any of them alive today, because those antecedent forms would have died out a long time ago, no longer being able to survive in the ever changing environment and climate of the social landscape.

...
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Raptor Jesus's post
15-01-2014, 10:35 AM
RE: Evolution of Religions; Survival of the Fittest
You are thinking of the Shakers, I believe.

Made some damn fine furniture while they were around.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
15-01-2014, 11:25 AM
RE: Evolution of Religions; Survival of the Fittest
(15-01-2014 10:35 AM)Thinkerbelle Wrote:  You are thinking of the Shakers, I believe.

Made some damn fine furniture while they were around.

I live in a town that had a Shaker community.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
15-01-2014, 11:38 AM
RE: Evolution of Religions; Survival of the Fittest
(15-01-2014 10:21 AM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  That's how I've always looked at religions, even when I was a kid. It's survival of the fittest, and religions are no different. They need to evolve and adapt to survive. Ill suited, non-responsive religions will die out. Like that one very old American Christian denomination (don’t recall the name, but was in the 1800s I believe?) that believed in complete sexual abstinence for the entire congregation. They died out in only one generation (for obvious reasons) because they did not adapt and evolve, and now are gone.

Shakers? No, they're actually still around, although there aren't a lot of them. A friend of mine lived in their community for a summer while doing research for a master's degree.

(15-01-2014 10:21 AM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  It's the same thing you see with the Catholic Church. They used to be the most horrific force of torture and terror on earth, but have adapted with the times (to some extent) to stay alive.

Other's adapt by becoming more aggressive, violent, oppressive, or attempt to out reproduce other religions, either by births or conversions. And some even adapt by producing new species of religions, or denominations to exploit new niches as they develop in society. Which then increases 'genetic' variation within the “religious gene pool”, so that even if some denominations fail, at least some of the parent denomination's memes will survive.

These are all evolutionary adaptive strategies that religions adopt. In fact they have to. It’s the only way it could work. For any that fail to adapt are not around for us to discuss, or simply evolved over time to something no longer recognizably what it once was. It is quite clear and evident that none of religion is eternal and unchanging truth. If it was forever unchanging, then there would not be any of them alive today, because those antecedent forms would have died out a long time ago, no longer being able to survive in the ever changing environment and climate of the social landscape.

You should check out Bellah, Religion in Human Evolution.

My Blog
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
15-01-2014, 12:06 PM
RE: Evolution of Religions; Survival of the Fittest
I'll have to look them up. I don't remember the name of the abstinence religious community.

I remember learning about them the first time when I was still in elementary school. And it occurred to me that for all I could know they could have had the one true religion, and every other religion was wrong. And they only reason we don’t practice it now is because there is no one left to teach us it. But what does it matter if it’s true if they die off and can't teach anyone new?

That's one point in my life I realized it really doesn't matter what truth is in religion, what matters is the religion surviving. Just because one or two are the most popular on the earth today, does not mean they are the most popular because they are so obviously true to everyone. It may simply be that they are designed in such a way as to be able to stick around. Popularity, large numbers of followers, and centuries or millennia of practice does not equate to truth, simply survivability.

I also considered that there could have been a true religion, that was true, but no one believes anymore, such as Roman Mythology, and every single other religion is getting it wrong. Perhaps we should all be worshiping Jupiter, and perhaps he is mad at us all because we don’t. But we all practicing the wrong religion because it didn't survive to be passed along to us today.

From that it helped cement the idea in my mind, if I were to look at religion seriously at all, I would first need to ask, why believe this one is the right one, and not some other, or even a dead religion? Or even one who now one has ever even heard of? It could be there is a true religion, for all we know, but it’s not designed in a way to reveal itself to us, so we may never know.

Of course, all that becomes overly ridiculous when you keep going farther down that rabbit hole. It’s clear that reality seems the best bet, over need to believe in anything based on non reality.

...
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
15-01-2014, 12:09 PM
RE: Evolution of Religions; Survival of the Fittest
(15-01-2014 10:21 AM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  That's how I've always looked at religions, even when I was a kid. It's survival of the fittest, and religions are no different. They need to evolve and adapt to survive. Ill suited, non-responsive religions will die out. Like that one very old American Christian denomination (don’t recall the name, but was in the 1800s I believe?) that believed in complete sexual abstinence for the entire congregation. They died out in only one generation (for obvious reasons) because they did not adapt and evolve, and now are gone.

As Thinkerbelle said, you probably mean the Shakers. Maklelan is right that they're still around. They basically gain new members exclusively through conversion.

I think you're right about religions evolving. If nothing else, many religions made very testable claims, and those claims turned out to be false. Once that happens, the religion either needs to 'splain that shit, fast, or it dies out. It's why all the main ones are non-falsifiable now. It's why fundamentalism is dying out.

Fundamentalism can only remain "true" through willful ignorance and believing some very weird things (like dinosaurs existing with people). This is why more "mainstream" Christianity believes in a very vague, and very distant god that never interacts with our lives in a way that couldn't be explained by something else.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
15-01-2014, 12:09 PM
RE: Evolution of Religions; Survival of the Fittest
(15-01-2014 11:38 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Shakers? No, they're actually still around, although there aren't a lot of them. A friend of mine lived in their community for a summer while doing research for a master's degree.

I don't remember off the top of my head who they were. It could have been the Shakers, but just a particular community of Shakers who believed this particular thing that differed from others, leaving Shakers who did not follow that group to survive until this day.

I might have been a complete spilt and an new movement. I really don't remmember for sure which way it was.

...
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
15-01-2014, 12:20 PM
RE: Evolution of Religions; Survival of the Fittest
(15-01-2014 12:09 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  ...many religions made very testable claims, and those claims turned out to be false. Once that happens, the religion either needs to 'splain that shit, fast, or it dies out. ...

Agreed.

But there are a few ways it seems to go. Either "splain that shit", drop that shit, or double down on that shit by adopting more stringent, repressive, controlling techniques to prevent parishioners from even hearing the things that need 'spain'n.

It's why Creationist are fighting to remove evolution from the class room, and calling it "lies straight from the pit of hell" to frighten children, and adults, away from ever even attempting to learn it. Or why others fly planes into buildings.

That tactic is one in which it is losing to reality, so in some cases religion response by attacking reality itself in order to avoid it. We've seen this done for millennia. Galileo is a good example. But that only buys them time, because eventually reality, slowly but surely, always wins out. Because it’s actually real.

...
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Raptor Jesus's post
15-01-2014, 12:34 PM
RE: Evolution of Religions; Survival of the Fittest
(15-01-2014 12:20 PM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  
(15-01-2014 12:09 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  ...many religions made very testable claims, and those claims turned out to be false. Once that happens, the religion either needs to 'splain that shit, fast, or it dies out. ...

Agreed.

But there are a few ways it seems to go. Either "splain that shit", drop that shit, or double down on that shit by adopting more stringent, repressive, controlling techniques to prevent parishioners from even hearing the things that need 'spain'n.

It's why Creationist are fighting to remove evolution from the class room, and calling it "lies straight from the pit of hell" to frighten children, and adults, away from ever even attempting to learn it. Or why others fly planes into buildings.

That tactic is one in which it is losing to reality, so in some cases religion response by attacking reality itself in order to avoid it. We've seen this done for millennia. Galileo is a good example. But that only buys them time, because eventually reality, slowly but surely, always wins out. Because it’s actually real.

Good point. I hadn't considered that avenue.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: